Sent: Monday, March 28, 2005 12:40 PM
Subject: Weekly Message from State Superintendent Randy Dunn 3-28-05
Good afternoon.


I am using today’s opener to share an announcement that I made at the March meeting of the State Teacher Certification Board: I am creating the State Superintendent’s Task Force to Streamline the Preparation Program Review Process.


For some time, I have been concerned about the requirements we have placed on higher education institutions surrounding ISBE recognition and accreditation of their programs that prepare professional educators. A major issue for me has been how ISBE coordinates its work with programs that are a) accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE), b) not accredited by NCATE or c) may wish to consider the other national accrediting body, the Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC). Many of you are aware that prior to coming to the State Board, I spent a decade in such a program at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, where I dealt with new program approvals, program review and accreditation, certification requirements and the like.


The Task Force will work through Spring 2005 to fulfill the charges I have set out for it:

1.       Review procedures for streamlining the ISBE program approval process;

2.       Review reporting redundancies for NCATE institutions & suggest an equivalent process for non-NCATE institutions;

3.       Review ISBE recognition of accrediting bodies other than NCATE (looking specifically at TEAC);

4.       Review team compositions, time lines and team member training with regard to the process for program visits and approvals; and

5.       Review the issue of cost equity between NCATE and non-NCATE institutions.


I have already extended invitations to potential Task Force members representing higher education, teacher associations and practicing educators. Dr. Elliot Lessen, Dean of the School of Education at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville—who is also a member of the Certification Board—has graciously agreed to chair this group.


If you have any ideas to contribute on this topic, please feel free to forward them to me and I will make sure they reach the Task Force members. The vitality and robustness of our preparation programs in Illinois have an obvious bearing on the quality of teachers who end up in our classrooms throughout the state. The goal of this Task Force will be to strengthen those programs by streamlining the process that our higher education partners go through to demonstrate the good work that many of them are doing.


Now on a closing note: I am still recovering from the Illinois win on Saturday night! I couldn’t be happier for that group of kids and Coach Weber, who’s been through so much these past two weeks. Talk about a weekend of nail-biting basketball. Needless to say, my own daughters were more-than-ready to get back to Champaign following the U of I spring break . . . I think they said something about a party . . .


Enjoy the spring weather this week, finally!



Randy Dunn


Also in today’s message:


Consulting teachers needed

If you have any teacher that would consider appointment to the ISBE Consulting Teacher list, please forward that name and contact information to Donna Luallen, Division Administrator, Division of Accountability, Illinois State Board of Education at


Section 5/24A-5(g) of The School Code provides that if a school board puts a teacher under remediation and that district does not have an identified Consulting Teacher available, then the Illinois State Board of Education will provide an individual who meets the criteria.


The criteria to be considered a Consulting Teacher are:

  1. an educational employee as defined under the Educational Labor Relations Act (115 ILCS 5/2);
  2. a teacher with at least five years teaching experience and a reasonable familiarity with the assignment of the teacher being evaluated; and
  3. a teacher with an Excellent rating on his/her most recent evaluation.


First day of testing enrollment

Pearson Educational Measurement has reported that more than 1200 Illinois schools had not entered and/or approved their First-Day Enrollments on the NCS SchoolHouse website for ISAT and IMAGE Grades 3 through 8. This is a critical component of AYP calculation and must be completed no later than Monday, March 28, 2005.


2005 ISAT and PSAE pilot test materials

If your district has schools participating in the 2005 ISAT pilot this spring, please note that there is one difference in this ISAT pilot test that has not appeared on previous pilot tests. The answer documents for grades 4 through 8 and 11 and the grade 3 scann-able test booklets are in color. The need for color is required by our contractor, Harcourt Assessment, Inc., to ensure that the documents are scanned correctly. We bring this to your attention to make you aware and to address any questions from grade 3 teachers or students.


Although the color of each answer document for grades 4 through 8 and 11 helps distinguish among those grades, the internal text and art in the grade 3 scann-able test booklets are also in color (green). Color throughout the grade 3 pilot test booklets will not impact the pilot test results. For the 2006 ISAT, the test booklets will all be in four-color print. This means that the text will be in two-tone black and white and the art will be more than one color.


Please contact the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) at 217-782-4823 if there are any additional questions related to the use of color throughout the grade 3 ISAT pilot test booklets.


Testing security breach

The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) has been investigating an ISAT security breach with statewide implications for the 2005 ISAT administration. The breach involved a grade 5 reading passage and the multiple-choice and extended-response questions about the passage that were exposed prior to testing. ISBE was notified about the breach on Tuesday, March 8, 2005, one day after the start of the ISAT testing window.


ISBE test contractors have been advised not to score the affected questions and, for grade 5 students statewide, to use only students’ performance on the remaining test questions to generate grade 5 ISAT reading scores. Our test contractors have assured us that the deletion of the items associated with this passage will not have an effect on reliability and validity of the grade 5 reading test results for schools. All grade 5 reading results will be reported as usual for students, school, districts and the state.


The security breach has been investigated and the cause of the breach has been determined. Steps have been taken to remedy the situation in the future.


Advanced Placement Incentive Program (APIP) request for proposal (RFP) and bidder’s conference/webcast

The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) has announced more than $250,000 in educational grant awards for 25 teams of Illinois educators who participate in Advanced Placement programs in their respective schools. The awards are part of the federal grant program (the Access to High Standards Act (Section 1705 of Title I, Part G of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 [ESEA]), as amended by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB). The Act provides funding to state education agencies to establish incentive programs to prepare students for and encourage, participation in the Advanced Placement Program.


ISBE intends to fund 25 programs consisting of school teams of educators and administrators from eligible middle grade and/or high schools that serve high concentrations of low-income students and demonstrate a pervasive need for access to advanced placement incentive programs.


On March 21, 2005, from 1 to 3 p.m., ISBE’s Curriculum and Instruction Division hosted a live bidder’s conference/webcast which featured the details of the Advanced Placement Incentive Program RFP. The archived webcast can be accessed through

A copy of the RFP can be found on the ISBE website

A list of eligible applicants can be found on pages 11-17 of the RFP. Questions can be emailed to


For additional information, please contact ISBE’s Curriculum and Instruction Division at 217-557-7323.


Questions and concerns submitted prior to, during and after the webcast are being addressed and will be posted on the Curriculum and Instruction website ( very soon. Emails related to Advanced Placement can be sent to the following address:


The APIP video segments are published to the ISBE stream server at the following URLs:


Dana Kinley presentation – for broadband users:


Dana Kinley presentation – for dial-up users:


Becky Phillips Q & A presentation – for broadband users:


Becky Phillips Q & A presentation – for dial-up users:


Announcement of E-Grants trainings

The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) has scheduled eight training dates and locations throughout the state for the E-Grant Management System (eGMS). There will be no fee for participating, however registration is required. Electronic registration and additional details regarding the training sites can be accessed through our eGMS web page at. Districts will submit the FY 2006 No Child Left Behind (NCLB) consolidated application for the following grants:


Districts will use ISBE’s Web Application Security System (IWAS) to access eGMS and submit the NCLB consolidated application via the Internet. The system significantly reduces grant preparation time for districts, improves data quality and communications, standardizes ISBE grant applications and improves efficiency of the grant review and approval process. Questions about the workshops can be directed via email to


2005 summer programs for teachers

Register soon via online, mail, fax or phone for the 2005 Summer Programs for Teachers offered by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign through the Office of Continuing Education, Division of Academic Outreach.


Each workshop includes materials, lunch, CPDUs and parking, as available. For more details information about each program, go to the website at


The Middle East and terrorism (June 8 at UIUC campus - $49)

This seminar will explore the roots of Middle Eastern terrorism, especially of its most recent manifestation that struck our country on 9 through 11. The topics are aligned with Illinois Learning Standards for Social Science in grades 6 through 12.


The Japanese American Experience during World War II (June 24 at UIUC campus - $49)

This seminar will provide a historical context for the internment of Japanese Americans, a discussion of the abuse suffered by Japanese Americans and the post-war results of Executive Order 9066. The topics are aligned with Illinois Learning Standards in Social Science and Language Arts for grade 6 through 12 teachers. The lessons use children’s literature as a tool for framing units of instruction.


Teaching mathematics with technology (June 10 at UIUC campus - $49)

This hands-on seminar will demonstrate the use of inexpensive technologies to improve mathematics instruction and student motivation in the mathematics classroom aligned with Illinois Learning Standards in Mathematics for middle school teachers.


Technology Across the Curriculum (July 28, July 29 at UIUC - Campus participants may register for one day for $49 or both days for $79)

This hands-on seminar will introduce uses of technology to teach all core subject areas aligned with National Educational Technology Standards for K – 8 teachers.


Employment opportunities

Management has released an External Vacancy List (05-07), which can be accessed through the following link:


Weekly news clips

This week’s news clips may be accessed at