ISBE Education Priorities Update

May 18, 2001

(217) 782-4648

Springfield – Here is a synopsis of some of the work done in the last month by Illinois State Board of Education staff to meet the State Board’s five education priorities of Standards/Assessment/Accountability; High Quality Educators; Reading and Mathematics; Early Learning (Birth to 8); and Schools in Academic Difficulty.

The complete Board Priority Report is available through the State Board’s Communications division at (217) 782-4648 or on the State Board’s website at


Standards, Assessment, and Accountability
  • Successfully completed Prairie State Achievement Exam (PSAE) testing for approximately 130,000 11th-grade students in 5 subjects; included ISBE and ACT monitoring.
  • Work completed on PSAE survey with agency team and ACT – on web and mail out to all school districts.
  • Conducted three Standards-Aligned Classroom fairs with 221 teams and 1,083 educators in attendance; peer evaluated plans completed for future posting to the ILSI web site.
  • Completed data analysis for ACT and ISAT for Boeing information.


System of Support for Schools
  • Continuing to work on the System of Support intervention map/website for internal tracking of support and progress in 88 eligible districts.
  • Have scheduled coordinated grant approval meetings with several other districts developing performance agreements (including Rockford, U-46).
  • Completed the selection of 15 additional Educators in Residence needed to meet the needs of the increased number of districts in Partnership status.
  • Working with IEA and New American Schools on a pilot for working with districts to reallocate resources to support school improvement.


  • Selected and notified 120 participants for the first Mathematics and Science Curriculum Showcase in Bloomington on June 14 and 15 from over 300 applications.
  • Conducted Illinois Mathematics Administrator Academy Pilot for 25 administrators to determine the outline and activities to be used and coordinated with the Illinois Principal’s Association to develop Administrator Academy.
  • Facilitated Task Force meeting to finalize common vision statement and goals for Illinois Mathematics, and began identifying current projects and action planning of coordinated activities – next meeting scheduled for June 28 and 29 to further identify planned activities, identify gaps, and further action plan for coordinated activities.
  • Increased ISBE mathematics and science visibility by presenting at the:
    1. Illinois Parent Teacher Association to over 50 parents;
    2. Mathematics Science and Technology Day at the Technology Center of DuPage County to over 100 teachers;
    3. Illinois Mathematics Association of Community Colleges (IMACC) to over 200 community college mathematics instructors; and
    4. Illinois Council of Teachers of Mathematics Board meeting
  • Working to produce 35,000 2001 Reading Kits and 35,000 updates to the 2000 Kits.  Three 2001 Kits are being produced: Early Reading Support, Bilingual/ESL and Grade 3.  The Illinois Snapshots of Early Literacy classroom-based K –1 assessment will be distributed as part of the Principal’s Kindergarten and grade 1 update and in the Early Reading Support Kit.
  • Completed videotaping of the 7 teachers who will be featured in the demonstration videotapes that will be included in the 2001 Reading Kits.
  • Met with Chicago District #299 warehouse staff and Illinois Reading Council Board members to design distribution plan to deliver 1.2 million books to kindergarten through 3rd-grade classrooms in Title One schools. The Disney Foundation has donated the books. A trucking firm has agreed to make up to 12 delivery drops around the state for free.
  • Increased the visibility of Illinois Reads through:
    1. Participation in NCREL regional meeting on reading to describe Illinois’ Reading Initiative to state representatives from Iowa, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan, Indiana and Ohio. Led the Reading Excellence Act directors’ portion of the meeting.
    2. An invited presentation to DuPage Co. literacy leaders.  Approximately 60 people attended.
Professional Preparation and Certification
  • Completed mailings of CD-ROMs on standards for teachers and administrators to all colleges and universities, the teacher unions, and the internal distribution to appropriate offices and personnel.
  • Co-sponsored with two regional offices of education, the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana, the IEA, and various school districts a two-day conference on induction and mentoring; more than 200 public school practitioners several institutions of higher education attended to share best practices and maintain a statewide dialogue on this issue.
  • Completed a mailing of 150,000 brochures to every school building in the state promoting participation in the National Board of Professional Teaching Standards process.  The brochures explain financial and support opportunities provided by the State Board.
  • Appointed an advisory committee that will meet on June 6 to discuss key issues associated with the statutory requirements for a Standard Certification examination by July 2003, and to develop recommendations for the Superintendent.
  • The Division of Research helped review and revise the Teacher Survey and LPDC Member Survey initiated by the State Teacher Certification Board. The survey has been reviewed by our Research Department, revised and is now being formatted in as a self-mailer.  67,000 teachers have exchanged for new certificates and a 25% sample will be made.  The purpose is to fulfill the legal requirement, and to provide the ad hoc committee with information about this process.
Early Learning Initiative Birth Through Eight
  • Presented information about ISBE Early Childhood programs for special needs children at 9 regional training meetings for the Head Start Memorandum of Agreement. The agreement, a Federal requirement for Head Start, establishes a collaborative commitment to the provision of early educational services for young children with disabilities.
  • Attended an Early Childhood State Specialists meeting in Dallas. The meeting, sponsored by the National Center for Early Development and Learning, brought together early childhood specialists from state education agencies to review the latest research in prekindergarten services and to learn effective strategies to translate research-based information to policy makers, state and local educators, and the public. Illinois was praised for its timely response to NCEDL requests for information for the multi-state preschool study.
  • Received grant applications for continuing Early Childhood Block Grant programs, along with more than 50 proposals for new programs. Programs were notified by mail of the receipt of their proposal. Initial budgets from continuing programs, reflecting 85% of the current budget, are being reviewed and approved for funding, pending notification of sufficient funds from the General Assembly. New program proposals and requests for additional funds from continuing programs are being read and evaluated, with final recommendations pending notification of the FY02 appropriation.
  • Reviewed and provided a letter of support for a Head Start proposal to fund a Kindergarten Readiness Survey in Illinois. As written, the project would survey local school districts about kindergarten readiness determination and provide valuable information to the Universal Preschool task force.