Monday, October 22, 2018

Seven board members
win Those Who Excel honors

State education officials honored seven of Illinois’ outstanding school board members at the 44th annual Those Who Excel/Teacher of the Year banquet October 20 in Normal. Four board members captured the award of excellence, the highest level. School board members who took home an award, and their district and locale:

Excellence
Mark Metz    
Evanston Township High School District 202    

Kristin Fitzgerald    
Naperville Community Unit School District 203    

Jill Bertels    
Edwardsville Community Unit School District 7    

Ryan Farrell    
Crystal Lake ESD 47    

Merit
Mucia Burke
Township High School District 211

Anita Hanna    
Waukegan Community Unit School District 60

Recognition
Debra Havighorst    
Homewood School District 153


The winners are among 214 other educators to be honored at the banquet.

Local school district leaders and members of school communities nominate candidates for this recognition. A committee of peers, organized through the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE), chose the award winners to be honored this year. The committee represents statewide education organizations and includes former award winners.

The 214 recipients received recognition on three levels and across multiple categories, including classroom teacher, teams, early career educator, school administrator, school board member, community volunteer, education service personnel, and student support personnel.

A complete list of local recipients by county can be accessed on ISBE’s Those Who Excel winners’ list

Friday, October 19, 2018

A reminder: sharing relevant policies can
boost transparency on attending Conference

IASB has long suggested that school boards planning to attend the Joint Annual Conference should be pro-active in documenting their professional development experiences and expenses at the event. One way is to adopt and promulgate a policy that addresses professional development for all school board members. Such a policy may permit and encourage ongoing leadership training for those who have volunteered to serve their community as unpaid school board members.

Thus boards may wish to review their existing policies or consider adopting a policy before attending the 2018 Joint Annual Conference, scheduled for November 16-18 in Chicago.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Executive Director Bertrand addresses IASA in Springfield

The closing general session of the IASA Annual Conference
featured remarks by IASB Executive Director Tom Bertrand.
The 2018 IASA Annual Conference in Springfield brought together 500-plus leaders for education, motivation, and conversation.

After preconference events that included a Celebrating Women in Leadership event, IASA’s opening keynote speaker, Rick Rigsby, President and CEO of Rick Rigsby Communications, offered insights on leadership and learning.

"The greatest lessons are never learned on the mountaintop,” Rigsby said. “They are formed and forged in the midst of pain. Great people are always learning. They don't have it figured out.”

Sheila Harrison-Williams, IASA president, lauded the women in leadership conference, and spoke about her role as president. "Together, we are advocates for all public-school children within the state of Illinois...no matter what race or what gender, what zip code or special needs," Harrison-Williams said.

Breakout sessions included a wide range of topics relating to curriculum, equity, new superintendents, ESSA and the changes it has wrought, student readiness, trauma-sensitivity, and school safety.

The event’s lively and engaging “Ignite” session covered standards-based grading, facility design, telling the district’s story, strategic planning, communications, and more. Included in the lightning-round-style session was Tad Everett, superintendent of Sterling CUSD5, who spoke on managing mistakes in the “failure framework,” saying “You don’t drown by falling in the water. You drown by staying there.”

IASB Executive Director Tom Bertrand, the immediate past president of IASA, noted during the closing session that the energy at the conference and the tone of the conversations improves when funding issues no longer supersede all others.

Also in the finale, Tony Smith, Illinois superintendent of education, spoke on hope, noting “We know more now than we’ve ever known about what kids need. There’s a ton of research on hope. Do not stop kids from hope. Also in the final session, former UCLA softball coach, NCAA champion and motivational speaker Sue Enquist offered advice on dealing with regrets, challenging your inner voice, and accepting the obligation to think, speak, and act in a positive manner.

The IASA Annual Conference returns to Springfield in September 2019.

Monday, October 15, 2018

Online planner available for Conference

An Online Conference Planner is now available for those looking to attend the 2018 Joint Annual Conference, Nov. 16-18, in Chicago. By creating an online planner, participants can view all events and create a personalized agenda to carry with them at Conference on their mobile device.

The online schedule planner is available on the Conference webpage and lists events by date, type, or category.

Note: Visitors need to create an account with the third party website there, called Sched, to use the planner. To create the account, click on the Sign Up link under the gray Schedule box on this Sched website and follow screen prompts to fill in the blanks for sign up. The Online Planner and personal Conference schedule can be printed and synced to mobile devices for instant, offline access to the schedule of events.

Once the account is created, the Online Conference Planner allows the user to view events by date, type or category. Individual events in each category are listed in chronological order by title and description. Listed at the right of each event is the location by hotel, time, and room name. Multiple events may be chosen for each time slot.


Saturday, October 13, 2018

Nominating Committee
makes IASB officer recommendations

The 2018 Nominating Committee has endorsed a slate of officers, calling for Joanne Osmond, Lake Villa CCSD 41, to be reelected as IASB president, and Thomas Neeley, Morton CUSD 709, as vice president.

Nominations for IASB officers will be voted upon by the Delegate Assembly on Saturday, November 17, at the Joint Annual Conference in Chicago.

Osmond is currently finishing her first term as IASB president. She has represented the Lake Division on the Association Board of Directors since 1996. Osmond began local school board service in 1991, serving on the Antioch Community High School board from 1991 to 1995. Since 1995, she has been a member of the Lake Villa elementary school board.

Neeley has been a member of the Morton CUSD 709 Board of Education since 1989. He has served as IASB vice president since last year, previously served as the Association’s treasurer, and has been on the Board of Directors for more than 10 years, representing the Central Illinois Valley division. He has also been a member of the IASB finance and executive committees.

The nominating committee, which met in August to interview candidates, is chaired by immediate past president Phil Pritzker and includes Directors Bill Alexander, Ann Dingman, Simon Kampwerth, Jr., and Sue McCance. Directors Carla Joiner-Herrod and Mary Stith served as alternates for the committee.

The Association leaders elected by school board delegates will assume office at the close of the 2018 Delegate Assembly meeting on November 17.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Conference ‘Carousel of Panels’
event sponsor, and 30th panel announced

A total of 30 panel presentations will be offered in one room
over a one-hour and 30-minute time period at the Carousel.
A 30th panel discussion and an event sponsor were recently announced for this year’s Carousel of Panels on Saturday, Nov. 17 at the IASB, IASA, and Illinois ASBO Joint Annual Conference.

In addition to the panels previously listed, presenters from Eastern Illinois University and the Consortium for Educational Change will discuss The Reality of Rising: Supporting the Success of Diverse Leaders.

Thus a total of 30 presentations will be offered, all to be presented simultaneously in one room over a one-hour and 30-minute period. This means school board members, superintendents, and other Conference attendees can choose to participate in three different panels of 30 minutes each at the event. The Carousel of Panels will be presented from 1:45 to 3:15 p.m. in Sheraton 4 & 5, Ballroom Level IV, at the Sheraton Grand Hotel.

Beyond adding one more panel, IASB event organizers also can now boast of an event sponsor for the Carousel, thanks to the law firm of Hauser, Izzo, Petrarca, Gleason & Stillman, LLC.  

Meanwhile several panel presenters have finalized the name of their discussion panel. The full updated list of the Carousel of Panels now includes the following panel titles and presenters:

  • Authentic, Relevant Engagement of the Greater Community — Northern Illinois University
  • Increasing the Engagement of Culturally Diverse Families — Oak Lawn-Hometown SD 123
  • 21st Century Climate Resiliency Solutions for K-12 Schools — Champaign CUSD 4 and Perkins+Will, Inc.
  • Increasing Principals’ Time and Capacity for School Improvement — LEAD grants projects, Regional Offices of Education
  • University and Schools Connect for Student Success — Northern Illinois University
  • Is Your School District Website ADA Compliant? — Fremont SD 79 and Scariano, Himes and Petrarca
  • Strategic Planning: Strong Schools Build Strong Communities — Paris Union SD 95Include Stakeholders in Talented and Gifted Placement Appeals — Oak Grove SD 68 (Green Oaks)
  • Discussing Illinois’ New Principal Preparation Program — Aurora University
  • Why Rural Matters! — Association of Illinois Rural and Small Schools (AIRSS), and Virginia CUSD 64 
  • #MeToo: Preventing and Mitigating Workplace Harassment — Hauser, Izzo, Petrarca, Gleason & Stillman, LLC 
  • Boosting Student Growth and Engagement with GRR! — Woodridge SD 68
  • Redefining Success with a Personalized Learner Profile — Prospect Heights SD 23 and ECRA Group
  • Implementing Trauma-Informed Practices in Schools — Regional Office of Education 39 (Macon Piatt)
  • Building a Data Analysis System for Student Achievement — Darien SD 61
  • Legal Layoffs: Following the Law While Improving Education — Miller, Tracy, Braun, Funk & Miller, Ltd. 
  • Outcome Based Wellness: Enhancing Health and Well-Being — Group Alternatives — Naperville CUSD 203
  • Enhancing Instructional Skills in PLCs — Calumet Public SD 132
  • Understanding the Illinois Report Card — Northern Illinois University and Genoa-Kingston CUSD 424
  • Virtual Coaching for Teachers and Administrators — Consortium for Educational 
  • Change and McKendree University Student Readiness Plan: Preparing for Life After High School —Township HSD 211 (Palatine)
  • Strategic Parenting Program — Calumet Public SD 132
  • Concussions and Head Injuries: Planning and Responding — Canton Union SD 66 and Whitt Law LLC
  • Collaboration to Ensure Student Success — Salt Creek SD 48; DuPage HSD 88; Addison SD 4; and SD 45, DuPage County
  • In Defense of Our Students’ Health — Hononegah CHSD 207
  • There’s No Place Like Home — Calumet Public SD 132
  • Working Toward Equity and Excellence for All Students — DuPage HSD 88
  • Restructuring Special Education Cooperatives with Member Districts — Knox-Warren Special 
  • Education District; United CUSD 304; and Knoxville CUSD 202
  • Foundations of Race: Best Practices in Teaching Black Students — Black Educational Advocacy Coalition, Elmhurst College, and Country Club Hills SD 160
  • The Reality of Rising: Supporting the Success of Diverse Leaders — Eastern Illinois University and Consortium for Educational Change



Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Upcoming Webinar: The Equity Lens


Next up in IASB's series of webinars is an exploration of the Association’s work in the area of educational equity. This work opened last spring with the Equity Event, continues with the formation of an Equity Committee, and will advance in the future building on current work.

The committee will provide members with the resources necessary to develop competence and confidence in supporting educational equity within school districts. Members of the Equity Committee will present the webinar, entitled “The Equity Lens,” led by IASB Executive Director Thomas E. Bertrand, Ph.D., and Field Services Director and Equity Director Patrick Rice, Ph.D.

This webinar will begin at noon on October 16. Registration is free for members and available by visiting the IASB website and selecting the blue Online Learning tab at the top of the page.

The IASB Lunch and Learn webinar series has proved successful since its launch, with nearly 1,000 school officials taking advantage of the professional development opportunities.

An archived version of the webinar will become available 24 to 48 hours after each live event.




Monday, October 8, 2018

Five countywide sales
tax questions to face voters

In addition to several local school district finance referendums on the November 6, 2018 ballot, countywide sales tax propositions to benefit schools are scheduled in five counties: Jasper, Kendall, Menard, Sangamon, and Tazewell. A sales tax of up to 1 percent earmarked for school facilities is sought under the authorizing state law that took effect in January 2008. To date 51 counties have adopted such a sales tax to benefit schools, according to Stifel Financial Corporation, a financial services company headquartered in St. Louis.

Revenue from countywide sales taxes for school facilities benefits all school districts in a county where such questions win voter approval.

Such a sales tax, when adopted, does not impose any tax on goods or services that are not already subject to sales taxes. Goods and services that are not subject to the additional tax include cars, trucks, ATVs, boats and RVs; mobile homes, unprepared food, drugs, and farm equipment and parts.

IASB will report on this blog the results of all the November 6 school referendums. Results of school finance referenda since 1989 are available online by clicking here.

Friday, October 5, 2018

ISBE Briefs

Upcoming Budget Hearings
The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) will host three public budget hearings throughout the state during October and November. The public is invited to attend and submit budget recommendations for pre-K through 12th grade funding requests. Individuals who want to submit comments should fill out a budget request form and email it to isbeFY20@isbe.net. Hearings are scheduled in Springfield on October 17 at 11 a.m., Mount Vernon on October 24 at 4 p.m., and in Chicago on November 16 at 11 a.m.

State Report Card Changes
With the new rollout of the support and accountability metrics that will be incorporated into the 2018 Illinois Report Card, ISBE is offering a number of resources to help districts prepare for the changes. Included in the materials listed on their website are research-based goals, indicators to measure success, and the “5 W’s” of the Illinois Report Card. A timeline of events is also provided, along with informative webinars, and meetings.

More importantly the new report cards are expected to reveal how well schools are meeting student needs and prompting student growth, and to give users an opportunity to share success stories attributable to the numbers. They will display, as well, how far removed each district is from adequate funding as defined in the new Evidence-Based Funding Model. To get email updates and materials from ISBE before the release of the updated information, click here.

New Evidence-Based Funding tools
Districts can access two new tools to assist with Evidence-Based Funding calculations. The Adequacy Target Gap Analysis tool will allow districts to compare their Adequacy Target and staffing levels to highlight where gaps may exist and assist with staffing decisions. The Evidence-Based Funding Data Impact Calculator lets districts adjust enrollment figures and EAV to see how the variable changes impact funding distribution.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Alliance Legislative Report 100-77

SAFETY VIDEO AVAILABLE FOR SCHOOLS

The Illinois Terrorism Task Force (ITTF) has made available to school districts a video regarding student mental health and school safety. So much has been discussed about strengthening security to school buildings and grounds – a very important issue – but there has been less conversation about increasing school safety in a preventative manner and focusing on school/student culture, climate, communication, and mental health. This presentation highlights effective programs in select school districts to address these issues. School districts are encouraged to use this video to share with students, staff, and the community at large.

This a product of the ITTF based on discussions over the past seven months of the ITTF School Safety Working Group. The working group issued best practices recommendations earlier this year and continues to meet to update these. The Alliance is an active participant of the IFFT School Safety Working Group. The recommendations and other important school safety programs can be found on the IASB website.

STATEMENT FROM THE ITTF CHAIR:
The video link will take you to an eight-minute video highlighting a couple of programs designed to provide in-school mental health assistance to students. During the course of discussions among the members of the Illinois Terrorism Task Force’s School Safety Working Group, it became apparent that both mental health professionals and school resource officers are critical parts of the school safety equation. The mental health professionals we heard from all agreed that providing those services in the school setting was the best approach because it not only eliminates the logistical issues that often prevent students from receiving the help they may need, but also can destigmatize students getting that assistance.
The program at Proviso East High School involves a partnership with Loyola University Chicago’s School of Nursing, while the program in the Metro East counties of Madison and St. Clair is a public-private partnership with Chestnut Health Systems. In both cases, the programs are offered at no charge to the school districts involved and utilize individual insurance and/or state Medicare to make the services free to the families of the children receiving the services.
The contact information for those involved in running these programs is included at the end of the video, and these individuals have expressed a willingness to answer any questions you might have regarding how to operate the programs.
This video is not intended to promote any individual service provider, but rather is intended to provide information about some ways programs like these can be implemented in school districts.
Thank you.

Mike Chamness
Chair
Illinois Terrorism Task Force

Monday, October 1, 2018

$100M in federal grants awarded for rural broadband in Illinois

Many communities in rural areas throughout Illinois may finally get high-speed internet with help from nearly $100 million in new federal grants, with many schools indirectly benefiting from the build out.

The Federal Communications Commission recently awarded the funding for internet service in rural areas in Illinois. The money, to be spent over the next 10 years, derives from a fund created from fees found on phone and internet bills.

Nine companies won bids totaling $100 million over a 10-year period to serve about 32,000 locations in the state. The funding is expected to bring high-speed internet to homes and businesses in hard-to-reach areas.

A map of the winning projects can be found here.
 
The largest grant went to Wisper ISP, a Mascoutah-based firm that will get $35 million to connect nearly 9,000 new homes and businesses in southern Illinois. The grants were awarded through a reverse auction process in which they bid to provide broadband with fiber, DSL, or other technology in a specific region of the state. The winning bid was the lowest price offered by a provider.

The buildouts over the next 10 years will offer new customers high-speed internet through various technologies, including broadband, satellite, fiber optics, and dedicated service lines (DSL). People in rural areas have been underserved because it costs so much to build the infrastructure to serve those communities.

While the Federal Communications Commission says that 10 percent of Americans had no access to broadband in 2016, that number was nearly 40 percent in rural areas.

Experts said broadband becomes more expensive as it strains to reach distant and sparsely populated areas. It just takes more cable, utility poles or even cell towers to carry all those ones and zeros longer distances. Yet the costs are split between fewer people than in cities or suburbs.

That’s where the Universal Service Fund charge on most phone bills comes in. It was set up to subsidize phone service for the poor and for high-cost locales, usually rural areas. Now some of that money also goes toward internet service. For example, those taxes support the federal E-Rate program to subsidize internet costs for schools and libraries. Beginning in 2013, another portion was diverted into the Connect America Fund to be spent on information infrastructure in places where it was lacking.

Although the winning companies receiving these new Connect America Fund grants have 10 years to complete the projects, under terms of the grants the firms must bring service to at least 40 percent of the new customers within three years.