Sent: Monday, April 11, 2005 2:08 PM
Subject: Weekly Message from State Superintendent Randy Dunn 4-11-05
Good afternoon.


As we finish the 2005 student assessment period, we are all anticipating what the student and school achievement results will be for this year.  I know that the hard work of teaching and learning is ongoing in your schools, and that students continue to progress and move forward.  We also know that the target for making Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) moves up in 2005, from 40% to 47.5%.


Are there other, more progressive ways to hold schools and districts accountable than what is contained in the current Illinois Accountability Workbook for NCLB?  I believe so.  The Illinois State Board of Education has accepted an opportunity from the U.S. Department of Education (USDE) to seek changes in its Workbook.  The agency submitted a memorandum on March 31, 2005, highlighting changes under consideration in Illinois.  Over the next few weeks those considerations will be discussed with the State Board, numerous advisory groups, USDE staff, and others.


In an earlier bulletin I mentioned that we would be working hard on this task.  Over the past several months we have lived up to that promise, and I appreciate the work of an ad hoc group within Illinois that has helped us formulate many of our ideas to date.  I also want to personally thank Gail Lieberman—whom many of you knew personally when she was at the ISBE. Gail graciously agreed to return to the agency as a contract employee to lead our NCLB amendment efforts.


Once a final agreement is reached on these issues, staff will prepare the final wording for the Illinois Workbook to be adopted by the State Board.  Once that wording is approved, it will be posted on the agency’s NCLB web site (


In next week’s opener I will share some of the information relative to the specific amendments that we will be seeking to make.

As a final note, on Thursday, April 7, I testified before the Senate Appropriations III Committee on behalf of its FY 2006 elementary and secondary education budget proposal. At that time a budget was outlined that would assume a $140 million increase to education spending as originally proposed in Governor Blagojevich's 2005 Budget Address.  Should the agency be asked to outline a set of budget priorities given a $440 million total for FY 2006 education spending, we are prepared to do so.  I hope this helps correct any confusion that may have surrounded this issue at the end of last week.

Have a great week!


Also included in today’s message:


1.                  School Improvement Plans due May 1

2.                  Early Childhood Block Grant continuation applications electronic

3.                  Social Emotional Learning (SEL) Practices - Survey

4.                  IAASE receives international recognition

5.                  Illinois State Board of Education announces history teacher award

6.                  "National Imagine a Technology Blackout Day"

7.                  Weekly news clips



School Improvement Plans due May 1

Per Illinois law, a school in Academic Watch Status must submit a revised School Improvement Plan (SIP) for approval by both its local school board and the ISBE.  These SIPs must cover two school years (2005-06 and 2006-07).  The ISBE homepage has a list of schools, by district, excluding Chicago District 299, which must submit five copies of their SIPs to this office. 


SIPs that have been approved by their local boards may be submitted now.  SIPs must be submitted no later than May 1, 2005, so that reviewers will have time to review and approve SIPs and notify districts prior to the next school year.


All schools on Academic Watch are listed at


If you have any questions concerning the School Plans, please contact the Division of Federal Grants and Programs at 217/524-4832.


Please send the SIPs to the Illinois State Board of Education, attention Ms. Jeanie Ward, Division of Federal Grants and Programs, 100 North First, N-242, Springfield, IL 62777.


Early Childhood Block Grant continuation applications electronic

Continuation applications now available

The Illinois State Board of Education is offering the continuing applications for the Early Childhood Block Grant (ECBG) through the Electronic Grant Management System (eGMS) for school year 2005-2006 (FY06).  All Early Childhood Block Grant programs funded in FY05 will apply online for their FY06 continuation grant funds.


The applications are available online beginning April 11, 2005. The application due date has been extended to June 1, 2005 .


FY06 will be the second year for eGMS.  During the 2005-2006 school year districts applied for five NCLB grants online through the NCLB Consolidated Application in eGMS.  Benefits of eGMS over the paper process include:

1.       Improved communication between grant administrators and applicants

2.       Reduced paperwork

3.       Improved data quality

4.       Automated math operations

5.       Access to grant status information

6.       Electronic notification to recipients upon grant approval

7.       Improved turnaround time for approval of applications and amendments

8.       Online instructions


Like the electronic expenditure reports currently submitted by ECBG recipients, access to online applications in eGMS is through the State Board’s Web Application Security System (IWAS).  Applicants will need to make sure that their approval groups are properly assigned through IWAS in order to access the appropriate ECBG application(s) in eGMS.  Two ECBG continuation grant applications will be available – a birth to three application and a three to five application.  Applicants will complete both applications if they are authorized to offer programs for birth to three and three to five.  Grant funds will be preloaded in the eGMS system and will appear on the Budget Detail page of each application.


Social Emotional Learning (SEL) Practices - Survey 1

To better serve Illinois schools in implementing the Social/Emotional Learning (SEL) Standards, the ISBE will conduct two (2) surveys to determine the practices and particular needs of Illinois schools related to these standards.  The first survey will be available during the month of April and will focus on the existing practices and policies at the district and school level.  The second survey will be available in May and will be a professional development needs survey.  It is important that all school and district administrators, teachers and other school staff take time to answer this short survey so we can begin the planning phase.


The ISBE will collect data electronically through the ISBE Web Application Security (IWAS) System.  After logging into IWAS, users can access the survey through the System Listing.  You will find “SEL Practices - Survey 1” under  Surveys.”


Thank you in advance for participating in these surveys.  If you have any questions on the survey, please contact


IAASE receives international recognition

The Illinois Alliance of Administrators of Special Education was awarded the Exemplary Unit Award from the Council of Administrators of Special Education (CASE).  CASE is a division of the Council for Exceptional Children.  The award was announced at the CASE membership meeting on April 6, 2005, in Baltimore, Maryland.  The IAASE Board and membership are extremely proud and humbled by this significant recognition from international CASE.


Illinois State Board of Education announces history teacher award

The Illinois State Board of Education, in cooperation with the Gilder Lehrman Institute for American History, announces the second annual Illinois Preserve America History Teacher of the Year Award.


The History Teacher of the Year Award honors one exceptional K-12 teacher of American history from each state and U.S. territory.  American history teachers at every level, from elementary school through high school, are eligible for nomination.  The Illinois winner will become a finalist for the national competition and receive a $1,000 honorarium, certificate of recognition, and a core archive of history books and materials donated in his or her honor for use in his or her school library. The national honoree, and his or her nominating supervisor, will travel to the national recognition ceremony with expenses paid by the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History. 

Nominations for the state competition must be received by the Illinois State Board of Education by May 16, 2005.


For information please go to


"National Imagine a Technology Blackout Day"

The State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA) has announced that it will host the first annual "National Imagine a Technology Blackout Day" (NITBOD) on April 20, 2005. The purpose of this event is to highlight the vast power potential and necessity of effective technology use in America’s public schools.


Thousands of teachers, students, and parents will participate in the event to analyze and share the impact that technology has on closing the achievement gap, enhancing accountability, and increasing teacher quality – not to mention providing students with a 21st century learning environment.


From now until May 20, 2005, teachers will facilitate discussions about the effects that modern technology has on their students’ daily lives. Students will examine how technology permeates the way we work, learn, and play. They will even have an opportunity to assign homework to their parents that addresses the transformative nature of technology on the workforce.


By imaging one full day without technology, participants will begin to realize the vast potential that technology offers in the field of education and the absolute need for our nation’s students to leave high school with strong technology skills, regardless of their career choice!


Additional information as well as free lessons and activities for elementary, middle and high school students to address state standards in social studies, language arts and technology, are available at


Weekly news clips

News clips may be accessed at