Sent: Monday, July 18, 2005 10:59 AM
Subject: Weekly Message from State Superintendent Randy Dunn 7-18-05
Good morning.


Today’s weekly opener is going to be considerably longer than what I usually do (so bear with me), but its topic is important. As you know, there was a press release of June 29 on changes in the Illinois Accountability Workbook (see My column today will go into more detail about the changes as well as update you on related issues.


Most of you know that I take some measure of pride in getting something written each week. However, I must share pride of authorship—or rather, give credit for authorship—to many individuals at ISBE who both worked on this project and helped put this briefing together.


I hope you find this helpful in answering some of the questions we’ve been hearing regarding our NCLB amendments.


Status of Changes

The Illinois State Board of Education has received verbal approval from United States Department of Education staff for changes to the implementation of the federal No Child Left Behind Act in Illinois. (Official, written approval will be later, as is the case for virtually every state seeking amendments this year—we have been assured it is fine to move forward on a verbal basis so as to apply changes to Spring 2005 assessment.) These changes continue to hold schools and districts accountable, and assess all students, but in we believe is a more fair and even-handed way than the previous accountability plan.


As you all know, NCLB standards for schools escalate annually, this year requiring 47.5 percent of students—up from 40 percent in 2004 and earlier—in each school and each subgroup to meet or exceed performance standards on annual tests. Subgroups include racial and ethnic groups, as well as low income students, those with limited English proficiency and those with disabilities.


While the changes do make the system fairer, they do not necessarily make it any easier to understand. The basic components of NCLB remain the same. The basic factors of adequate yearly progress (AYP) remain in place—meeting student performance, participation and other indicator (i.e., graduation or attendance) targets. These additional factors, and the use of a Confidence Interval, will make the situation more precise but certainly not easier to explain to your particular community-at-large, wherever you may be in Illinois.


Unless otherwise noted (essentially, in Change #4), these changes are effective for the Spring 2005 test results. We’ve tried to group the information below by the category of change sought, to aid clarity:


Change #1

Change subgroup size for all eligible subgroups in a school and in a district.

·         from 40 to 45 for each subgroup; and

·         from a 3 percent standard error of measurement to a 95 percent Confidence Interval.

Example:  If a school building had a subgroup size of 42 students in 2004, that subgroup met the minimum size requirement and therefore the subgroup was included in AYP calculations in 2004.  This same number of students, 42, would not meet the minimum size requirement of 45 for 2005 and therefore would not be included in AYP calculations as a subgroup.

Example:  The 3 percent error of measurement applied only to the subgroup performance target, allowing all subgroups to make AYP at 37 percent (when the target was 40 percent as in 2004).  The 95 percent Confidence Interval is affected by the number of students in a subgroup over the base number of 45 (see chart below).


As outlined on the agency web site at, the following shows examples of how the 95 percent Confidence Interval as approved by USDE is applied to subgroup size. It is used instead of the prior 3 percent standard error of measurement, not in addition to it. Here are some of the figures from that chart:


Subgroup Size

95 percent Confidence Interval (Replaces the 3 percent Measurement Error)

Subgroup Minimum Performance Target (= 47.5 percent minus the 95 percent Confidence Interval)



















































































Change #2

Although the same AYP calculations occur as has been the case in past years, eligibility for district improvement status has changed.  A district is eligible for district improvement status when all of its underlying grade spans (i.e., grades 3 through 5, 6 through 8 and 9 through 12) have not met AYP in the same subject area for two consecutive years.  Again, the three criteria for achieving AYP are 95 percent participation rate, meeting the target on performance, and meeting the target on graduation rate (high school) or attendance rate (elementary and middle schools).  For unit districts, both attendance and graduation rate targets must be met.

Determining Eligibility for District Improvement Status

Eligibility for district improvement status is based on two methods -- one for districts with more than one school, and one for districts with a single school.

·         For districts with more than one school, beginning with the 2004-05 test data, district student data will be aggregated up to three grade spans -- elementary (grades 3-5), middle (grades 6-8), and high school (grades 9-12).  When a district does not make AYP in all of the grade spans that the district has, in the same content area, for two consecutive years, it will be identified for district improvement status.  If the district makes AYP in at least one of the grade spans, it will be ineligible for district improvement status or for advancement in improvement status.

·         For districts with only one school, determination for district improvement status will be based on the same criteria for school improvement status.

Example:  An elementary school district with more than one school has two grade spans in their K-5 and 6-8 buildings -- 3-5 and 6-8.  The elementary school district would have to have both grade spans (3-5 and 6-8) not make AYP in order for the district to be eligible for district improvement status or for advancement in improvement status.  If one or both of the grade spans (3-5, 6-8) made AYP, the district would still be ineligible for district improvement status or for advancement in improvement status.  Only if both grade spans did not make AYP (again, same content area and two consecutive years) would the district be eligible for improvement status or for advancement in improvement status.

Example:  A high school district with multiple schools would only have one grade span, 9-12, as there is only one tested grade.  If grade 11 does not make AYP in the same content area for two consecutive years, the district is eligible for district improvement status or for advancement in improvement status.

Example:  A unit district would have to have all three grade spans (3-5, 6-8 and 9-12) not make AYP before the district would be eligible for district improvement status or for advancement in improvement status.  If the district makes AYP in any of the three grade spans, the district would be shown as ineligible for district improvement status or for advancement in improvement status.

Note:  A single school district is treated as if it was a single school.  The grade span change does not apply here.


In the interest of fair disclosure, it should be said that we anticipate this change will likely help more unit districts than elementary or high school districts.


Change #3

Schools and districts that do not make AYP only because of the IEP subgroup will have 14 percent added to the percent meeting and exceeding standards.  This is the new “2%” flexibility that was announced by Secretary Spellings in May as part of a short-term solution to fair assessment of students with disabilities.  More information will be forthcoming about how we will have to address this on a longer- term basis.

Example:  If the reading percent meeting and exceeding standards for the subgroup of students with disabilities was 35%, the school/district did not make AYP.  If that was the only reason for not making AYP, then 14 percent could be added on to the 35 percent meeting and exceeding standards for a total of 49 percent which exceeds the 47.5 percent target in 2005.  Separate from performance, this subgroup would need to continue to meet or exceed the participation requirement and the attendance or graduation indicator depending on grade level.

Example:  If the math percent meeting and exceeding standards for the subgroup of students with disabilities was 30%, the school/district did not make AYP.  If that was the only reason for not making AYP, then 14 percent could be added on to the 30%.  However, the result of 44 percent does not meet the 47.5 percent target.

Note:  Safe harbor cannot be used in addition to the 14%.

Note:  The 95 percent Confidence Interval cannot be used in addition to the 14%.


It is anticipated that this new flexibility will help a small number of schools and districts in Illinois.  That is our estimate and the reported experience of other states.


There is one additional change which was approved, effective beginning with the 2006 tests.  Note that May 1, 2005 enrollment data will be critical to use in calculating the 2006-07 AYP status based on the 2006 assessments, as noted below:


Change #4

Move the beginning date for determination of a full academic year from September 30 to May 1.  Assessment results for all students enrolled in a school by this date will be included in AYP calculations.

Note:  Students not enrolled in the district as of May 1 will be assessed but not included in the AYP calculations of the district.

Note:  Students enrolled in the district by May 1 and matriculating from one school to another (e.g., K-2 building into a 3-5 building) over the summer will be seen as continuously enrolled in the district and part of the grades 3-5 building and included in AYP calculations.  Students, enrolled in the district by May 1, and who move from one school in the district to another in the same district for any other reason will be considered as not enrolled for a full academic year and thus not included in the AYP calculation for the school.

Note:  Should the district need to move a grade or grades to another building at the beginning of the school year (e.g., due to overcrowding), those students who were enrolled in the district by May 1 and moving to the new building because of district needs would be seen as students continuously enrolled in the district and part of the new building AYP calculations.


I do want all of you to know that we had asked for another change as well based upon what we had heard from the field, but were denied this fifth request.  The request was to determine eligibility for school and district improvement based not only on the same content area for two consecutive years but also to have it be the same subgroup.  USDE denied that request.


As a result of appeals heard in April 2005 to ISBE’s Appeals Advisory Committee, from districts regarding district status and lack of timely notice, I indicated to the State Board of Education in May that I would seek of USDE a one-year hiatus in district AYP status.  The Board, and I, believed their arguments had merit.  Approval, if granted, would apply to all districts, not just those that appealed in April and subsequent hearings.  I have had a couple of discussions with Ray Simon of USDE at this point.  However, I wouldn’t want to hold out false hope on this one; I’ll simply say that we are discussing the issue as many had requested, though this will be a tough nut to crack, I’m sensing.


Status Notification

Of course, I am very pleased to announce that the late notification experience appears to be behind us.  With staff working very diligently with ongoing items, and building the new Student Identification System for the future, we have been able to post final school AYP Status Reports on the IWAS system for individual elementary schools (and those schools that have grade 2 as the highest grade in the school) as long as those schools have submitted their E-Report Card data and approved their data on Schoolhouse.  The first data was posted on July 6, 2005, showing status for 100 elementary schools.  As of the end of this last week, that number is 1,401.


Not to hound you (well, yes it is…), but as I’ve said previously, we encourage schools to submit their E-Report Card data and approve their data on Schoolhouse so that we can calculate AYP and school improvement status as soon as possible.  The IWAS AYP Status Report serves as the school’s official notification.  No formal letter will be sent.  Letters are being sent, however, to those Title I-funded schools in school improvement status now needing to provide public school choice or public school choice/supplemental educational services, in order to share correct information and have the appropriate parent notification letters used.  Draft parent notification letters are to be sent to Donna Luallen, Accountability Division, for approval before being sent to parents.


District AYP status will be calculated only after all of the schools within a district have submitted their E-Report Card data and approved their data on Schoolhouse.   As for high school AYP status, the window of time on SchoolHouse will be opening as of July 19, 2005.  Please take careful notice of all details and complete the information review and return as soon as is possible.


And of course, Rules

At its June meeting, the State Board of Education authorized the solicitation of public comment on proposed rules for the statewide accountability system.  These proposed amendments to Part 1 of ISBE’s rules (Public Schools Evaluation, Recognition and Supervision) were published in the Illinois Register on July 8, 2005 and will be available for public comment through September 6, 2005.


If you have read those proposed rules, you might note a couple of discrepancies between the proposed rules for Part 1 and the changes outlined above or noted in earlier bulletins.  Indeed there are two main differences.


The decisions by USDE will be incorporated into the version of the rules that is eventually adopted. Nevertheless, please feel free to submit any comments you may have to on these or any other aspects of the proposed amendments.


I had the opportunity this past week, at the Education Commission of the States meeting, to talk to representatives from many states which are demonstrating the same desire for improvement and striving for the same efforts as those of us in Illinois.  Listening to her again last Thursday, I do believe that Secretary Spellings sincerely wants to make NCLB a more workable system for those states following the “bright lines” of the statute and showing gains in student learning.  I’m heartened by that.


Don’t let the doldrums of summer get you...and as always, have a great week.


Randy Dunn


Also in today’s message:

·              Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) posts AYP Determinations

·              Legislative Update

·              2004-05 mandated categorical statutory deadlines approaching

·              District transportation claims

·              Special education private facility and personnel claims

·              Department of Education grants available for student drug testing programs

·              School health index is now interactive and online

·              Notice of completed rulemaking

·              Weekly news clips


Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) posts AYP Determinations

For schools that have submitted their E-Report Card Data (86-43) and have approved their data on Schoolhouse, ISBE has calculated 2004-2005 AYP and School Improvement Status and posted the information on IWAS.


We can now calculate AYP for elementary schools, k-2 schools and high schools because all scores from state assessments are available on Schoolhouse as of Tuesday, July 19, 2005.


We encourage schools to clean up and approve their data on Schoolhouse as soon as possible so we can calculate AYP and School Improvement status.   District status will be calculated and provided at a later date.


Schoolhouse will close and all data clean up will end on August 22, 2005.


The AYP Status Report posted on IWAS serves as a school’s official notification. No formal letter will be sent.


There are several changes in the way in which AYP is being calculated this year:

Please direct all questions regarding Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) to ISBE’s Data Analysis and Progress Reporting Division (217) 782-3950.

Legislative Update

Below you will find the list of bills that have been signed by the Governor since the last update.  Please refer to for a more complete description of each piece of legislation. Additionally, if you would like to access the full text for any piece of legislation, go to On the left hand side of the page, you can search for legislation by bill number. For a House Bill, type in HB and the bill number (ex: HB 1) or for a Senate Bill, type in SB and the bill number (ex: SB 1). The bill status page for that particular legislation will come up. Click on "full text" to see the entire bill.


HB 23 - PA 94-0158

Redefines conditions and situations where sex offenders who are parents of a student can be present on school property.


HB 384 - PA 94-0208

Allows that a pre-service education teacher may student teach prior to passing the content area test, but also allows the institution to require passage of the test anytime during the program.


HB 908 - PA 94-0210

This law provides that, if a collective bargaining agreement that includes a fair share clause expires or continues in effect beyond its scheduled expiration date pending the negotiation of a successor agreement, then the employer shall continue to honor and abide by the fair share clause until a new agreement that includes a fair share clause is reached.


HB 1324 - PA 94-0213

Allows for the deactivation of and elementary in the same manner as the deactivation of a high school.


HB 2077 - PA 94-0164

This law prohibits a child sex offender from loitering within 500 feet of a school building or real property comprising any school (rather than loitering on a public way within 500 feet of a school building or real property comprising any school).


HB 3451 - PA 94-0219

Requires a check of the Sex Offender Registry in addition to a fingerprint based criminal history check.


HB 3646 - PA 94-0220

This law allows a school district to form a vocational school which is eligible for grants from ISBE.


HB 4030 - PA 94-0166

This law increases restrictions on sex offenders.


SB 383 - PA 94-0225

Requires the School Board to convene a task force working on school inspection and adopt new rules for inspection and reviews of school facilities.


SB 479 - PA 94-0227

Amends the School Employee Benefit Act and broadens the definition of “school district”.


SB 768 - PA 94-230

This law provides that in the 2007 report, the Interagency Coordinating Council shall include recommendations for expanding the recruitment of students and school personnel into programs that provide the coursework for Learning Behavioral Specialist II-Transition Specialist certification.


SB 1234 - PA 94-0168

This law amends the Sex Offender Registration Act by changing the definitions of “sex offenders” and “sexual predator” as well as procedures and registration periods. Also requires that juvenile sexual offender’s registration with schools be kept separate from other files.


SB 100 - PA 94-0170

Makes it unlawful for a child sex offender to knowingly be present on school property or in school vehicles where children under 18 are present and adds provisions under which a parent/guardian who is a sex offender may be on school grounds.


HB 676 - PA 94-0176

This law extends the time period that schools other than Chicago schools can transfer money from specified funds.


HB 728 PA 94-0177

Provides that the reimbursement of a school district for the amount of paid tuition of a child attending a non-public school or special education facility, public out-of-State school, or county special education facility is not authorized unless the State Superintendent of Education finds that the school district is in substantial compliance with a Section of the Code concerning special educational facilities for children with disabilities.


HB 1336 PA 94-0187

This law changes the specifics of character education.


HB 1540 PA 94-0189

This law excuses children in grades 9-12 from Physical Education if they need that time for special education classes or assistance.


HB 1541 PA 94-0190

This law requires the State Board of Education to set up a school health recognition program.


SB 3 PA 94-0196

This law directs the State Board of Education to implement the Giant Steps Autism Center for Excellence program.


SB 58 PA 94-0197

This law allows a teacher’s institute to include first aid training.


SB 88 PA 94-0198

Changes the date waiver reports should be filed with the State Board and says that if a school uses block scheduling then the mandatory every day physical education requirement is waived.


SB 162 PA 94-0199

The State Board must form a School Wellness Policy Task Force and establish a state goal that all schools have a wellness policy.


SB 211 PA 94-0200

Changes requirements for the physical education curriculum as well as allows students in grades 9-12 to use the time allotted for physical education to take advantage of special education resources as needed.


SB 427 PA 94-201

This law amends the reclassification of principals in school districts outside of Chicago.


SB 1638 PA 94-231

This law allows School Boards to add a student member to the board.


SB 1853 PA 94-0234

This law deals with schools in financial difficulty and Downstate School Finance Authority powers.


SB1931 PA 94-0235

This law alters the process for determining homelessness and residency.


2004-05 mandated categorical statutory deadlines approaching

Please be advised that the following mandated categorical claims and deadlines are approaching. All claims must be transmitted to the Illinois State Board of Education via IWAS by the statutory dates indicated below. All local education agencies will have an opportunity to correct any data transmitted after the initial claim transmission.  Late claims will not be accepted.


District transportation claims

Per Section 29-5 all Regular, Vocational and Special Education Transportation claims must be transmitted to the Illinois State Board of Education on or before July 25, 2005.


Special education private facility and personnel claims

Per Sections 14-12.01 and 14-13.01 all Special Education Private Facility and Personnel claims must be transmitted to the Illinois State Board of Education on or before August 15, 2005.


If you have any questions regarding claims, please call Funding and Disbursement Services at 217/782-5256. If you need assistance with your IWAS account, please call our Helpdesk at 217/558-3600.


Department of Education grants available for student drug testing programs

Approximately $10 million in federal grants to implement or expand student drug testing programs for grades 6 through 12 is available through the US Department of Education. The application period will be open from July 7 through August 16, 2005.


Grant information and the online grant application can be found at or by contacting Robyn Disselkoen or Sigrid Melus, 202-260-3954,


If unable to access the grant application online, please contact the Education Publication Center, PO Box 1398, Jessup, Maryland 20794-1398. Telephone: 1-877-433-7827. TDD: 1-877-576-7734. Fax: 301-470-1244. Email:



School health index is now interactive and online

The Division of Adolescent and School Health (DASH) at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention is pleased to announce the release of the new interactive online version of the School Health Index: A Self-Assessment and Planning Guide on the DASH Web site at The online version of the School Health Index enables schools to self-assess and address their policies and programs related to:



Designed for use at the elementary, middle, and high school levels, the School Health Index helps schools to identify the strengths and weaknesses of their programs and policies, prioritize actions for improvement, and develop a team approach to implementing school guidelines recommendations. It’s a user-friendly means to improve the health and well-being of your students and staff—often at little or no financial cost!


Notice of completed rulemaking

Please be advised that eight rulemaking items recently adopted by the State Board of Education are now in effect. These sets of rules have 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.)


Certification (Part 25)

Section 25.11(f) has been revised with respect to the definition of “four years of teaching experience” so that an individual who is approaching the end of the fourth year and who is expected to complete that year in his or her current position will be able to apply for the standard certificate.


The slight revision in each of Sections 25.22, 25.32, 25.42, and 25.82 is technical in nature. Section 25.725 was recently repealed and its currently needed content was subsumed in Section 25.720, so these references needed to be updated.


The addition of a new subsection (m) to Section 25.100 creates another exception to the general model for adding endorsements in the case of “technology specialist”.  There will now be only one option available for adding this endorsement (passage of the test in conjunction with completion of 24 semester hours of coursework).


Section 25.115 has been revised to clarify that the “programs” under discussion in these rules are only those that prepare individuals for certification.


Section 25.125(d) discusses the review team that is involved in the on-site accreditation review. The requirement for ISBE team members and an ISBE co-chair on visits involving NCATE accreditation has been deleted. At the same time, the role of the ISBE consultant was clarified, i.e., this individual does participate in the visit.


An unnecessary step has been eliminated from the procedure outlined in Section 25.160.  When the State Teacher Certification Board’s recommendation is for approval or accreditation that is not provisional or conditional, there is no need for the affected institution to submit a response and consequently no need for a 30-day waiting period before the recommendation is forwarded to the State Board of Education.


The requirement that each candidate for a school psychologist’s credential have completed a program accredited by the National Association of School Psychologists (Section 25.235(a)) has been eliminated.


The long-standing rule on lapsed certificates (Section 25.450) has been changed to allow semester hours earned either during the certification year of reinstatement or during the five immediately preceding years to be counted toward regaining a renewable certificate.


Affected Sections: 25.11, 25.22, 25.32, 25.42, 25.82, 25.100, 25.115, 25.125, 25.160, 25.235, and 25.450

Effective Date:  June 30, 2005


Part 51 (Dismissal of Tenured Teachers)

Part 52 (Dismissal of Tenured Teachers and Civil Service Employees Under Article 34)


The procedures for the dismissal of tenured teachers in school districts outside of the City of Chicago and within the City of Chicago were previously separated into Parts 51 and 52.  The amendments to Part 51 represent the consolidation of these two Parts.  Where required by the School Code, distinctions have been made within the rules to accommodate differences between the processes for the City of Chicago and for districts outside of the City of Chicago.


Under the new version of the rules, hearing officers for hearings involving the City of Chicago may be residents of the City of Chicago.  Part 52 previously required Chicago hearing officers to be non-residents, even though the statutory restriction on resident hearing officers only applies to hearings outside of the City of Chicago.


The amendments to Part 51 are accompanied by the repeal of Part 52 in its entirety.  The title of Part 51 has been expanded to “Dismissal of Tenured Teachers Under Article 24 and Dismissal of Tenured Teachers and Principals Under Article 34 of the School Code”.


Affected Sections: 51.10, 51.20, 51.30, 51.40, 51.50, 51.55, 51.60, 51.70, and 51.80 (and all Sections of Part 52 repealed)

Effective Date: June 30, 2005


Part 145 (Temporary Relocation Expenses)

As a result of the general review of these rules, it was determined that the process for repaying loan funds to the State Board could be simplified. Instead of requiring that districts submit to ISBE the proceeds of tax levies related to these expenses within 30 days after the proceeds are received, the rules will now require each affected district to make one payment annually, consisting of all proceeds received to that point. Amounts not received by the annual payment date can be held by the affected districts until the next annual payment is due.  There is no penalty for a district whose levy proceeds arrive too late to be included in the relevant annual payment.


Affected Section: 145.20

Effective Date: June 30, 2005


Part 155 (Electronic Transfer of Funds)

These changes result from the general review of this set of rules. In addition to general technical updating, the revisions include elimination of the option for certain participants to designate multiple bank accounts for the receipt of electronically transmitted funds.  We have not found that many entities have used this option, perhaps because it entails time-consuming maintenance not only on ISBE’s part but also on the part of payees.


Affected Sections: 155.20, 155.30, 155.40, 155.50, 155.60, and 155.70

Effective Date: June 30, 2005


Part 350 (Secular Textbook Loan)

These amendments respond to two separate issues. First, the rules no longer will specify the content of the request form to be used but instead will require school districts to establish procedures by which these requests can be made and provide written information about those procedures to parents. Second, a slightly earlier deadline for requests has been established to facilitate timely ordering and receipt of textbooks, as well as payment to vendors.


Affected Section: 350.15

Effective Date: June 30, 2005


Part 475 (Contested Cases and Other Formal Hearings)

Part 480 (Hearings Before the State Teacher Certification Board)

Part 475 has been generally updated and also revised to incorporate a number of provisions that are currently found Part 480 (Hearings Before the State Teacher Certification Board). These two Parts cover similar topics and therefore lend themselves to being combined.


Part 475 will now require evidentiary hearings that are under the jurisdiction of the Certification Board (STCB) to be conducted by a hearing officer in accordance with the Illinois Administrative Procedure Act (IAPA), unless the STCB specifically elects not to appoint a hearing officer. A hearing can be held in the presence of the entire Certification Board or independent of it. In any case, the STCB will make the final decision.


Others of the amendments change timeframes for notices and responses in order to give the parties more time to prepare their material. Finally, the language of the rules is generally being brought into conformance with the requirements of the IAPA and current rulemaking style. The proposed amendments to Part 475 are accompanied by the proposed repeal of Part 480.


Affected Sections: All

Effective Date: June 30, 2005


Weekly news clips

To review this week’s news clips, please visit: