Sent: Monday, May 02, 2005 4:45 PM
Subject: Weekly Message from State Superintendent Randy Dunn 5-2-05
Good afternoon,


It was important to me that in last week’s message I forward you the NCLB issues we are seeking to address in our state amendments to the Illini Plan, our official accountability workbook on file with the United States Department of Education. I’ve had some positive emails sent to me over the past week in response to our efforts here, and I look forward to working with USDE as we negotiate our various changes as proposed.


However, taking time during last week’s message to describe those changes has caused me to be somewhat less than timely on another important item.


As you know, last week was “Administrative Professionals Week” across the country. I’m sure many of you use that occasion to give a special thank you to those APs who keep you organized, working and generally out of harm’s way.


I want to use this opportunity—albeit a bit late—to applaud the work of these individuals here at ISBE who work in my office. Alison Harbour is located in Board Services and works in tandem with Jean Ladage, Board Services Coordinator, to make sure our nine State Board members have what they need for successful service, whether it be through accessing information, planning travel, handling correspondence or answering routine questions.


Marsha Moffett does primary intake on mail and phone service for the office—no small task, as you might well imagine. She somehow manages to do all of this with a smile on her face and a pleasant word, even at the end of the day (more so than can be said for me).


Carol Groves works as my personal AP and scheduler, and I know many of you have had the pleasure of interacting with Carol over the past months. Besides being a talented gatekeeper (an important role in this job), she is unflappable and keeps terribly long work hours to ensure that I get where I need to be at the right time with the right information.


As is the case in your offices with your own Administrative Professionals, we would not function without them. Not even remotely. Alison, Marsha, and Carol are symbolic of the excellence shown by AP staffers here throughout the agency and I thank all of them for their many efforts on our collective behalf.


I hope you did something nice for your APs this past week. Without them, Illinois Education would not exist!


Have a great week.


Randy Dunn


Also in this week’s message:

l         Illinois Alternate Assessment update

l         ISBE and Illinois PTA unveil mock-up of parent-friendly Illinois School Profile

l         Notice of completed rulemaking

l         Student Information System news

l         SCHOOLHOUSE data correction window to open May 2-13, 2005

l         Student count for testing and results

l         U.S. Department of Education seeks nominations for American Stars of Teaching

l         NEW SLC competition and upcoming bidders’ conferences

l         Weekly news clips 


Illinois Alternate Assessment update

New and revised Alternate Performance Indicators (APIs) will be available next week to teachers who administer the Illinois Alternate Assessment (IAA). The APIs accessible at\assessment\iaa.htm will assist teachers in planning Individualized Education Programs (IEP) for the upcoming school year.


The APIs are a list of skills that teachers can use to help students with significant cognitive disabilities access the Illinois Learning Standards and show progress overtime on specific tasks or activities.


In the 2005-2006 school year, students in grades, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8 will take the IAA in reading and mathematics; students in grades 4 and 7 will take the IAA in science; and students in grade 11 will take the IAA in reading, mathematics and science.


The Illinois Alternate Assessment is designed for students with severe cognitive disabilities for whom the state's regular assessments are not appropriate. For more information, email or call Marilyn Leveque at or 217/782-4823.


ISBE and Illinois PTA unveil mock-up of parent-friendly Illinois School Profile

The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) and the Illinois Parent Teacher Association (PTA) unveiled the draft design of a new parent-friendly “Illinois School Profile: A Brief Guide for Parents” at a meeting of the Illinois PTA on Saturday, April 30, during the Illinois PTA Convention in Lisle, Illinois


The State Board and the Illinois PTA used input from parents and educators through the state to design the new profile. The primary goal of this initiative is to offer parents a concise, understandable overview of the information and data from the NCLB mandated School Report Card. While each school and district in Illinois will continue to publish its School Report Card as required by NCLB, the Illinois School Profile will present key points of the School Report Card in a concise, understandable format for parents and community members.  The School Profile will also allow schools to provide customized information about their school and their parent and family involvement programs.


Key information included in the customized Illinois School Profile for each Illinois school will include:

l         Number of Students

l         Attendance Rate

l         Average Class Size

l         Composite Student Test Scores

l         Composite Teacher Information, including education level and average salary

l         School District Finances

l         Adequate Yearly Progress

l         School News

l         Parent and Family Involvement


Notice of completed rulemaking

Please be advised that a rulemaking item recently adopted by the State Board of Education is now in effect.  This updated set of rules has been posted on the agency’s web site at; choose “Rules Currently in Effect” and scroll to the relevant Part number.  (If you print only the affected Sections, remember to include the table of contents for the Part, which changes every time the Part is amended.)


Part 375 (Student Records)


P.A. 93-859, effective January 1, 2005, made several changes in Section 2-3.13a of the School Code that necessitated amendments to the rules governing Student Records:


·         requires the State Board of Education to establish by rule a system for tracking transfer students;

·         requires a school or district to count a student who has withdrawn from that school or district as a dropout for purposes of its annual dropout calculation if the school or district does not receive documentation that the student has enrolled in another school within 150 days after the student withdraws; and

·         allows a request for student records (academic transcripts or medical records) to be used as documentation of student enrollment.


Currently, Section 5 of both the Missing Children Records Act [325 ILCS 50/5] and Missing Children Registration Law [325 ILCS 55/5] requires that within 14 days of enrolling a transfer student, the school to which that student is transferring must request a certified copy of the student's records from his or her previous school.  This requirement has been in the rules at Section 375.75(e).  Thus a requirement already existed for all schools to request records of transfer students enrolling in their schools, thereby providing a mechanism for tracking transfer students to determine whether they have re-enrolled in another school or have dropped out.


In order to make this requirement more prominent, we have moved the language of Section 375.75(e) to a new subsection (b) and added language from the law pertaining to documentation of enrollment and determination of a student's dropout status.


These amendments do not establish additional mandates on schools and districts.  Instead, they rely on a mandate currently being imposed by the Missing Children Records Act and the Missing Children Registration Law.


Affected Section:        375.75

Effective Date:            March 29, 2005


Student Information System news

During last week’s Student Information System pilot school districts conference call three issues from the school districts were brought to the attention of ISBE. The issues and resolutions are listed below: 


Issue 1:              The serving entity does not exist on CDS file.

Resolution:          At this time, the home RCDTS code should also be the serving RCDTS.


Issue 2:              There are concerns about the display of confidential information on the ISBE Web Locator System.

Resolution:          District or school personnel assigned the responsibility of enrolling new students are considered to be “educational officials with a legitimate educational interest” as described in the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and, therefore, have the right to view this information in determining the identification of the new student.


Issue 3:              What is the definition of “legal last name?”

Resolution:          The definition of “legal last name” and the methods used to verify it (birth certificate and other legal documents) are local school districts prerogatives.  In the case of Latino children whose mother’s maiden name may appear on the birth certificate and whose father’s last name may appear on other legal documents, we suggest a solution that is encouraged in at least two other states:  Mother’s maiden name followed by a hyphen (-) followed by the father’s last name.


SCHOOLHOUSE data correction window to open May 2-13, 2005

Starting Monday, May 2, districts will be able to view and update/correct demographic information for tested students in grades 3-8 on SchoolHouse Districts will also be able to update/correct first-day-of-testing enrollment counts for grades three through eight.   This first correction window will be open May 2 through May 13.  During a final correction window (open June 20-August 22), scores of tested students in grades three through eight will also be available for review. For more information, go to or call Student Assessment at 217-782-4823.


Student count for testing and results

These are the procedures that ISBE Student Assessment will follow for testing and results for students in certain situations.   Student Assessment will have these posted and filed for future use by the division.


1)      Students who are jailed or locked down will not be tested.  These students will NOT be counted in schools and districts’ enrollments.

2)      Students who are residing or attending facilities out of state or out of country will not be tested – including Illinois students who are in foreign exchange programs.  These students will NOT be counted in schools and districts’ enrollments.

3)      Students who are wards of the state will have their test scores count to the district and school in which the facility they are residing or attending is located.

4)      Students’ test scores who reside or attend a facility outside of their district will count at their home school and district.


U.S. Department of Education seeks nominations for American Stars of Teaching

The U.S. Department of Education is seeking nominations for its second annual American Stars of Teaching project, which recognizes outstanding teachers who are using innovative strategies to raise student achievement, Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings announced today.

Teachers across all grade levels and disciplines will be honored this fall as 2005 American Stars in Teaching. One teacher, or team of teachers from a school, will be recognized in every state and the District of Columbia. Parents, students, colleagues, school administrators or others can nominate a teacher who they believe has the qualities to be an American Star of Teaching.

U.S. Department of Education officials will again visit the schools of American Star teachers to congratulate them on their success. The American Stars of Teaching project is part of the Teacher-to-Teacher Initiative, which offers teacher and principal roundtables, teacher workshops and conferences, regular e-mail updates, and a free online professional development tool. Nomination forms for American Stars of Teaching and information on the Teacher-to-Teacher Initiative are available at


New Smaller Learning Communities (SLC) competition and upcoming bidders’ conferences

The notice of final priority for the general Smaller Learning Communities (SLC) competition was published in Federal Register on Thursday, April 28, 2005.  The final notices and application package were posted on the SLC web site at:


To assist applicants in preparing an effective implementation grant application, the Office of Vocational and Adult Education (OVAE) and the Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory are conducting three bidders' conferences as follows:

·         May 2, 2005 - University of DC Auditorium (Van Ness Campus), 4200 Connecticut Avenue NW, Washington, DC  20008

·         May 4, 2005 - University of San Diego, UC Forum A-B, 5998 Alcala Park, San Diego, CA  92110-2492

·         May 9, 2005 - Northeastern Illinois University Alumni Hall, 5500 North St. Louis Avenue, Chicago, IL  60623


For more information about the bidders' conferences, visit:


Basic Training—a guide to school-based child nutrition programs

In August 2005, the Illinois State Board of Education Nutrition Programs Division will begin offering introductory workshops targeted to new sponsors/new staff of school-based Child Nutrition Programs.  The half-day workshop will provide participants an overview of the United States Department of Agriculture’s regulations that govern the school-based programs including processing household applications, verification, completing the annual application process and required reports, menu planning, food commodities, and much more.  Even though designed for new sponsors/new staff, the workshops will serve as an excellent overview of the program regulations for anyone with these responsibilities.


The first three Basic Training workshops are scheduled as follows:


Workshops will begin at noon and end by 5 p.m.  For specific workshop information and to pre-register (required), go to and click on Workshop Information to view workshop dates and to register.  Contact division staff by phone at 800/545-7892 or via e-mail at with questions.


Weekly news clips

The weekly news clips are accessible at: