Sent: Monday, May 23, 2005 4:31 PM
Subject: Weekly Message from State Superintendent Randy Dunn - May 23, 2005
Good afternoon:


This week’s opener is targeted to our Superintendent readership.


Although it's just begun to feel like summer, I don't think it's too early to share with you the theme for our annual Fall Superintendent Conference, scheduled for the September 1 and 2, 2005.  It promises to generate some great discussion.


The theme for this year's conference will be "Creating a Legacy through Leadership."  As superintendents practicing education leadership each day, we hope that the decisions we make while in office will lead to permanent and positive changes in the operation of our schools.  Our conference will focus on how we can work towards that goal.


To put this theme in a historical context, we can look to one of our State's most famous sons, Abraham Lincoln, who gives us a clear illustration of how one can create a legacy through strong leadership.  It's fitting, therefore, that as part of this year's conference, we have scheduled an event at the newly built Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum.


Although a theme was chosen, planning for the conference continues; if you have not already, I would encourage you to send me your ideas for small group sessions and workshops.  We want the conference to be as responsive as possible to the interests and needs of those in attendance.


Look for a "save the date" reminder for the conference in the coming weeks.

Have a great week.  I know this is the last week of school for many of our districts around the state so I know it will be a L-O-N-G one.  Hang in there!


Randy Dunn



Also included in today’s message:

·         Notice of School Technology Revolving Loan Program for FY06

·         School report card data form now online

·         Prairie State Achievement Exam dates set for 2006

·         One percent exception application reminder

·         Openings available for Standards Aligned Classroom Initiative teams

·         Criminal background checks

·         Reading Improvement Block Grant update

·         U.S. Department of Education “American Stars of Teaching”

·         Employment at ISBE

·         Weekly news clips



Notice of School Technology Revolving Loan Program for FY06

Please be advised that applications for the School Technology Revolving Loan Program (STRLP) for FY 06 will be mailed to school districts that serve grades K-8 on or before June 1, 2005.  Illinois State Board of Education will be accepting applications June 1 through December 1, 2005.  Funding approvals will be made contingent upon available and sufficient appropriation by the Illinois General Assembly.  More information regarding the STFLP can be accessed at the following sites:




School report card data form now online

The report card data collection form is now available through IWAS.  The deadline for data submission is June 15, 2005.  You are advised to print a copy of the data form before you exit the verification process.  Among the statistics generated during the verification process are attendance rates and graduation rates which will be used in the AYP computations for schools and districts.  The targets for making AYP in 2005 are: 89% for attendance rate; and 67% for graduation rate.  Please call 217/558-3600 if you require technical assistance and 217/782-3950 for other report card issues.


Prairie State Achievement Exam dates set for 2006

The 2006 Prairie State Achievement Examination (PSAE) testing dates are April 26 and 27, 2006.  Make up testing dates are May 10 and 11, 2006.   October re-take information will be announced later.

The wavier for modification of the 2006 testing window for Illinois Standards Achievement Test (ISAT) and Illinois Measure of Annual Growth in English (IMAGE) for grades 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8 is now posted on  Deadline is December 1st, 2005.


One percent exception application reminder

If more than one percent of students in grades 3, 5, 8 and 11 are identified as significantly cognitively disabled, districts must prepare a request for an exception to the one percent cap. If the conditions for the exception are approved, then all progressing and attaining scores earned by students taking the Illinois Alternate Assessment (IAA) will be counted as proficient in making determinations for school, district and state AYP.


Elementary districts should apply now. 


High school and unit districts must apply after the PSAE makeup test dates (May 11-12). The form is available at: are available at:

For additional information please contact Pearl Schneider at 217/782-5589 or via email at


All 2004-2005 applications are due on or before June 1, 2005.


Openings available for Standards Aligned Classroom Initiative teams

The Standards Aligned Classroom Initiative (SAC) has been one of the most successful statewide professional development programs in the state's history. It helps improve classroom level instruction, assessment and motivation to learn. More than three years of research conducted by outside evaluators confirms the positive impact the program has had in the classroom. The initiative has been funded by the State Board of Education and implemented through the Regional Offices of Education and Intermediate Service centers.


We are very happy to announce that this summer twenty (20) SAC teams that will include Special Education teachers and administrators will be trained and funded for next year. SAC Teams with Special Education teachers and administrators are being recruited now on a first-come, first-served basis. These SAC Learning Teams will attend a two-day training in early August and the members must agree to meet twice a month during the school year. Each SAC Learning Team must include one school-level administrator. Teams will be assigned an ROE/ISC coach who will provide support and resources for the team during the year.


Further information about the SAC initiative can be found at If you are interested in forming a Learning Team and participating in this summer's SAC training with Special Education teachers and administrators, please emailPenny Murphy, SAC Manager,


Criminal background checks

ISBE has become aware of a few situations where an applicant's physical condition prohibits them from providing a fingerprint from which a background check can be initiated.  Each situation will be unique and should be treated in a case-by-case-manner.  Applicants should not be denied employment solely on the basis of their physical inability to be fingerprinted.   Please contact Jessica Jacobson in the ISBE Legal Department in Chicago at 312-814-2236 for further guidance if this issue arises in your district.


Reading Improvement Block Grant update

We are pleased to announce that the Reading Improvement Block Grant application will be available on the eGMS beginning in June.  The application will be filled out online and submitted electronically. Districts will have 30 days from the time it is posted to submit the application.  Projected allocations of funds for FY06 are similar to FY05.  The amount proposed by the governor in his FY06 budget is the same as for FY05, however, the legislature has yet to approve the budget. The allocations are also based on the prior year’s best three months average daily attendance and economically disadvantaged numbers in the district.


The performance report form for FY05 will also be available soon.  This will be an interactive form available on the ISBE website which will need to be completed, printed, signed by the district superintendent and sent by mail to ISBE.


Any questions or concerns regarding the Reading Improvement Block Grant should be addressed to Laurie Lee at 217-557-7323 or


U.S. Department of Education “American Stars of Teaching”

Last fall 56 teachers were recognized as American Stars of Teaching in schools as diverse as Loma Vista Middle School in Riverside, California and Mesa Elementary in Shiprock, New Mexico.  American Stars are people such as Carol Stewart from the Louisiana School for the Deaf, Angie Miller (Junction City, Kansas) who raised math achievement of middle schoolers and chemistry teacher-extraordinaire Doug Worthley of Cape Elizabeth, Maine.


The U.S. Department of Education plans to again honor classroom teachers and the teaching profession by recognizing the 2005 American Stars in Teaching. The Department is seeking information about teachers who are improving student achievement, using innovative strategies and making a difference in the lives of their students. Teachers across all grade levels and disciplines will be honored next fall.  One teacher or team from each state will be recognized for the outstanding job he or she is doing in the classroom.


To assist us in this effort, please nominate a teacher who you believe is an American Star in Teaching.  Nomination forms are available at  The February 1, 2005 Achiever ( highlighted four of last year’s American Stars in Teaching. We appreciate your assistance in ensuring that educators throughout the country receive well-deserved recognition. 


Employment at ISBE

Management has released an External Vacancy List (05-12), which can be accessed through the following link:


Weekly news clips

You may view this week’s clips at