August – October 2002


  • Coordinated and administered the Early Retirement Incentive Program which allows state employees to buy 5 years of age and 5 years of service credit. Designed an Excel program calculator to obtain quick tabulations of employees’ net pay after ERI. Approximately two hundred employees are being counseled on a regular basis and one hundred employees received written confirmation of their retirement date requests.

  • Drafted and released a major vacancy list posting 28 managerial positions. Responded to approximately 170 inquiries received through email or by telephone. As of this date, 350 applications have been received in the Personnel Division.

  • Risk Assessment training and analysis completed by employees, managerial staff and Core Team.

  • Several steps of the Planning and Performance Cycle have been accomplished:

    • Managers and Internal Audit staff participated in Risk Assessment training, business planning training and goal deployment/measurement training.

    • Position profile (job description) training begins Wednesday, November 6.

  • Technology training provided to employees on a regular basis as needed or requested. Training and number of participants are listed below.

    • Cost Tracking Allocation System - 400

    • Staff Development on NCLB for ROE and agency staff - 172

    • Word I - 110

    • Word II - 76

A learning guide has been developed for planning and performance cycle, business planning, performance reporting, staff analysis, data collection and continuous improvement.

  • ISBE Affirmative Action Plan was completed and filed. The Department of Human Rights notified ISBE that its Plan is in compliance with DHR Rules and Regulations. A member of DHR visits quarterly to review our progress.

  • Bargained AFSCME successor agreement after which a COLA was provided to union members on September 13, 2002, retroactive to July 1, 2002.


  • Labor Relations: Successfully assisted the Attorney General in defending a labor related interlocutory appeal in the Illinois Appellate Court.

  • Financial Oversight: Provided legal advice and continued consul to two financial oversight panels, East St. Louis and Round Lake. More school districts are likely to require advice in the immediate future.

  • Legislation: Drafted legislation and assisted stakeholders in preparing several legislative proposals affecting the operation of agency and schools.

  • Charter Schools: Provided legal advice and assistance on several charter school matters on a regular basis. For example:

    • Drafted Governor State University appeal panel recommendation

    • Reviewed correspondence between CPS charter schools and ISBE

    • Reviewed issue of how the state chartered Thomas Jefferson Charter School may add students from other school districts

  • Interagency Agreements: Provided written and verbal legal advice to special education stakeholders regarding interagency agreements, i.e., DCFS and ISBE; Office of Rehabilitation Services and ISBE.

  • Private Business and Vocational Schools: Provided legal advice and assistance to the Private Business and Vocational stakeholders and the Office of the Attorney General regarding student loans by private lenders Sallie Mae and Key Bank.

  • Legal Research/Opinion Drafting: Researched, drafted and issued numerous written legal opinions and provided verbal advice to ISBE stakeholders on issues affecting the daily operation of schools and operations of the Agency.


Regional Offices of Education

  • Developed a collaborative relationship with the ROEs. This is one of the implementation projects outlined in response to the Deloitte & Touche report. We have established a process for joint legislative and budget development for FY04 and beyond; launched or continued joint efforts in three educator training areas (Standards Aligned Classrooms, induction/mentoring, and community schools development); and standardized communications methods between the State Superintendent and ROE leadership.

Governmental Relations

  • Established regular two-way communications channels with members of the General Assembly and the Illinois Congressional Delegation. The Superintendent has completed three months of a 6-month schedule of visits with legislators in their home districts. The Superintendent’s weekly message is sent to both GA education committees and both appropriations committees; ISBE notifies legislators and Congresspersons in advance about grant awards to their districts.

Data Analysis and Progress Reporting

  • Published the 2002 School Report Cards and released the RFP for outsourcing this function in the coming years.

  • Released the 2002 state testing, ACT, SAT and Advanced Placement (AP) data reports.

  • Disseminated the Teacher Salary Study to IEA, IFT, districts, special education coops, and vocational centers. Also completed the district superintendent salary study for the 2001-02 school year (data to be released in mid-November.)

Planning and Performance Office of the Director

  • Completed and submitted an expanded version of the Comptroller’s annual Service, Effort and Accomplishments report for the agency for FY02.

  • Completed and submitted the agency transition report to the Governor’s Office.


  • ISAT, IMAGE, PSAE reports completed and distributed by August 1 – included individual, school, district, and participation summaries and Guide to Interpreting Scores and other parent material. Results of the Illinois Alternate Assessment were shared with all districts by mid-September (as opposed to December in 2001). Results for all four state assessments -- ISAT, PSAE, IMAGE and IAA -- were included in the 2002 report card disseminated in October 2002.

  • Registered more than 26,000 certificates for Chicago teachers from June through September in addition to processing regular applications for certificates and endorsements.

  • Negotiations continued with the U.S. Department of Education with regard to Illinois’ NCLB application and Illinois’ application was approved. This approved application will bring over $700 million into Illinois. Closure on the provision of choice/SES within 26 elementary/middle/high schools in Illinois was reached in September. Requests for Proposals for 21st Century Schools and Supplemental Educational Service providers were written and released.

  • Completed U.S. Department of Education Part B application for IDEA funds and follow-up documentation (including required rule changes). The approved application will bring approximately $300 million into Illinois on behalf of students with disabilities.

  • Received USDE Reading First grant for Illinois; held first subgrant competition and funded six districts at $3 million; provided the first two or three of the six-day series of Reading First Workshops in Belleville, Naperville, and Chicago; worked with Regional Offices of Education and Intermediate Service Centers to establish regional support for Reading First Districts.

  • Approved a total of 824 grants were approved in August; 2,346 grants in September with payment made to 1,728 grantees and 1,325 grants in October with payment made to 2,354 grantees.

  • Redirected pre-kindergarten funds to remove 1000+ children from waiting lists.

  • Utilized technology to enhance certification services.

    Staff members

    • Successfully completed the electronic entitlement notification system with Western Illinois University and will begin training staff from 13 additional higher education institutions. These institutions account for more than 52% of all teacher candidates.

    • Initiated the merger of the Teacher Service Record into the Teacher Certification Information System with the goal of making the Teacher Service Record an automatic feedback system for districts’ assignment of personnel.

    • The technology consultant completed modifications to the CeRTS System within 72 hours of receiving the new Administrative Rules (as a result of the Corey H. Settlement).

    • CERTS was used to broadcast the information about the new certificate renewal requirements to over 57,000 educators.

    • Completed the development of, and opened the internet registration site for individuals electing to register for testing on line.

    • Developed an electronic version of the Annual Report required of institutions to update staff on the progress being made in transitioning to the new unit standards and the redesign of their programs in accordance with the new content standards. This replaces the paper requirements used in the past.

    • Developed an online version of the Institutional Data Report that must be filed each year by teacher preparation institutions. This form can be completed and submitted online, aggregates the data from all institutions and disaggregates by individual institution, and offers a teacher education database (e.g., program completers, programs, faculty, resources, etc.) unavailable in the past.

    • Developed, produced, and distributed a compact disk (CD) that includes the content standards and knowledge and performance indicators for 55 teaching, administrative, and school service personnel fields; the administrative rules for each set of standards; a matrix for each content area that requires the determination of the coursework, clinical experiences, and performance assessments for the program.

    • Completed fall accreditation visits to 7 colleges and universities in two months as well as the review of 50 programs.


  • Consolidated financial activities by centralizing several purchasing activities (travel, commodities, conference and workshops, and copying and printing) and established two new Divisions and one new Department to consolidate financial activities: Budget and Financial Management for internal allocation and budgeting; School Business and Support Services to monitor and assist school districts with financial issues; and External Assurance to audit and monitor program compliance consistently based on risk.

  • Loaded 14,000 program budgets and issued 14,100 vouchers to school districts and other entities equal to $984.5 M in state grants and $134.5 M in federal grants.

  • Financial Oversight Panel was established for Hazel Crest School District 152.5 and staff continues to work with this and surrounding districts to find a way to continue education for the children of the district.

  • Finalized the school district Financial Profile System for presentation at the October Board meeting and approval in November. The school district financial designation system which results from this will be implemented this spring with FY02 final data.

  • Transitioned off the second accounting system (FMIS) and consolidated all accounting in one system (MIDAS).

  • Using DHS data (TANF and Food Stamp), directly certified approximately 305,000 students for the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs.


  • Superintendent Rollout
    In the 12 ½ weeks of the reporting period, the Center’s media relations and external communications functions and personnel were significantly involved in activities that informed the public about the hiring of a new state superintendent and, following from that event, in planning, coordinating and executing a strategic schedule of appearances to introduce the new superintendent around the state.

  • Building on the consultant’s draft schedule for the superintendent “roll-out,” but broadening that plan beyond media relations to include also numerous introductory meetings with education partners, legislators and agency employees, as well as “office time” for administering the agency, the Center’s staff helped create a schedule that included:

    15 media markets visited: Chicago, Springfield, Mt. Vernon, Quincy, Decatur, Bloomington, Champaign-Urbana, Metro East (Belleville, E. St. Louis, Edwardsville, Collinsville) Peoria, Aurora, Rockford, Macomb, DeKalb, Elgin, and Carbondale.

    All but DeKalb were identified in the consultant’s plan. Other markets contemplated in the consultant’s report but not yet visited, fall into the “medium” (Joliet, Waukegan, Danville) or “small” category (Freeport, Dixon, Galesburg, Ottawa.) These will be scheduled.

    The only major market not yet visited is the Quad Cities, which will be scheduled.

    10 editorial boards visited: Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, Daily Herald, Decatur, Springfield, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Belleville, Rockford, Peoria, and Bloomington.

    28 schools visited: The superintendent indicated his desire to visit at least one school per week. In the 12 ½ weeks of this reporting period, he has visited 28 schools in all parts of the state – Springfield, Carterville, Quincy, Bloomington, Cahokia, Riverton, Lake Forest, East St. Louis, Aurora, Chicago, carol Stream, Rockford, Roseville, La Harpe, Northwestern, Colchester and Pleasant Plains.

    Message development: The Center staff helped develop the superintendent’s basic messages for these appearances, focusing on his “internal” assignment – restoring credibility to the agency by improving its field-orientation and improving delivery of services -- and his “external” assignment – calling attention to the funding crisis facing public education in Illinois.

  • Other Media Relations

The Center produced a total of 40 news releases in the 12 ½ week period, which were sent to a list of 780 media outlets. All can be reviewed on the agency website.

It facilitated dozens of interviews with the new superintendent, including multiple appearances on the top-rated program in morning radio in both Chicago and Springfield, a 25-minute interview that ran on 8 public radio stations, a 10-minute interview that ran the 65 radio stations of the Illinois Information service and a 30-minute interview that ran on the 13 stations of the Farm Bureau network.

  • External Communications

The Center planned, coordinated and executed an ongoing series of communications to the field to establish the new superintendent and the agency as field-driven and responsive.

In the 12 ½ weeks, we wrote and sent:

11 weekly messages from the superintendent to a listserv of 4,550 district superintendents, ROE’s, special education directors, principals, other educational partners, school public information officers and the ISB board of directors. This is a communication from the superintendent touching on education issues of current importance. Thirteen of them have taken the time to congratulate the superintendent by e-mail for his excellent communication.

19 Administrative updates to district superintendents and ROE’s. This is a message with information having an impact on daily school operations.

4 Superintendent’s Bulletins to the weekly message listserv plus about 18,000 teachers whose e-mail addresses we have acquired over time. This message includes education stories from various publications and some material produced by ISBE staff.

Solicitation of information: In early October, the Center solicited from local superintendent’s anecdotes describing their budget difficulties. We have received 36 responses, which the State Superintendent is able to include in his presentations on the subject and which will be of long-range usefulness to the agency in budget discussions with the General Assembly.

List expansion: In early October, the Center sent an e-mail to district superintendents asking them to ask their board members and principals to share their e-mail addresses with us. To date, we have received more than 700 responses totaling more than 5,000 names, which have been added to our data base. Our ability to communicate with board members in the past has been quite limited and the state board has asked us to improve it. We have done so.

  • Other External Relations

The Center is also responsible for managing various events that carry the ISBE message to the public.

In August, Center personnel planned, arranged for staffing and managed the agency’s booth at the Illinois State Fair. Through cooperation with the Field Museum, we obtained a model of the dinosaur Sue’s foot, and it helped create record turnout at our booth. We processed more than 20,000 Fair “passports” for children, the highest number ever.

  • Web site

Center staff designed, published and maintained new four new specialty locations dedicated to “No Child Left Behind,” the Governor’s Task Force on School Code Revision, The Superintendent’s Task Force on Assessment and Accountability and the new “District Spotlight” agenda item of the monthly board meeting.

  • Multi-media

Center staff:

Upgraded the monthly Board meeting transcription process by creating an “audio on demand” CD record of meetings.

Completed production of video promoting National Board Certification.

Posted nine video files on web site 21st Century Community Learning Centers.


  • Selected vendors to conduct feasibility study for the Student Information System (SIS) and build the e-Grant System.

  • Implemented a statewide process for the first time that enables colleges and universities—with approved teacher education programs—to enter and issue their own entitlement certificates via the Internet through the Teacher Certification Information System (TCIS).

  • Conducted an activation drive to assist all regional and district superintendents in obtaining an ISBE Web Application Security (IWAS) account that enables them to authenticate their signatures for approving claims and reports online.

  • Assisted 178 school districts and nonpublic schools across Illinois with the E-Rate application process for the upcoming funding year 2003.

  • Installed and implemented Windows 2000 Terminal Services with Citrix Metaframe XP on a farm of 10 IBM servers.

  • Continued support for the increasing number of educators using the Certificate Renewal Tracking System (CeRTS) for school administrators and teachers. Chicago Public School District now encourages their teachers to use CeRTS.

  • Connected all computers on the agency’s local area network to the Asset Tracking System that captures hardware and software information on the computers of employees.

  • Completed the a 212-page “Information Technology Support Handbook” that includes detailed information on the agency network, IT equipment, servers, critical applications, databases, and backup/restore systems.