Sent: Monday, July 25, 2005 3:35 PM
Subject: Weekly Message from State Superintendent Randy Dunn - July 25, 2005

Follow Up Flag: Follow up
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Good afternoon.


As you read this, I happen to be in Washington State—outside of Seattle—for a meeting of the state education chiefs from across the country.  These are always excellent sessions (and indeed, Illinois is not the only state facing challenges), but one of the highlights of being here has been the brief respite from the Illinois heat wave of late.


Two events regarding superintendents have kind of juxtaposed themselves that are prompting today’s opener.  I hope my thoughts also have some meaning for many of you who are “weekly readers” of the bulletin, though not in the superintendency.


First off, July 1 marked the first day of work for 160 new superintendents across the state of Illinois.  Around 108 of these are first-time  "supes", while the remainder are folks changing districts.  For the brand new superintendents, I want to give you a personal welcome to a position that is at the same time one of the most fun and most exasperating jobs you will ever hold.  I look forward to talking with many of you at your August 31 workshop which precedes our ISBE Annual Superintendents’ Conference.


Secondly, I had the chance to speak with the Board of Directors of the Illinois Association of School Administrators this past week.  Of course, I know many of these individuals and they are indeed true leaders of education in this state.  In my remarks to the IASA Board, I shared some thoughts that struck me may be helpful for our new superintendents—and interesting to others as well.  I’ll try to briefly outline them below.


Tom Sergiovanni—a noted professor and scholar in educational leadership, who some may have known when he was at Illinois—talked about a 5-sided, or pentagonal, model of leadership.  While taking a bit of liberty with the dimensions of leadership that Prof. Sergiovanni posited, I used his framework to suggest some ideas to the superintendents gathered.


You have to be an educational leader – This is Job One.  Yet, we are still figuring out what instructional leadership means in the superintendency.  We have more certain ideas about what this represents in the principalship, but notions of being an educational leader are still emerging for the position of superintendent.  However, this is what must set us apart and distinguish us from other organizational leaders in other fields—some of whom think they should be running school districts as well.  If we can’t show the value-added of instructional leadership as superintendents, then it’s time to rethink our profession.


You have to be a political leader – We have always been accustomed to working within a political environment.  But instead of too often relying on someone else to advocate for your schools and kids—e.g., your professional association, local officials, etc.—you are in the best position to get out the story of your district and community.  Know your legislators and their staffers, talk to them frequently, and never be shy about respectfully pushing for what you think is in the best interests of those you serve.  I have been in a position to watch some of the best lobbyists in action this past year—they aren’t the shy, retiring type when it comes to their advocacy, and you shouldn’t be either.


You have to be a cultural leader – There is an awesome responsibility we share to inculcate new members to the profession of education.  There is a collective wisdom and craft knowledge that you accrue from doing what you’ve done over your career.  Please use it to its best ends by sharing with those who have just come to this calling.  As the veterans, and leaders, it is really your responsibility to step out in this manner, and not wait for the “newbies” to come to you.  I remember being a new superintendent; I was reticent to bother someone for help and I didn’t want to say what I didn’t know.  Thank goodness for some fantastic Macon County superintendent colleagues back then.  Bring along others—whether it be a new superintendent in a neighboring district or a teacher you’ve just hired fresh out of college—to the culture of being a professional in education.


You have to be a symbolic leader – The public so often makes its judgments about your schools, your district, and the education profession in general based upon your values and integrity as a leader.  That symbolic power you command as a superintendent is an important public trust that should never be squandered. 


You have to be a managerial leader – We sometimes downplay this aspect, but we shouldn’t.  Kent Peterson and Terry Deal, two other great teachers and writers in educational leadership, tell us that before you can lead, you must make sure you manage well.  This parallels what so many of us tell our new teachers: You can’t be creative and practice your best teaching craft if the classroom is out of control.  For superintendents, nobody cares how cosmic you may be as a leader if your district is in dysfunction.  Buildings have to be run, people have to be paid, buses need to be on time, and we like for you to keep us at ISBE happy when we ask for a form or something (which we’re trying to do less!).   So many times you have to address issues of micromanagement; one of the best responses to that, I think, is to manage well and be able to stand on the effectiveness of your management practice.  Of course, management is not sufficient—but it is a necessary component of leadership in my view.


OK, that’s it for the speech.  I hope it held at least a little value for those who aren’t superintendents!  Have a great week. 


Randy Dunn     



Also included in today’s message:


ISBE Student Information System

The following topics address issues concerning the ISBE Student Information System (ISBE SIS) development project. If you have questions please call the ISBE Help Desk at (217) 558-3600.

1.      Need for ISBE Student Information System (ISBE SIS)

The primary purpose of the ISBE Student Information System (ISBE SIS) is to assign unique identifiers (SID’s) to every public school student in the state of Illinois. The assignment of identifiers will enable us to capture demographic, enrollment, program indicator, and assessment data for all students, thereby allowing us to better report information required under NCLB, IDEA, the Illinois Report Card, and other federal and state mandates.

 The ISBE SIS is not designed to replace the student information management software currently used by school districts. ISBE will be collecting only that information necessary to meet its reporting needs. With the full implementation of the ISBE SIS, aggregate reporting requirements like as the Fall Housing Report and the End-of-Year Report will no longer be necessary.

Moreover, one of the major promises of the new system is that the entire assessment process will be streamlined and less subject to error. Student identifiers and other demographic information will be sent to ISBE’s assessment vendor for pre-coding on answer sheets. This identifying information along with test answers will be scanned, processed and returned to both the home district and ISBE. ISBE anticipates very little manual intervention on the part of school districts resulting in much less cleanup work having to be done by local staff. Furthermore, this improved process will most certainly increase both the quality and timeliness of the data.

2.      Participation in ISBE Student Information System Will Be Required for All School Districts

ISBE has filed a proposed amendment to agency rules with the Secretary of State to require that all districts participate in the ISBE SIS. This proposed amendment was posted on the ISBE Home Page on Friday, July 8, 2005. To review this proposed amendment, go to click on the Rules link in the left-hand menu, click on the Proposed Rules and Amendments link, and click on Text of Rulemaking on Proposed Amendments to Part 1 at the bottom of the page. Please note the deadline for public comment is Tuesday, September 6, 2005.

3.      Required Phase 1 Data Elements

The 23 required Phase 1 data elements, their definitions, and code sets are available at the Student Information System Home Page (  These elements are classified into three categories: demographic, enrollment, and program participation.

Demographic Data (6 elements)

·         Legal Last Name

·         Legal First Name

·         Legal Middle Name

·         Date of Birth

·         Gender

·         Race/Ethnicity

Enrollment Data (7 elements)

·         Home Region-Count-District-Type-School Code (Home School)

·         Serving Region-Count-District-Type-School Code (Serving Entity)

·         Enrollment Date at the Serving Entity

·         Type of Enrollment in the Serving Entity

·         Grade Level I at the Serving Entity

·         School Year at the Serving Entity

·         FTE at the Serving Entity

Program Participation (10 indicators)*

·         Supplemental Educational Services (SES) Indicator

·         Homeless Indicator

·         Limited English Proficient (LEP) Indicator

·         Individualized Education Program (IEP) Indicator

·         IEP Accommodation Indicator

·         504 Accommodation Indicator

·         Career/Technical Education Indicator

·         Migrant Indicator

·         Free/Reduced Lunch/Low Income Indicator

·         Century 21 Indicator

*Note: These indicator fields are now required to have either a ‘yes’ or no’ response when a student is submitted for a SID. This has changed from our pilot activity.

4.      Phase 1 File Formats

Files may be submitted as:

·         Comma-delimited text files

·         XML files

·         Comma-separated value (CSV) files converted from an EXCEL template.

The file formats can be found at the Student Information System Home Page (

5.      Contacting ISBE SIS Project Staff

Call the ISBE Help Desk at (217) 558-3600 or send an email to with the subject line “ISBE SIS Inquiry.”

6.      IWAS Sign Up Required to Access ISBE SIS

Coming in mid-August at the ISBE SIS Home Page:

IWAS SIS production system has been turned on.

“We are pleased to announce that the IWAS SIS production system has been turned on. If you do not yet have an IWAS account, you may apply for one by going to the Student Information System home page at and clicking on the IWAS link in the left-hand menu. Once you are at the IWAS site, click on the Sign Up Now link and follow the instructions.”

Your superintendent will be notified that you have applied and are awaiting her/his approval. Once approval has been granted and the ISBE Student Information System has been turned on, you will be able to upload and download files to and from the ISBE SIS. You also will be able to request student identifiers for new students using the Web-Based Student Locator Service.

7.      Sign Up for ISBE SIS Training.

From the ISBE SIS Home Page:

ISBE Student Information Systems Training

In preparation for the statewide rollout of unique student identifiers for the ISBE Student Information System, school districts that did not participate in the pilot project are advised to attend a half-day session designed to demonstrate the features of this system as well as provide hands-on practice for school or district staff. Each school district should send 2 participants, one whose role is to enter student information into the school district's student administrative package (SAP), and another whose role is to interact with the school district's SAP vendor or in-house technical staff to upload or download batch files.

35 training sessions at 14 locations geographically situated across Illinois have been scheduled during a 4 week period beginning Monday, July 18, 2005 and ending Thursday, August 11, 2005. An online registration form and logistical information for each session, including directions, is available through the links below. A continental breakfast or snack will be provided at each session.

8.      Important Dates

August 15 - Production ISBE SIS will be turned on. School district batch live data may be submitted for SID assignment. Web-based student locator system will be available for online assignment of SID’s. Updates to existing student data will be accepted.

Also, School district batch test data may be submitted to validate export process and test ISBE SIS validations.

9.      Vendor Interactions with School Districts

Some vendors are requiring additional cost for modification to their existing packages; others are not. Downloading existing data from local packages to an EXCEL spreadsheet template, adding columns to enter missing required ISBE SIS data, and converting the file to a comma-separated value (CSV) file for submission to ISBE could be an alternative to incurring additional expense.

10.  Region-County-District-Type-School (RCDTS) Codes for Home Schools and Serving Entities*

FAQ document (being created, dated 6/27/2005)

The RCDTS codes are found in the Directory of Educational Entities which has a link on the ISBE SIS website.

The RCDTS code is 15 digits in length:

Region               2 Characters

County           3 Characters

District/Entity 4 Characters

Type              2 Characters

School            4 Characters

The codes that are found in the Directory of Educational Entities are listed in RCDST order. The user must rearrange to map to ISBE SIS RCDTS:

*Note: RCDTS codes for special education private facilities will be available by August 1, 2005.

11.  Submitting and Updating Student Data (modified 6/20/2005)

Only Home Districts and Schools may request an SID and send and receive original or updated demographic, enrollment and program participation indicator for students. This information must come from student management packages or other data sources maintained by the Home District and/or School.


Message regarding changes to the teacher service record

Please do not contact ISBE to modify Teacher Service Record data on positions and assignments for certificate renewal purposes.  Due to state reporting requirements this data cannot be changed once submitted by the districts.  ROEs have the ability to enter appropriate exemptions and override TSR data in order to renew teaching and administrative certificates.  To process an appropriate exemption for a teacher, have the teacher request the exemption in CeRTS or complete form 77-08 Notification of Change in Teaching Circumstances (Exemptions).  To process an appropriate exemption for an administrator have the administrator request the exemption in CeRTS for Administrators.


Grade 2 assessment of reading and mathematics test dates

Title I-funded schools serving grade 2 as their highest grade must participate in this assessment. For these schools, the Grade 2 Assessment of Reading and Mathematics will coincide with ISAT testing in 2006: March 13-24, 2006.



A recent policy change has been made regarding the inclusion of the Illinois Measure of Annual Growth in English (IMAGE) with regard to the eligibility consideration for Reading First grants. The IMAGE measures the progress of students with limited English proficiency (LEP). Now, the results of both the 3rd grade ISAT and IMAGE performance scores will be considered when ISBE staff makes eligibility determinations concerning Reading First grant recipients. More information about the IMAGE assessment can be found on the Illinois State Board of Education’s website by accessing the address listed below:



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 2407  -  PA 94-0261

Places Agricultural Education section fairs under the supervision of the Department of Agriculture.


HB 383  -  PA 94-0285

Creates a Commission that sets forth guidelines available to school boards concerning slavery, etc.  Prepared materials will be made available by the State Superintendent of Education and will include the materials by the commission.


Student assessment data corrections reminder

The deadline for correcting all assessment data on SchoolHouse (

is Monday, August 22, 2005. Carefully review the discrepancy check reports posted on IWAS to verify that any discrepancies are corrected prior to approving your data. These discrepancy reports are updated daily. If you need assistance in correcting discrepant data, staff from ISBE’s Student Assessment Division (217-782-4823) and Pearson Educational Measurement (1-800-627-7990 x814) are available to help. Staff from ISBE’s Student Assessment Division will continue to initiate contacts to districts that have discrepant school data. We encourage you to verify these data as soon as possible, as the August 22, 2005, deadline cannot be extended.


Illinois alternate assessment coordinators

Letters will be going out this week to Illinois Alternate Assessment coordinators with a list of important dates and deadlines, information on fall workshops and updates on this year's 2005-06 IAA.  If your does not receive a letter, please contact Marilyn Leveque, ISBE, 217/782-4823 or


Random student drug testing federal grant application available

The Office of National Drug Policy and the U.S. Department of Education have announced tha availability of applications for federal grants for student drug testing programs in schools.  Please visit for grant applications.  The applications are due August 16.  For additional information about drug testing visit


Illinois Teacher of the Year available

Jackie Bolger, the 2005-06 Illinois Teacher of the Year, is scheduling speaking engagements.  Jackie is a French teacher at Hononegah High School who is a committed, enthusiastic teacher who is eager to share ideas with you, your teachers, and your students.  If you would like to have Jackie speak at one of your events, please contact Colleen Hawkinson at 815/624-2070. 


“At the Table”

The USDA Food and Nutrition Service recently announced the creation of “At the Table”

which replaces the external newsletter “Insight…Out.” “At the Table” is available only online and provides valuable information for Midwest partners and supporters of USDA Food and Nutrition Service programs.


All seven USDA Food and Nutrition Service Regional Offices newsletters will have the same overall design and the same quarterly publication schedule. In addition, the new format includes columns by Under Secretary Eric Bost and FNS Administrator Roberto Salazar to provide a national perspective on important nutrition assistance issues. Please note: we will no longer be publishing hard copies of the newsletter.


For additional information, please contact or call 312/353-1044.