|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 28, 2001
Springfield – Here is a synopsis of highlights of some of the work done in the last month by Illinois State Board of Education staff to address the Board’s five education priorities: Standards/Assessment/Accountability; High Quality Educators; Reading and Mathematics; Early Learning (Birth to 8); and Schools in Academic Difficulty.
The full Board Priority Report is available through the State Board’s Communications division at (217) 782-4648.
· Shipped more than one million documents – all ISAT tests and testing materials from NCS, Iowa City, to 800 school districts and 3,100 schools.
· Began filming Illinois teachers and students to produce the ISBE interactive CD- Rom of instruction on reading, writing and mathematics.
· Completed review of the Requests for Proposals on Learn and Serve evaluation; Even Start; Reading Excellence Act evaluation; Early Childhood Block Grant; Illinois Partnership Academy Lighthouse Mentor; Summer Bridges evaluation; and Needs Assessment for Math and Science.
Early Learning Initiative (Birth through 8):
· Participated on the Illinois team at the Education Commission of the States Midwest Regional Workshop, “Early Learning: Improving Results for Young Children.” The event brought together teams from 12 states to discuss issues in early care and education.
· Met with Early Childhood Block Grant program administrators from three separately funded Decatur-based agencies and approved plans for coordinated, continuous services for at-risk children ages birth to 5 years and their families.
· Met with Reading Initiative and National-Louis University staff to discuss involving early childhood professionals in early literacy efforts through Illinois Reads.
· Attended Reading Excellence Act (REA) meeting in Washington, D.C. Delivered keynote address on phonics and early reading instruction to 300 REA staff from 27 states. Presented a poster session for 200 attendees on Illinois Reads activities.
· Hosted third meeting of 65 college and university reading faculty to plan ongoing collaborative efforts to improve ISBE’s support for pre-service reading preparation.
· Made a presentation on Illinois Reads to 60 local educators in Minooka.
· Staff made a presentation on Illinois Reads to 100 educators at the IASA conference in Chicago.
· Held first Mathematics Task Force meeting with key stakeholders in mathematics education of Illinois students to develop common vision and goals.
· Presented at the Illinois Council of Teachers of Mathematics Southern Regional to about 100 teachers.
· Met with representatives of the Illinois Science Teachers Association and the Illinois Council of Teachers of Mathematics to develop action plan for the Illinois Building a Presence program.
Schools in Academic Difficulty:
· Began work with Chicago Public Schools staff to develop a performance agreement for CPS schools in Title I School Improvement using their proposed CASA program as the basis for working with the district.
· Convened the Federal Programs Consolidated Committee of Practitioners to review and give input on the new designation system as required by Title I law.
· Presented Illinois Congressional delegation with ISBE priorities for the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act Reauthorization.
· Staff continues to participate in the special education hearings at the request of chief legal counsel.
· Have approved 1,161 providers for Certificate Renewal. Applications reviewed within 48 hours although the law allows for up to 30 days.
· Completed design plan for new Certificate Renewal Tracking System, which will allow entire certificate renewal process to be accessed from any computer. Trial period is scheduled for May with an eye on making the system available to the public by July 1.