From: STATE SUPERINTENDENT
Sent: Friday, April 18, 2003 3:13 PM
To: 'Regional Superintendents and Special Education Directors District Superintendents '
Subject: April 18, 2003

Good afternoon.

Governor Blagojevich informed us this afternoon that he has appointed Janet Steiner of Carlinville as Acting Chair of the Board, pending confirmation by the Senate. Dr. Steiner is a lifelong educator who worked in the Carlinville schools and recently retired as a faculty member at Blackburn College, where she supervised student teachers. She has served on the State Board since 1999 and will chair her first meeting April 30.

I include in this message a statement from Mr. Gidwitz regarding the completion of his term as chair. It was written before we were notified that Dr. Steiner would be the new chair, and so does not mention her by name.

Many schools are taking spring break this week. One issue that hasn’t taken a holiday, however, is the changing requirements for obtaining Illinois teaching certificates. Teachers and paraprofessionals are particularly concerned about the new requirements as the summer break approaches and they make plans for continuing education. This message includes explanations regarding several aspects of certification and professional preparation:

Special note regarding Education Procedural Guidance Memorandum: On April 10 you received via e-mail a procedural guidance memorandum from Christopher Koch, Director of Special Education. Apparently some people experienced difficulty in opening the attachment. Please note that the document is also available on the agency Web site at www.isbe.net/spec-ed under the section entitled “NEW.”

Statement of former Chairman Gidwitz

Mr. Gidwitz issued the following statement today regarding the completion of his term as board chairman:

My term as Chairman of the Illinois State Board of Education has expired and the Governor is expected to appoint a new Chairman shortly. I will continue to serve as Chairman until the new appointment is made, and I will remain a member of the board until my term expires in January 2005.

I am grateful for the privilege of having served as chairman since April 1999. During that time, my colleagues and I have made a number of accomplishments including

However, we, the people of Illinois, have a long road ahead of us to truly make the education of our children second to none. 

There is nothing more important in our society than our children.  That’s why I personally launched and funded the Students First Foundation (www.studentsfirst.us). I am honored that former U.S. Senator Paul Simon and thousands of individual citizens from across the state are working with Students First to protect the future of our children and the future of the state of Illinois. 

As a Board member, President and Founder of the Students First Foundation, a parent and a private citizen who has invested decades in our children, I will continue to work with the State Board of Education, the General Assembly, the local schools and, most importantly, serve Illinois’ 2.2 million schoolchildren. 

Requirements for Subsequent Illinois Teaching Certificates

The following information is provided to clarify the process for Illinois teachers who hold a valid Illinois certificate to obtain additional or subsequent Illinois teaching certificates under rules that are currently in place. Your teachers may be directed to this information on the ISBE Web site, where links are provided to the specific language of the rules that are relevant to each certificate: http://www.isbe.net/teachers/reqsubcert.htm.

Early Childhood (Birth–Grade 3) Certificate

Through June 30, 2003, Illinois teachers may seek an Early Childhood Certificate as a subsequent certificate through the transcript evaluation process.

Beginning July 1, 2003, in order to obtain a subsequent teaching certificate, Illinois teachers will be required to

Elementary (K–9) Certificate

Through September 30, 2003, Illinois teachers may seek an Elementary (K–9) Certificate as a subsequent certificate through the transcript evaluation process.

Beginning October 1, 2003, in order to obtain a subsequent teaching certificate, Illinois teachers will be required to

Secondary (6–12) Certificate

Through September 30, 2003, Illinois teachers may seek a Secondary (6–12) Certificate as a subsequent certificate through the transcript evaluation process.

Beginning October 1, 2003, in order to obtain a subsequent teaching certificate, Illinois teachers will be required to

Special (K–12) Certificate

Through June 30, 2003, Illinois teachers may seek a Special (K–12) Certificate as a subsequent certificate through the transcript evaluation process.

Beginning July 1, 2003, in order to obtain a subsequent teaching certificate, Illinois teachers will be required to

Special Preschool–Age 21 Certificate

The Final Transition Rules provide the requirements for holders of other Illinois certificates who wish to begin serving in special education assignments (see Section 25.47 and 25.48). Teachers with other Illinois certificates may obtain the Special Preschool–Age 21 Certificate through three different methods:

  1. Short-Term Emergency Certificate (Section 25.48, Final Transition Rules)
  1. LBS I Approval (Section 25.47, Final Transition Rules)

 

  1. LBS I Endorsement (Section 25.43, Final Transition Rules)

Teachers should be informed about the coursework requirements described here. Specific planning to become eligible for additional certificates should align with these requirements, and candidates for subsequent certificates should consult with their universities, ROEs and the State Board of Education (217/782-4123) to obtain personal guidance.

Illinois Definition of Highly Qualified Teacher

We are receiving many calls about the Illinois definition of highly qualified teacher, with most focusing on the requirements for middle school teachers. We are moving toward closure on the Illinois definition and plan to have a recommendation for the State Teacher Certification Board and the State Board of Education for their May meetings. That proposal will be available on the State Board Web site in early May and, if the State Board takes final action at its May 13 meeting, the final definition will be posted later that day.

Test Preparation for Paraprofessionals

The State Board has awarded a $500,000 grant to the Illinois Community College Board (ICCB) to coordinate an effort to develop a test preparation series for the ETS “Parapro” and ACT WorkKeys assessments.

The project will focus on creating a series of test-preparation modules that serve as diagnostic tools and prepare individuals to be successful on either of the state-endorsed paraprofessional exams. The collaboration will include representatives from community colleges, the K–12 community (both public and private), Regional Offices of Education (ROEs), education unions, and staff from ICCB and ISBE.

Both on-site and on-line modules will be created. Pre-tests and post-tests will be included to provide immediate feedback to participants. Additional academic support for paraprofessionals, including tutoring, access to college help centers, and developmental coursework, will be available as well.

The preparation modules will encompass the content found on both tests, thereby preparing individuals to be successful regardless of the exam they choose. The modules will be available to any interested education entity in the state (both public and private) to provide consistent, quality preparation to which all paraprofessionals have access. Financial support will be awarded through the grant to support delivery of test preparation instruction. Paraprofessionals will be able to attend for free.

It is anticipated that work will begin in early May 2003. On-site modules will be completed by the end of June 2003, and on-l.

Certification Test Fees

Beginning with the July 2003 test administration, test fees for the Illinois Certification Testing System (ICTS) will be increased as described in the following paragraphs. The new fee structure is effective for the 2003–2004 test year and beyond, and the information in the 2003–2004 ICTS Registration Bulletin, which will be available in late May, will reflect these changes.

This increase in testing fees is the first to occur since the beginning of the testing program in July 1988. The fees cover all costs associated with test registration, administration, scoring and score reporting, as well as new test development and program enhancements including additional test dates and test sites, faster turn-around on test scores, and Internet registration and score reporting.

Under the new test fee schedule, the fee for each test will be $60. In addition to the fee per test, examinees will be assessed a Day of Registration Fee (DRF) of $25 per test administration day.

Additional information about the ICTS, including study guides and registration information, may be found at www.icts.nesinc.com. Information about test dates is available on the ISBE Web site at http://isbe.net/teachers/.

Robert Schiller
State Superintendent
  of Education
statesup@isbe.net