Tuesday, August 22, 2017

News from ISBE

New tool for kindergarten readiness
The state will report consistent new measures of developmental readiness for all kindergarten students starting this fall. Kindergarten teachers will be getting and using the reports, which are derived from observations of students in their normal daily routines of playing and learning.

The Kindergarten Individual Development Survey (KIDS) is designed to deepen the state’s understanding of where children have or do not have access to high-quality early learning opportunities. KIDS also will help communities and service providers understand what children need for success in school, state officials said.

The state requires all districts to use the KIDS tool to observe Kindergarten students against 14 measures of school readiness within the first 40 days of students’ attendance. A state web page offers resources, fact sheets, frequently asked questions, and other information for teachers, administrators, and families at KIDS.

Read more about this program in the September-October issue of The Illinois School Board Journal.

School lunch guidelines released
Eligibility guidelines have been released for free and reduced-price lunch, breakfast, and after-school snacks through the National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program for the 2017-2018 school year.

Officials say the federal programs help ensure that children are able to receive nutritious meals and snacks even if their families are unable to pay full price.

Application forms for the programs are being sent to all students’ homes. Parents and guardians need to complete just one application per household for all students in the same school district. More details and a chart depicting the federal guidelines are available here.

Law streamlines teacher licensing
A recently signed law may help address a major teacher shortage with more than 1,000 teaching positions going unfilled last year in Illinois public schools, state officials say. Public Act 100-0013 is designed to streamline the licensing requirements for various subject areas, such as Career and Technical Education (CTE), and special education.

The measure was sponsored by Rep. Fred Crespo (D-Streamwood) and Sen. Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Plainfield). It was developed as part of the Vision 20/20 legislative agenda, a grassroots campaign of state school management groups that includes IASB.

Public Act 100-0013, a follow up to Senate Bill 2912 signed into law in 2016, took effect July 1.