-----Original Message-----
From:
STATE SUPERINTENDENT
Sent:
Tuesday, October 15, 2002 11:16 AM
To: District Superintendents, ROEs, Directors of Special Education
Subject: Weekly Message - from State Superintendent Robert Schiller -
10/15/02
Importance: High

 

 

Good afternoon.  I have just a few items this week. 

 

       Assessment/Accountability Task Force discussions are frank, productive

       ACT results from April 2002 PSAE being shipped to districts

       20-Minute State Board Packet for October meeting in Collinsville

       ISU gets grant to expand NBPTS pool

 

I want to briefly highlight two topics.  First, thank you to those districts that have sent me information on how the budget crisis is affecting programs and services for students.  We are beginning to create a very compelling picture of the local sacrifices that students and their schools must be made when funding is inadequate to meet their needs.  If you have not already sent me such a message, I would appreciate hearing from you.  The case we build will be even stronger if we can tell stories from all district types, sizes and locations.  Just drop me a note, nothing formal is necessary, at statesup@isbe.net.

 

Second, is simply a reminder that we have officially opened the application period for several management vacancies at ISBE.  Job descriptions, salary ranges and an application form to download, complete and send to our Human Resources office are all available at http://www.isbe.net/isbesites/isbevacancy/VL02-03.pdf.  The deadline for applying is November 6, 2003.  I encourage you to review the positions and apply for one or more of them that fit your qualifications and interest. 

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Assessment/Accountability Task Force discussions are frank, productive

The Task Force on Assessment and Accountability met for the second time on Tuesday, October 8.  Throughout the discussion, we identified several “themes” that describe educators’ concerns about ISAT (e.g., the Illinois Alternate Assessment is a serious source of aggravation and frustration, as are the kind of data reported and the formats in which they are reported). 

 

We also identified some potential improvements in the testing system that warrant further study and discussion, including expanding the test item banks, improving the quantity and quality of data returned to schools and reducing the turnaround time for test results.

 

The Task Force will meet again on October 23 in Bloomington at the District 87 Administration Office’s Community Room, 300 East Monroe.   The focus of that meeting will be the IAA and assessing students with disabilities. 

 

You can now find information about the Task Force’s meeting schedule, agendas as they become available, a list of members and background materials use to provide them with a context for discussion at http://www.isbe.net/aatf/default.htm, or just go to ISBE.net and click on Assessment and Accountability Task Force.

 

 

ACT results from April 2002 PSAE being shipped to unit, high school districts

ACT has begun shipping its results from the 2002 PSAE administration last spring to all public high schools.  Districts should begin receiving them as early as today, Friday, October 11, and throughout next week.  Late next week, ISBE will be distributing a news release that addresses statewide results only, not local high school results.  We will send you a copy of the release when we send it to the media.

 

In a nutshell, ACT scores for Illinois juniors increased slightly in the 2002 PSAE administration even though a lower percentage of students reported taking core courses.

 

The mean ACT Composite score for 2002 juniors increased to 19.5 compared to 19.4 for juniors in 2001.  This is the second year that virtually all high school juniors in Illinois were required to take the ACT as part of the Prairie State Achievement Examination.  More than 6,000 additional students took the ACT as part of the PSAE in 2002 than in 2001 - 120,137 in 2002 versus 114,099 in 2001.

 

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20-Minute State Board Packet for October meeting in Collinsville

The State Board of Education sometimes conducts its monthly meeting in communities other than Springfield and Chicago in order to meet and talk with local educators about issues in their schools and communities.  This is one of those occasions, and the Board’s October 16-17 meeting will be held at the Collinsville Holiday Inn, X00 Gateway Drive.  Complete meeting materials, including specific documents mentioned below, are available at http://www.isbe.net/board/.

 

Wednesday, October 16, 2002

11:00 a.m.

 

 

Education Policy/Planning Issues

 

School District Dialogue:

East St. Louis District #189

 

Background and Issues

  Last month, the State Board initiated a series of discussions with local school district personnel.  This month’s guests will represent the East St. Louis School District.

  This district has made progress in student achievement at the elementary level but continues to face many challenges and barriers in relation to school improvement.

What will happen at the Board meeting

  Representatives from the East St. Louis School District #189 board/administration will talk formally and informally with State Board members about the actions they have taken to improve their schools.

Next Steps

  Because the November Board meeting is a one-day meeting, it may not be possible to schedule a dialogue with a local school district.    However, barring other conflicts, a similar session with a school district will occur at the December meeting.

 

East St. Louis School District #189

Financial Oversight Panel- Annual Report

Action Item for October 17

 

Background and Issues

  Each September 1st the Financial Oversight Panel is required to file its Annual Report with the State Board.

  Chairman Mark’s presentation and dialogue with the board members will allow all to understand the importance of continued financial accountability for the East St. Louis School District #189.

What will happen at the Board meeting

  Mr. Richard Mark, Chairman of the East St. Louis Financial Oversight Panel, will make a presentation on the Panel’s accomplishments for the past year. 

  His comments will go into detail on the progress the panel has made to ensure the financial stability of the East St. Louis School District #189 since its appointment in 1994.

  The State Board of Education will have an opportunity to understand in greater detail the specific concerns and recommendations as presented in this Annual Report

  The Superintendent and agency staff will:

o   recommend to the Board to accept the Annual Report, and to recognize the State Board’s support for the tireless efforts of the East St. Louis Financial Oversight Panel members.  The panel members are Richard Mark, Vice President, Ameren UE, Saundra Hudson, CEO, Madison County Urban League and Ann Duncan, Retired Carlyle Superintendent.

  The Board will be asked to accept the East St. Louis Financial Oversight Panel Annual Report.

Next Steps

  The Board will review the financial and educational issues that remain and consider alternatives to the ten-year statutory sunset of the East St. Louis Financial Oversight Panel.

 

 

NCATE/State Partnership Agreement & Protocol (Draft)

Discussion Item

 

Background and Issues

  On May 7, 1988, the Illinois State Board of Education approved an initial partnership agreement with the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE).  The five-year partnership agreement and protocol under which Illinois continues to operate was signed on October 30, 1996, and extended for two years on December 31, 2000.  The proposed agreement is scheduled for renewal on January 1, 2003.

  NCATE is scheduled to review the content of its State Protocol form, and some revisions are anticipated.  Because the ISBE/NCATE Partnership Agreement and Protocol are due on January 1, 2003, NCATE has provided State Board staff with the most recent draft of its documents.  While NCATE anticipates few changes in this version, the final agreement and protocol submitted to the Board in December may differ slightly from the version under consideration in October.

  Approval of the final Partnership Agreement and Protocol will allow the State to continue its relationship with the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education, and Illinois institutions that seek and earn NCATE accreditation will receive national recognition.

  Failure to approve the final version will mean that Illinois will not retain its affiliation with NCATE.

What will happen at the Board meeting

  The Superintendent and agency staff will:

o   provide the Board with a draft of the NCATE/State Partnership Agreement and Protocol;

o   explain the terms of the proposed agreement and protocol; and

o   solicit comments and reactions from Board members.

  The Board will be asked to:

o   provide staff with comments and direction on the proposed agreement and protocol; and

o   direct staff to develop a revised version of the agreement and protocol for submission to the Board at its November meeting.

Next Steps

  Upon direction, staff will incorporate feedback from the State Board into a second draft.  The revisions will be shared with the Illinois Association of Colleges of Teacher Education (IACTE), the Partnership Committee, and the State Teacher Certification Board.  Reactions from these entities will be reported to the State Board in November.

 

Middle Level Certification: Survey Results & Next Steps

Action Item for October 17

 

Background and Issues

  At its August 21 meeting, the State Board accepted the findings of a survey on middle level certification distributed by staff in July.  The purpose of the questionnaire was to define critical issues that seemed to be causing concern or confusion regarding the proposed certificate.

  Flexibility in assigning teachers, educator supply, capacity to meet anticipated demand, and job mobility were among the concerns cited most frequently by stakeholders who responded to the survey.

  To increase the level of participation in the questionnaire, the Board directed staff to re-open the survey on August 26 and to make it available for comment through the middle of September.  The purpose of this action was to allow education personnel who were away from their positions in July to respond to the survey items.

What will happen at the Board meeting

  The Superintendent and agency staff will:

o   inform the Board of the final results of the Middle Level Certification Survey

o   advise the Board of information received from colleges and universities concerning potential capacity for middle level certification programming;

  The Superintendent will recommend to:

o   propose the enhancement of the present middle level endorsement as an alternative to middle level certification by potentially redefining the present endorsement in terms of selected standards and performance indicators.  Preparation predicated upon these standards will significantly advance qualifications of middle level teachers in working with middle grade learners

  The Board will be requested to:

o   accept the Middle Level Certification Results and approve next steps; and

o   direct staff to collaborate with the middle level advisory panel and other stakeholders in the re-design of the present middle grade endorsement.

Next Steps

  Upon direction by the Board, Staff will meet with the leadership of the middle level advisory panel for the purpose of reconvening interested members of the group to recommend a standards and performance-based endorsement.  Moreover, staff may be asked to solicit representation from other partners (e.g., administrators, regional superintendents, etc.) to engage them in the process.  A report to the State Board on the progress of the initiative will be available in the spring.

 

 

Illinois GED Testing Program Application Fee

Action Item for October 17

 

Background and Issues

  The Illinois State Board of Education is responsible for policy implementation and jurisdictional administration of the GED Testing Program establishing fees (ISBE was granted the authority to set GED fees under Section 3-15.12 of the School Code (105 ILCS 5/3-3.37)), and supervision of all testing centers within Illinois. 

  Funds to operate the program are received from GED candidates in the form of application, retest, duplicate certificate, and transcript fees, with excess costs absorbed by the Regional Offices of Education.  Except for the funding provided to ISBE by the General Assembly for per person fees and completion of its GED responsibilities as the Chicago ROE in Cook County, the state provides no direct funding for the Illinois GED Testing Program. 

  The GED Testing Service (GEDTS) introduced a new series of tests on January 1, 2002.  As a summative evaluation of what graduating seniors should know, the GED Tests changed to mirror the states’ evolving educational standards.  The changes required a cost increase that is not negotiable, resulting in a potential financial crisis for the Illinois GED Testing Program. 

  Additional costs of the 2002 Series GED Tests include an increase in leasing fees for test batteries, an increase in the per person fee assessed to jurisdictions for first-time examinees, and the establishment of a statewide electronic scoring system. 

  In response to the increases, in July 2001, ISBE convened a GED 2002 Fee Committee to review Illinois’ options for handling the additional fees for testing and the cost of electronic scoring.  The following recommendations were suggested:  (1) a nominal increase in the application fee for test takers, (2) utilizing remaining funds to pay a portion of the test rental fees, and (3) an additional state appropriation. 

What will happen at the Board meeting

  The Superintendent and staff will:

o   ask the Board to consider the recommendation of the GED 2002 Fee Committee and approve the proposed GED application fee increase

  The Board:

o   will review and potentially approve the recommendation of the GED 2002 Fee Committee (representing the State Board of Education, Community College Board, Department of Corrections, Regional Offices of Education, adult education service centers, and adult education programs) to increase the GED application fee from $30 to $35 effective January 1, 2003. 

Next Steps

  There will be a need to review the fiscal structure of the Illinois GED Testing Program again in FY05.  The recent fee increases instituted by GEDTS will remain constant through calendar year 2006, at which time GEDTS in Washington will review the existing fee structure to determine if additional increases are necessary.

 

 

Rules for Initial Review- Part 25 (Certification)

Action Item for October 17

 

Background and Issues

  The amendments contained in this set of rules arise from three recent pieces of legislation, as well as from the staff’s experience with approving the providers of continuing professional development for purposes of the renewal of teaching certificates.

  The amendments contained in this set of rules arise from several recent pieces of legislation, as well as from the staff’s experience with approving the providers of continuing professional development for purposes of the renewal of teaching certificates.

  New Section 25.444 implements the Illinois Teaching Excellence Program as amended this year by P.A. 92-796 (HB 1436).

  The revisions found in Subpart J (Sections 25.800 through 25.875) of the rules reflect several changes in the certificate renewal requirements enacted as part of P.A. 92-796.   Changes have also been made in Subpart J regarding requirements for speech language pathologists, reflecting legislative changes enacted in 2001 via P.A. 92-510.

  A new Section 25.872 has been added to deal specifically with providers of continuing professional development activities that are electronically mediated.

  The revisions to Section 25.728 reflect changes made this year by P.A. 92-734 regarding institutions’ use of test results.

What will happen at the Board meeting

  The Superintendent and agency staff will:

o   present the proposed amendments for initial review and secure the Board’s authorization to distribute them for public comment.

  The Board will be requested to:

o   authorize solicitation of Public Comment on Rules: Part 25 (Certification)

Next Steps

  With the Board’s authorization, staff will submit the proposed amendments to the Administrative Code Division for publication in the Illinois Register to elicit public comment.  Additional means such as the Superintendent’s Bulletin and the agency website will also be used to inform interested parties of the opportunity to comment on this rulemaking.

 

Finance and Audit Issues

 

Finance, Audit and Agency Operations

Action Item for October 17

 

Background and Issues

  In June 2002, the State Board adopted bylaws outlining a new committee structure under which fiscal, audit and operations issues will be handled by the Fiscal and Audit Committee.  Superintendent Schiller requested that the agency organize and standardize the financial and headcount data provided to the Board for their future policy work and decision-making. Currently the following Reports are provided or are being developed:

1.       Budget / Annual Report (Annually in January)

2.       Comptroller SEA Report (Annually in February)

3.       Board Goals (Annually in November)

4.       Appropriation and Expenditure (Monthly)

5.       Financial Status Report - Contract/Grant Detail (Monthly)

6.       Business Plans at the Director Level (Quarterly)

7.       Headcount Reports (Monthly)

                   Personnel Transactions

                   Staff Detail by Division

Monthly Headcount Graph

What will happen at the Board meeting

  The Superintendent and agency staff will: 

o   provide the Board standard reports with key information on fiscal and administrative activities of the state agency.

  The Board will be asked to:

o   accept and approve the Standard Monthly Reports: Finance, Audit, Agency Operations Status Reports

Next Steps

  The Superintendent and agency staff will continue to provide these reports pursuant to the schedule provided above.  

 

School District Financial Profile

Discussion Item

 

Background and Issues

  In March, 2002, staff met with the Board to release the final Financial Watch, Financially Certified, and Financial Oversight Panel lists under the FAAS measure and process.  At that time, the Board encouraged staff to finalize a new designation system and report progress by mid-year. 

  The proposed School District Financial Profile is ready for use as an internal management tool and will be demonstrated to the Board for discussion during the October meeting.

What will happen at the Board meeting

  The Superintendent and agency staff will:

o   update the State Board on the development and implementation of the proposed School District Financial Profile which replaces the Financial Assurance and Accountability System (FAAS).

o   explain the overall framework and benefits of the School District Financial Profile.

  The Board will:

o   understand the expanded capacity of the School District Financial Profile to profile data in a variety of financial and graphic contexts and how it will be used as a financial designation system.

o   understand the intervention services to be provided through the regional-based finance consultants.

Next Steps

  Agency staff will proceed to implement the School District Financial Profile with FY02 AFR data for use in the new designations in the early spring of 2003. 

  The Board will be asked to approve the designations and criteria indicators at the November meeting.

 

 

Hazel Crest School District 152 ½

Petition for Financial Oversight Panel

Action Item for October 17

 

Background and Issues

  The State Board of Education recognizes that Hazel Crest School District 152 ½ is experiencing serious financial problems which have resulted in requests for assistance including a petition from their district for a Financial Oversight Panel.  Staff have worked closely with the superintendent and attended a September 30 board meeting where a resolution to petition the State Board of Education for immediate appointment of a Financial Oversight Panel was considered.

  An Article 1B petition for a Financial Oversight Panel requires a school district to be certified as being in “financial difficulty” under Section 1A-8 and sets forth specific criteria for this designation. 

  Because of the speed with which Hazel Crest School District 152 ½ found itself in this situation, it is essentially bypassing the normal progression of financial designation and instead is petitioning the State Board to act immediately to appoint a three-member Financial Oversight Panel. 

  If approved, the Panel will be able to provide immediate oversight and approval for additional borrowing by the district as well as development of an “emergency financial assistance and recovery plan.” 

What will happen at the Board meeting

  The Superintendent and agency staff will:

o   provide the Board with an understanding of the severe financial difficulties confronting Hazel Crest School District 152 ½.  Hazel Crest is an elementary school district with an enrollment of 1,200 students located in South Cook County within the villages of Hazel Crest and East Hazel Crest and the cities of Harvey and Markham.  Hazel Crest School District 152 ½ petitioned the State Board of Education on October 7, 2002, for immediate certification under Section 1A-8, the accelerated appointment of a Financial Oversight Panel under Section 1B, and continued technical assistance from the agency.

o   provide the Board details of the school district’s precarious financial position and the potential for it to exhaust all available cash reserves prior to the completion of the 2002-2003 school year.

  The Board will be requested to:

o   evaluate the possible legal basis for certifying the district pursuant to the Section 1A-8 criteria.  The district has $1.65 M in outstanding Tax Anticipation Notes and $2.3 M in Revenue Anticipation Notes secured by most of this year’s General State Aid entitlement.

o   accept the petition requesting an Emergency Financial Oversight Pane for Hazel Crest School District 152 ½, certify the district in financial difficulty, and authorize the Superintendent to appoint the Financial Oversight Panel

Next Steps

  Upon approval Board approval, Hazel Crest School District 152 ½ will be certified as being in financial difficulty under Section 1A-8 and the Superintendent will appoint a Financial Oversight Panel for the district so that a comprehensive assessment could potentially be made by the General Assembly during the fall veto session.

 

Thursday, October 17, 2002

9:00 a.m.

 

 

Governmental Affairs Issues

 

State Legislative Status Reports

Discussion Item

 

Background and Issues

  The Board’s Governmental Affairs Committee has met to discuss legislative issues associated with the fall and spring sessions.

  The Superintendent and members of the Governmental Affairs Committee have been meeting with constituent groups, and several more such meetings are scheduled for the coming month.

  Agency staff prepared roughly 25 legislative proposals specific to their areas of responsibility to meet the October 1st deadline.

  The schedule for development of the Board’s legislative proposals calls for completion of that process in December.

  The bulk of activity is geared for the Spring 2003 session; however, there may be a need to take legislative action in regard to Hazel Crest 152 ½ and the Fall Waiver Report during the legislative session.

What will happen at the Board meeting

  The Superintendent and agency staff will discuss the process in developing legislative priorities and proposals to support the Board’s goals and the needs of school districts in Illinois.

Next Steps

  The Governmental Affairs Committee, the Superintendent and staff will continue to work with stakeholders toward development of a legislative proposal for FY04. 

 

Federal Legislative Status Reports

 

Background and Issues

  Governmental Affairs staff continues to monitor activity in Congress regarding the FY2003 Labor/HHS/Education Appropriations bill through almost daily discussions with agency federal liaisons based in Washington. 

  Agency staff called each of the 15 entities (school districts and the Springfield Boys and Girls Club) that are receiving earmark funds secured for them by ISBE to ask them to contact the member of congress who supported our request on their behalf to thank the member for that support and to invite them to visit their school district to see for themselves how these funds are supporting teaching and learning.

  Agency staff also wrote letters to each member of the Illinois delegation that has indicated their support for projects in the FY2003 Labor/HHS/Education Appropriations bill thanking them for their on-going support of students and school programs in Illinois.

What will happen at the Board meeting

  The Board will discuss the federal legislative report and its implications for Illinois.

Next Steps

  The Superintendent and agency staff will take action consistent with the results of this discussion.

 

 

Additional Agenda Items and Meeting Activities

 

  Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) – The Board will discuss and consider IIT’s notice of objection to the Certification Board’s recommendations concerning provisional unit accreditation and program during the Plenary Session on Thursday, October 17, 2002.

  Reports and announcements by Board members and the State Superintendent

  Closed sessions

  The Board, Superintendent, and the Illinois Association of Regional Superintendents of Schools are hosting an “Education Leadership Forum” for southern Illinois Regional Superintendents, local superintendents and board members on Wednesday, from 4:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.

  The Board and Superintendent were invited to meet with local administrators and board members at the Edwardsville High School at 7:30 a.m. on Thursday, October 17, 2002.

  The Board will be hosting a Budget Hearing at 1:00 p.m. on Thursday, October 17, 2002, at the Collinsville Holiday Inn.

 

 

 

 

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ISU gets grant to expand NBPTS pool

Illinois State University has been awarded a grant by the State Board of Education to expand the number of elementary and secondary teachers who have national certification through the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards.

 

With the $181,900 grant, ISU will focus its activities on increasing the number of National Board certified teachers (NBCTs) outside of Chicago, and designing and implementing a regional model for the recruitment, preparation, and professional development of teachers.  It will also use the grant funds, in partnership with ISBE, to help secure additional funding for the project from NBPTS.

 

ISU, which currently works with Chicago NBPTS candidates, is one of five National Board Resource Centers in the country and has creatively designed opportunities to help prepare their NBPTS applications.  Under the terms of the grant, the University  will identify and train National Board certified teachers in six regions of the State, consistent with the regions established for the Regional Offices of Education.  The NBCTs will deliver pre-candidacy courses, make recruitment presentations, and serve as mentors to candidates.  The activities will also assure the delivery of professional development opportunities to National Board candidates, National Board certified teachers, and classroom teachers across the six regions.

 

The recruitment efforts also will seek to attract candidates from school districts and regions of the State that have not historically participated in the National Board program, including rural districts in central and southern Illinois.  An increase in minority participation is another targeted outcome of the funding.  Outside Chicago, the grant dollars hope to recruit as many as 365 candidates by December 2002 and 550 by December 2003.   Dr. Lynn Gaddis, a former Illinois Teacher of the Year and a National Board Certified teacher, is the grant coordinator at ISU. 

 

Robert Schiller

State Superintendent of Education

statesup@isbe.net