Sent: Monday, May 09, 2005 5:50 PM
Subject: Weekly Message from State Superintendent Randy Dunn - May 9, 2005

Good afternoon.


I had the good fortune on Wednesday of last week of spending a portion of the day with Supt. Joe Majchrowicz (“Dr. Joe” as he is affectionately known by students and staff) at the Sunnybrook School District in Lansing.  The Heritage Middle and Nathan Hale Elementary Schools were preparing for their annual “Learning Celebration” taking place that evening, and it was an absolute pleasure for me to see a capsule view of all the great work that had been accomplished in those schools this year.


The visit also struck a chord with me for another reason: As I reviewed all that had gone on in the Sunnybrook Schools this year, it became clear (again) to me that we have to do more to help all our districts leverage and promote other indicators of school effectiveness beyond just our annual ISAT/PSAE assessments.  Sunnybrook is working hard to boost its student test performance in many ways and they are up against the usual challenges in doing so. 


However, in looking at all that has gone on in their buildings over the course of this school year, I have no doubt that learning is taking place in those schools.  The work material—especially in terms of some of the writing and arts produced—rivals that of some of the best schools I have visited in my career.  We have to better capitalize on the “value added” by schools like those in Sunnybrook—and I know there are many of these in the state—to help our various publics better understand that not all children’s growth, development, and learning can be captured by one paper-and-pencil test.  It is one indicator, but only one, and a fairly narrow one at that.


Also, I made a terrible mistake (for someone who should know better) at Sunnybrook: I asked a group of Kindergarteners if they were ready for summer, how many days of school were left, etc.  Bad idea.  I know that this time of year it is always a supreme challenge to get kids to focus on wringing the most work out of the remaining days of the waning school year.  The teacher involved in this classroom was none to happy with me at that point, for good reason.


Among concerts, banquets, awards and honors ceremonies, DARE graduation, baccalaureate (yes, it still exists in places), spring field trips, track meets, school musicals, prom, eighth-grade promotion and high school commencement exercises…whew…I know it is a busy time of year for anyone working in K-12 education.  Best wishes for what is left of the school year as it flies by.  It tires me out thinking back to those days.


Finally . . . and following in the spirit of the aforementioned comments . . . Happy Teacher Appreciation Week!  Thank you all for your labors in that one profession that gives rise to all other professions!


Have a great week,

Randy Dunn


Also in this week’s message:

Discrepancy check report update: ISAT - IMAGE - IAA Grades 3 - 8

Correction in date of State Board meeting

Illinois’ Part B IDEA application available for public comment

Seeking host families for foreign exchange students

Student fees

FY 2006 NCLB Consolidated Application now available

Notice of completed rulemaking

Tools for projecting FY 2006 General State Aid

Fraud Alert

Social Emotional Learning Professional Development Survey 2

External vacancies at ISBE

Weekly news clips


Discrepancy check report update: ISAT - IMAGE - IAA Grades 3 - 8

Thank you for your patience in the delayed posting of the Preliminary Participation Rate/Discrepancy Check Reports on the NCS SchoolHouse Web site. On Tuesday, May 10, we will be faxing Discrepancy Check Reports to district offices using the information we received from SchoolHouse as of Monday, May 9, 2005.

SchoolHouse correction window will be extended until Friday, May 20, 11:59 pm.

The most current Preliminary Participation Rate/Discrepancy Check Report will be posted on ISBE’s IWAS system on 5/13/05

In the meantime we encourage you to continue checking the tested student data posted for ISAT, IMAGE, and IAA for grades 3-8 under the RECORD CHANGES tab; Student Data sub tab.

1.   Check ALL student records for "P" (partial record) listings in the RECORD STATUS column under the RECORD CHANGES tab, and merge all student records that need to be merged.

2.   Check ALL student demographic data for thoroughness and completeness: Date of Birth, Gender, Race/Ethnicity, etc.

Remember, an Excel-based Student Roster is available under the RECORD CHANGES tab - Roster sub tab. Use the CURRENT roster for post-test data information. For those who attended one of the IPA NCS SchoolHouse training sessions April 18-29, these processes and procedures were clearly defined and demonstrated. Refer to the ILDATA User's Guide on the ILDATA SchoolHouse homepage for complete SchoolHouse functionality.

We also encourage those districts and schools that did not submit their First-Day-of-Testing Enrollment Counts during the February 28 - March 28, 2005, enrollment window to enter those First-Day-of-Testing enrollment counts into the NCS SchoolHouse Web site under the DEMOGRAPHICS tab; Data Collection sub tab.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Pearson's Customer Support Center at (800) 627-7990, State Code 814, Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 7:30 p.m.


Correction in date of State Board meeting

Thursday, August 11, 2005 there will be a one-day plenary business meeting via phone conference/video conference.  The date of this meeting was reported incorrectly in a previous Weekly Message.


Illinois’ Part B IDEA application available for public comment

The Illinois State Board of Education, Division of Special Education Services has completed the grant application under Part B of IDEA as amended in 2004, for FFY 2005 funds which will become available to States on July 1, 2005.  Upon receipt and approval of the required assurances, certifications, and information in the Application, Illinois will be eligible to receive FFY 2005 Part B funds. 


The General Education Provisions Act (GEPA) requires that States must publish their Part B Application for at least 60 days and accept public comment for at least 30 days.  In addition, if a State is adopting new or revised policies and procedures related to Part B or C, the State must also conduct public hearings at times and places throughout the State to afford interested parties an opportunity to participate pursuant to the public hearing and related requirements at 34 CFR §§300.280 through 300.284 (for Part B) and 34 CFR §§303.110 through 303.113 (for Part C).  The State must then review and consider all public comments and make any necessary modifications to the policies and procedures.


Illinois will not be adopting revised policies and procedures at this time.  It is anticipated that the Division of Special Education Services will conduct public hearings on the revised policies and procedures during the fall of 2005. 


For FFY 2005, to facilitate timely issuance of grant awards, OSEP will allow States to submit their applications prior to completion of the 60 day publication of the plan but the State must take the following steps:


1.   When the 30 days of public comment is completed, the State must inform OSEP in writing of any changes to the application resulting from public comment; and

2.   Inform OSEP when the 60 days of public availability is completed.  If the State has not yet begun the 60 days of public availability, the completion of the 60-day period may occur after July 1, but OSEP will flow grant awards on July 1 if step 1 above is met and the application is substantially approvable.


Public comment may be submitted either via e-mail or via standard mail (addressed to Dr. Christopher Koch, Assistant Superintendent for Special Education ISBE, 100 North First Street – N-243, Springfield, Illinois 62777-0001).  


Seeking host families for foreign exchange students

ASSE is seeking host families for high school exchange students from France, Germany, Scandinavia, Spain England, Japan, Brazil and Italy. For more information, visit, or contact Frieda Dotson at (309) 745-8364 or by email at


Student fees

The Accountability Division has received several calls from parents regarding a variety of issues related to the non payment of student fees.    A school district may not withhold grades or transcripts for non payment of fees.   Payment of student fees may not be a condition for enrollment for the next school year.    A student may not be denied the opportunity to take part in graduation activities because of non payment of fees.    


If student fees are not paid and the student is not eligible for a fee waiver due to low income status, the school district has options for the collection of fees.   These include use of a collection agency or suing in small claims court.


If you have questions on this matter please contact Tom Rosene, Principal Consultant, Accountability at 217-782-2948.


FY 2006 NCLB Consolidated Application now available

The FY 2006 NCLB Consolidated Application is now available in the electronic Grants Management System (eGMS) and includes the following grants:

l         Title I, Part A, Improving the Academic Achievement of the Disadvantaged

l         Title II, Part A, Teacher Quality

l         Title II, Part D, Enhancing Education Through Technology (formula grant) [available in the fall*]

l         Title IV, Part A, Safe and Drug Free Schools and Communities

l         Title V, Part A, Innovative Programs

FY 2006 projected district allocations were mailed to each district on Monday, May 2 and will be reflected in the NCLB Consolidated Application in eGMS. In addition, the allocations can be viewed on the ISBE Home Page under Hot Topics and Resources at

*Title II-D allocations are based on the final Title I allocations, which are determined in the fall.

Please make sure that your approval groups are properly assigned through IWAS in order to access eGMS and submit your application. If you should have technical questions regarding eGMS, please contact the ISBE Call Center staff at 217/558-3600 or via email at Staff is available Monday - Friday from 7:00 AM to 5:00 PM each day. Last year ISBE developed an eGMS Training CD for the NCLB Consolidated Application which includes a User Guide. You may access the eGMS User Guide and Training presentations from the CD on our eGMS web site at or if you would like additional copies please contact the ISBE Call Center at the number or email address indicated above.


Notice of completed rulemaking

Please be advised that a rulemaking item recently adopted by the State Board of Education is now in effect.  This new 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. 


Part 1300 (Americans With Disabilities Act Grievance Procedure)


The federal regulations implementing Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act require that each public entity employing 50 or more persons designate at least one employee who will be responsible for assisting the entity in complying with its obligations related to nondiscrimination on the basis of disability.  Further, each such entity is required to adopt and publish grievance procedures for the resolution of complaints alleging actions that would be prohibited by the federal regulations.  These new rules were prepared based on a model used by other Illinois agencies for this purpose.


Affected Sections:      1300.10, 1300.20, 1300.30, 1300.40, 1300.50, 1300.60, and 1300.70


Effective Date:           April 25, 2005


Tools for projecting FY 2006 General State Aid

The new 2004 Department of Human Services poverty counts are now available, along with the three-year average that will be used in the calculation of FY 2006 General State Aid.  The printout can be found at:


Also, a worksheet that will allow district personnel to obtain various FY 2006 General State Aid projections is available at:


If you have any questions, please contact Toni Waggoner ( at 217-785-8779 or Jim Mathes ( at 217-782-5256.


Fraud Alert

A firm called Brainstorm USA has been going door to door, registering parents for tutoring services, and claiming to be an approved SES provider in Illinois.  Brainstorm USA is not an approved SES provider in Illinois. They tell parents that it was “confidential how they got their contact information,” that they “represent the schools,” but that the parent shouldn’t contact the school because they would no longer get the service. They then take the parents' credit card number, signature, and a Social Security number.  Again, this is not an approved provider in Illinois.


Social Emotional Learning Professional Development Survey 2

The second of the two SEL surveys is now available on line.  Participation in these surveys is completely voluntary.  Survey 2 targets educators for staff development needs regarding the Social Emotional Learning Standards.  Survey 1 and Survey 2 will be available both on IWAS and OTIS systems until June 5, 2005. 


To access the surveys you must have an IWAS or an OTIS account.  The links to these systems are on the left side menu of the ISBE homepage.  We ask that you share this information with your district teachers and staff so that those who are interested can fill out the surveys through their OTIS account.  IWAS or OTIS can be accessed on school computers or a home computer.  Both accounts are secure. 


There is not a print option on the “SEL Practices (Survey 2).” Therefore, if a hardcopy is needed, you must use the browser print option. Please note that it is necessary to print the survey before submitting it if you want a hard copy.  Once submitted, the data form cannot be accessed.


If you need technical assistance regarding IWAS or OTIS or setting up an account for either system, please contact the help desk at 217/558-3600.  If you have any questions about the content of the survey, please contact Glenn Steinhausen at or call 217/557-7323. 


Thank you in advance for participating in these surveys.


External vacancies at ISBE

For a listing of current openings at ISBE, visit


Weekly news clips

To view last week’s education news clips, please visit