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State of Illinois - Governor Blagojevich 

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December 18, 2002

State Board reviews Academic Watch List;
will vote Thursday

Illinois school accountability laws require schools to be included on an Academic Watch List after placement on the Academic Early Warning List if they have not made Adequate Yearly Progress for two consecutive years. The State Board of Education today reviewed the Academic Watch List, consisting of 52 schools in five districts.

Following today’s review, the Board will vote tomorrow on adopting the 2002 Academic Watch List.

“These schools are finding it very difficult to bring student achievement up to established targets,” said State Superintendent of Education Robert E. Schiller. “We are recommending their placement on the watch list so we can work with the school communities to provide structured support that will improve student achievement.”

“Further, the list is an important accountability tool required by state law so that taxpayers can be informed about how our Illinois schools are doing,” Schiller said.

By law, schools are placed on the Academic Early Warning List when less than 50% of their test scores meet or exceed state standards for two consecutive years. Schools are expected to make Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP), defined as the incremental amount it takes to have 50% of students meet state standards in five years. Schools that make AYP and still remain under 50 per cent stay on the list; those that exceed 50% earn removal from the list. Two consecutive years on the AEWL without making AYP leads to placement on the Watch List.

To be placed on the 2002 Academic Watch List, schools would have been on the 1998 Academic Early Warning List and failed to make AYP on the 2001 and 2002 state tests. No AEWL was issued in 1999 or 2000, while the state transitioned to tests of student achievement of the Illinois Learning Standards.

For each school on the Academic Watch List, the State Superintendent will appoint a School Improvement Panel to assist the school in the development and implementation of a revised School Improvement Plan for the 03-04 school year. The School Improvement Panel has the authority to approve and disapprove all actions of the board of education that pertain to implementation of the revised school improvement plan. The revised School Improvement Plan for the 03-04 school year is developed in consultation with school staff (and the local school councils in Chicago), and then approved by the school board. The locally approved plan is submitted to the State Superintendent for approval.

“This academic watch list is comparable in some ways to the financial watch list the state board compiles each year.  As more and more Illinois districts face financial crisis, more and more districts will find it difficult to maintain quality instructional programs,” said Board Chairman Ronald J. Gidwitz.

“These tools are important because they help us raise these issues before the citizens of Illinois, who have the final word in how the state’s financial resources are directed to public schools.”

A list of schools on the 2002 Academic Watch List in county order is available on the following website:

Illinois State Board of Education
100 North First Street
Springfield, IL 62777