Monday, November 30, 2015

Video: Eddy, Dal Santo on Fox 32 Sunday

FOX 32 Sunday sits down with IARSS's Patricia Dal Santo and IASB's Roger Eddy to discuss schools and report cards for school districts.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

JAC photo booth results available

Conference attendees who stopped by for a free photo at the IASB Photo Booth located in the exhibit hall can view, download, and share their photos now. Click here to access you photos. You may need to log in through Facebook or create an account to view the photos.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Call for Proposals posted
for 2016 Conference

The 2015 Joint Annual Conference is a fresh memory, but it is not too early to begin thinking about the 2016 Conference. School districts and related education organizations are being invited now to submit their proposals for “Share the Success” panel presentations.
Districts interested in sharing their success stories at the 2016 Joint Annual Conference are invited to submit proposals online now. Districts can also download a PDF version of the RFP form and submit by mail or fax. All proposals are due by February 12, 2016.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Positions change on IASB Board

The IASB Board of Directors held a reorganizational meeting on Sunday, November 22, and elected a new treasurer and four new members to the executive committee. It was also the final meeting for the past president and one director, who is leaving his local board of education.

Tom Neeley, director of the Central Illinois Valley division, is the new IASB Treasurer, replacing Dale Hansen, who concluded his second term. Neeley has served on the Morton CUSD 709 board of education for 26 years and the IASB Board of Directors for eight years, including service on the finance and executive committees.

Elected to the Executive Committee were directors Roger Pfister (Shawnee Division), Lisa Weitzel (Abe Lincoln), Mark Harms (Corn Belt), and Simon Kampwerth (Starved Rock). They will join new IASB President Phil Pritzker, Vice President Joanne Osmond, Treasurer Neeley, and Past President Karen Fisher. IASB Executive Director Roger Eddy is an ex-officio member.

Attending their final meetings were Past President Carolyne Brooks and Jesse Ruiz, who represents the Chicago CPS 299 Board of Education. Ruiz, who previously served as chairman of the Illinois State Board of Education, has been appointed by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel as president of the Board of Commissioners for the Chicago Park District.

Brooks, who served two years as IASB Vice President and two years as President, also serves on the Richland County CUSD 1 Board of Education.

The IASB Board of Directors meets quarterly and is the policy-making body for the school board association.



Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Delegate Assembly sets legislative priorities, elects new officers

The 2015 Illinois Association of School Boards Delegate Assembly approved two new resolutions and reaffirmed two existing position statements. Delegates added position statements addressing the hospital charitable tax exemption and the sale of student-constructed homes.

In addition to setting legislative priorities, IASB delegates voted to elect a new president and vice president. Phil Pritzker, who serves on the Wheeling CCSD 21 school board, becomes president and Joanne Osmond, a member of the Lake Villa elementary school board, is the new vice president. Both will serve one-year terms.

Representatives from 371 Illinois school districts considered resolutions on public school issues at the annual Delegate Assembly, held November 21 in Chicago as part of the 2015 Joint Annual Conference.

Click here to read the full report from the 2015 Delegate Assembly

Survey: Share your thoughts
on the 2015 Joint Annual Conference

2015 Joint Annual Conference attendees have the opportunity to help IASB improve future conference programming by completing an online survey. The survey is available until December 31, 2015.

Click here to access the survey.

 There are two sections and a total of 35 questions on this survey. Section I deals with the overall conference experience, including registration, housing, conference facilities, and the exhibit hall. Section II asks opinions about specific conference sessions and activities.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Cyber Blowout: Deep discounts offered on elective online courses

IASB will be slashing prices on five elective course offerings available through the Online Learning Center. The five courses will be discounted 50 percent from the IASB member’s price, beginning Nov. 20.

This “Cyber Blowout” sale will last through Dec. 17. The discounted courses and their adjusted prices are as follows:
  • Bullying Prevention: The Board’s Role, $50, $25
  • Superintendent Evaluation, $100, $50
  • Introduction to Parliamentary Procedure, $75, $37.50
  • Media Relations, $75, $37.50
  • School District Labor Relations: What Illinois Law Requires, $100, $50
Cyber Blowout discounts will be offered to everyone who registers for the included courses. Standard pricing will resume on Dec. 18. Not included in the discounts are mandatory training courses (OMA, PDLT/PERA, and PERA).

Descriptions of all Online Learning Center course options and registration information is available here.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

2015 Conference Planner available

The online Conference Planner is now available for those planning to attend the 2015 Joint Annual Conference, November 20-22. By accessing the planner, participants can view all Conference events and choose from the many options to create a personal conference agenda.

The Conference Planner is located in the secure Members-Only section of the IASB website and is available to board members, superintendents, and board secretaries with a seven-digit Member ID number. This Member ID appears on the mailing label of all materials sent to IASB members, and begins with the number ‘2.’

To access the Conference Planner:
  1. Click here to reach the Members Only website.
  2. Log in to Members-Only with your seven-digit Member ID number.
  3. Select the red “Annual Conference” tab.
  4. Click the link under “2015 Conference Schedule Planner.”
There you will find the Conference Planner, along with further instructions for completing your personal agenda.

Accessing the Conference Planner will allow the user to view all conference events by event 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 of event, and room name. Multiple events may be chosen for each time slot.

After completing a personal agenda for the Conference, it is easy to bring it along by downloading and printing it, or by downloading and saving it to a smartphone, tablet, or other device.

Originally posted November 4, 2015/Updated November 17, 2015

Friday, November 13, 2015

School Board Members Day honors “Everyday Heroes”

As political rhetoric dominates headlines and morning coffee conversations, this might be the perfect time to look to a group of public servants who diligently perform their duties in the face of difficult times.

November 15 is “School Board Members Day” in the state of Illinois. This day of recognition was set by legislative action in 2007. That proclamation stated that “school board members…sit in trust for their diverse communities, meeting their communities’ expectations and aspirations for the public education of their children. School board members selflessly donate countless hours to public service with no compensation…providing leadership that sets high standards for the education of all students.”

Roger Eddy, IASB
The end of the proclamation also refers to school board members as “the front line of American democracy.” Local school boards are the citizen’s direct voice in local public education policy, chosen to represent what the community wants and is willing to support.

Quality public education is vital to the well-being of the community, regardless of size or location. Jobs, public safety, housing, health care, and much more are impacted and influenced by the local education system. Whether or not you have a child in school, school board members need your support. The decisions made on behalf of the school district, its staff, and students are most effective when citizens can agree on what is best for all children.

Today, nearly 6,000 men and women serve on 859 local school boards. Together, these individuals guide the education of more than 2 million students in 3,764 Illinois schools. Your district – whether it teaches a few hundred or several thousand school children – relies on your school board to set the mission, vision, and goals so that every student has the best chance possible to succeed.

School board members are your neighbors, friends, and colleagues, i.e., everyday people who truly are “Everyday Heroes” for taking on this extraordinary duty – not for a paycheck or notoriety – but for the satisfaction of seeing all children excel through education.

On November 15, I ask that you honor and thank these selfless individuals for their public service to your community, your schools, and your children.

Roger Eddy, Executive Director,
Illinois Association of School Boards

This letter was sent to editorial departments of media outlets across Illinois. For more information, visit

Alliance Legislative Report (99-35)

Both the Illinois House of Representatives and Senate met in session on Tuesday in what could be their last meeting of the year. With the State half-way through the fifth month of an historic budget stalemate, there is still no fiscal agreement and lawmakers may not be returning to work until after the first of the year.

There have been bright spots over the past two weeks. Governor Bruce Rauner and the four legislative leaders have agreed to meet in an effort to jumpstart budget negotiations; this could happen next week.

Reportedly there is an agreement on one of the auxiliary issues (unemployment insurance) and a budget bill was approved nearly unanimously.

As reported in the last Alliance Legislative Report, bills were approved last month to delay the implementation dates for the new laws regarding Civics education and student-athlete concussions. HB 800 (Conroy, D-Downers Grove), the trailer bill regarding Civics education, has yet to be sent to the Governor for consideration. The House of Representatives has 30 days to send the bill to the Governor.

SB 219 (Raoul, D-Chicago) is the trailer bill regarding student-athlete concussions. SB 219 was sent to the Governor on October 30, 2015. The Governor has 60 days to take action. The Alliance has contacted the Governor’s office requesting that this action be expedited

Click here to read the entire Alliance Legislative Report (99-35), including information about the legislative panels at the Joint Annual Conference.

Orientation session helps first-timers choose conference options

Anyone who has never attended the Joint Annual Conference could easily be overwhelmed at first sight by the hundreds of events and dozens of locations. But fear not; there’s a panel for that.

For those arriving late Thursday or early Friday, the first “Welcome to Conference” panel will be held at 11 a.m., Friday, Nov. 20. The second panel is scheduled to accommodate those arriving late Friday. It will begin at 7:30 a.m., Saturday, Nov. 21.

Attendees will preview the Conference program and familiarize themselves with ways to choose the topics, schedules, and venues that fit their interests and schedules. They will also learn how to navigate the various Conference hotels and presentation rooms.

An overview of many of the Conference features will be discussed. Some of the more popular events include the 99 panel sessions, Exhibit Hall, Conference bookstore and author signings, the IASB Information Room, Carousel of Panels, Delegate Assembly, and the three General Sessions and keynote speakers.

The panels will also cover two new Conference features: Learning Labs and IASB Mini-Clinics. Both will provide registrants with additional professional development options that they can fit into their crowded schedule.

First-time Conference registrants are urged to consult the Conference Preview for more information about the orientation sessions and the rest of the three-day conference. IASB also has an online schedule planner available on its Members Only site to aid in Conference planning.

More information about Conference news, events, and activities can be found on the Joint Annual Conference webpage, the IASB Facebook page, and Twitter account.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

School office legal reference updated

The second edition of Illinois Law in the School Office has been completely updated and revised to help school office personnel and administrators quickly and accurately handle day-to-day legal matters.

Significant legal topics are discussed from a practical perspective. Frequently asked questions are addressed in a clear and concise manner. Supplemental materials include commonly used legal forms, practitioner checklists and legal references.

Chapters include: Understanding the Law; The School Office: The First Line of Contact; Compulsory Attendance, Residency, Enrollment and Withdrawal; Safeguarding and Maintaining Student Records; School Safety and Student Welfare; Managing Student Medical Needs and Medications; Immunizations, Health, Dental and Vision Requirements; Special Student Populations; Handling Money and Student School Account Management; Transportation and Related Issues; and Employment Issues and Rights.

The newest edition updates the original version written by Brian D. Schwartz and Scott L. Day. The 197-page book sells for $24.95 and is available in the IASB Online Bookstore. It will also be available at the 2015 Joint Annual Conference bookstore, where the authors will be available to meet guests and sign the book.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

NSBA advocacy participants
to lobby Congress

School board members will have the opportunity to join their peers from across the country at the National School Boards Association’s (NSBA) Advocacy Institute in Washington, D.C., Jan. 24-27, 2016.

The Advocacy Institute includes nationally recognized speakers, sessions designed for more interaction rather than only lecture-style presentations, and substantial programming for information and skill building around public advocacy. The Institute ends with a day on Capitol Hill where attendees have the opportunity to lobby their own members of Congress.

IASB Director of Governmental Relations Susan Hilton said additional information is forthcoming, “but anyone who may be interested should stop by the IASB Legislative Booth next to the main registration area at Joint Annual Conference to discuss this event and participation in our federal advocacy program.”

The legislative booth will be open each day during the Chicago Conference’s regular hours in the Grand Ballroom Foyer, Hyatt East Tower.

Registration is available on the NSBA Website.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

NAEP scores stagnate after sustained growth

The latest nationwide math and reading test results derived from the National Assessment of Educational Progress fourth- and eighth-grade exams are disappointing after long-sustained growth, experts say. Like the national results, scores for Illinois students on the NAEP remained flat across all grades and subjects between 2015 and the last such test in 2013.

Illinois was one of 19 states showing no notable difference in math scores and one of 31 states with no improvement in reading scores. The latest state and national scores were released on Oct. 28, 2015.

Specifically, the average math score of fourth-grade public school students in Illinois this year was 237, compared to the average score of 240 nationwide. At the eighth-grade level, the average math score in Illinois was 282, compared to the average score of 281 nationally.

In fact, no state made any significant improvement in eighth-grade math and only Mississippi schools made modest gains for fourth-grade math. Of the 20 large school districts that participated in NAEP in both 2013 and 2015, only Chicago improved for eighth-grade math results.

When it came to reading, West Virginia was the lone state improving at the eighth-grade level from 2013 to 2015. In fourth grade reading, 11 states made significant gains. Miami-Dade, Fla., was the only district to post significant reading gains at the eighth-grade level while Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, and Washington, DC made gains in fourth-grade results.

Departing U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan recently blamed early implementation concerns and shifts in demographics and economics as likely reasons for the stagnating scores. The results were labeled a “fiasco” by education critic Diane Ravitch, joining with many who see them as evidence that federal education policies have long been counterproductive.

“The results do seem to indicate that the top-down, federal mandated improvement programs of the past decade-plus have not yielded especially impressive results,” added IASB Executive Director Roger Eddy. “However, we should never use one set of measures to indicate a student’s or a schools’ performance; a method using multiple measures is the best way for our schools to improve for all students.”

Long-sustained growth
While this year’s NAEP results are disheartening, other experts agree that one data point does not make a trend. NAEP scores have steadily increased over the past 25 years. In fact, since the year 2000, eighth-graders have improved their math performance by 9 points—nearly a year’s worth of learning.

The long-term upward trend in Illinois scores mirrors the sustained improvement in national scores. The state’s eighth-graders in 2015 scored nine points higher in math than those in 2000, which equates to nearly one year’s worth of learning. So while scores stagnated in 2015, it does not mean the state’s public schools are becoming less effective, as the larger trend shows steady gains over the past decade.

This also does not mean the 2015 NAEP results should be ignored, either. By examining NAEP scores along with other measures of school quality, educators can make more informed decisions on what is needed to support public schools.

“Like any assessment used properly, educators should include NAEP results as one element of measuring student achievement and one indicator of success in a well-balanced assessment regimen that is used to plan improvement in instruction and student learning,” said Eddy.

The full report is online.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Still time to register for Conference activities; filling up fast

With less than two weeks remaining until the 83rd Joint Annual Conference, there is still time to secure registration for the upcoming event and related professional development opportunities.

Conference Registration
Conference registrations will be accepted at the IASB office until Friday, November 6. Any registrations completed after that date will need to be made on-site at the main Conference registration desk at the Hyatt Regency on Friday, November 20, or Saturday, November 21. Those who wish to register on-site at the Conference can print and fill out the forms ahead of time, or complete their information at the registration desk upon arrival.

Any changes to registration information or Conference badges will also need to be made at the main registration desk.

Conference Housing
Housing available through IASB and at Joint Annual Conference rates is now sold-out. Rooms at the various Conference hotels can still be obtained, however, but attendees will need to contact the individual hotels directly to secure accommodations. Information to assist in this process is available on the Conference webpage.

Pre-Conference Workshops
Four Pre-Conference Workshop opportunities are still available for registration, but spots are filling up fast. Two full-day workshops, The Basics of Governance and Professional Development Leadership Training (PDLT) and Performance Evaluation Reform Act (PERA) Training for School Board Members, still have openings. Registration also remains open for the afternoon (p.m.) sessions of Closing the Gaps: Between What Sounds Good and What Gets Done, and Social Media Primer: Everything You Need to Know about Today’s Social Media Channels. All Pre-Conference Workshops will take place on Friday, November 20 at the Sheraton Chicago Hotel.

Chicago Schools Tours
For the past 44 years, Conference attendees have had the opportunity to visit a Chicago school. This year the Chicago Board of Education has opened the doors to four unique learning environments to offer tours for school leaders. Two high schools and two elementary schools spanning a variety of neighborhoods will showcase how they are educating children to become exemplary leaders. Limited slots remain for all four participating schools. Click here to register for the Friday morning Chicago Schools Tours featuring Skinner West Elementary School, Chávez Multicultural Language Academy, Alcott College Prep High School (West Campus), and DeVry University Advantage Academy.

Follow Conference on Twitter
For the second year, the Joint Annual Conference will be using the IASB Twitter account to improve communication and share news and updates with Conference attendees. #ILjac15 will be the official Conference hashtag. Please share your Conference experiences, stories, advice and tips, notable quotes, and Conference-related photos on Twitter using the hashtag.

The interactive conversation that takes place is a great way to find new Conference features and communicate with like-minded education officials in attendance. It is also a useful resource to view exhibitor’s products and services, and find out what promotional giveaways may be taking place.

IASB will be live-tweeting a number of Conference events and activities leading up to and throughout the weekend via the Association’s Twitter account, @ILschoolboards.

Room Venue Alert
Both the Hyatt and Sheraton Hotels are holding sessions in their respective Michigan rooms. Please note the hotel location and plan accordingly.

Professional Development Clock Hours Available
Licensed Illinois educators who are either registered conference attendees (board members) or registered guests of attendees are able to receive nine Professional Development Clock Hours for their participation in the 2015 Joint Annual Conference. There is no cost to registered attendees; however, there is a $50 handling charge for non-board members. Participants will need their IEIN number to sign the attendance roster. See the Hyatt Conference desk for further information.

Professional Development Leadership Training for Board Members
Members still needing to complete their mandated training requirements may do so at a Pre-Conference Workshop at the Sheraton, Friday, November 20 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. This is the only opportunity to complete this requirement at the conference. If not currently registered, please arrive in order to check for availability. Space is limited and additional registration fee is required. Alternatively, IASB’s Online Learning Center is always available to meet this requirement.

Master Board Member status recognized for 441 leaders

IASB handed out Master Board Member awards to 441 dedicated school board members at division dinner meetings this fall. Board members received awards for reaching Level I (79 award winners) and/or Level II (74 winners), both awards that precede the Master Board Member status.

A total of 58 individual school board members achieved Master Board Member status for the first time, and 230 were recognized for maintaining their status.

Now in its 16th year, the awards program is designed to recognize board members for the time and effort they devote to self-improvement and leadership activities in various IASB and/or NSBA activities within and beyond their local districts.

As in past years, each of these activities was assigned Master Board Member credits, depending upon the time commitment involved. Credits are cumulative and individuals are recognized at different milestones as they acquire the points.

Participation in the program is self-reported by board members at the end of each school year. Members should look to the spring of 2016 for their next opportunity to participate. In the meantime, relevant activities and points can be viewed at IASB’s Members-Only website.

Friday, November 6, 2015

ISBE School Security Task Force
announces public hearings

An Illinois State Board of Education task force on school security is seeking public feedback to guide school security standards.

According to a November 4 press release, ISBE's School Security and Standards Task Force is asking community members to share input on school safety issues during a series of public hearings. This feedback will help guide its recommendations to the General Assembly, the Governor, and ISBE.

Public Act 98-695 created the task force within ISBE to research school security in the state and to draft minimum standards for schools to use to provide a safer learning environment for the children of Illinois. By law, the task force must “receive reports and testimony from individuals, school district superintendents, principals, teachers, security experts, architects, engineers, and the law enforcement community.”

The task force has a deadline of January 1, 2016, to submit recommendations for changes to the current law to the General Assembly and the Governor. The task force must submit recommendations for model security plan policies to ISBE by July 1, 2016.

For more information about the task force, visit

The public hearings will take place at the following times and locations:
  • November 10, 6 p.m. in Lisle – Universal Technical Institute, 2611 Corporate West Drive
  • November 12, 6 p.m. in Springfield – Illinois Association of School Boards office, 2921 Baker Drive 
  • December 2, 6 p.m. in  Carterville – John A. Logan College, Building H, Room 127
Those who are unable to attend the hearings may send their thoughts and recommendations to

Monday, November 2, 2015

Highlights in the November/December Journal

The November/December issue of The Illinois School Board Journal features a conversation about choice, a concept that can be misunderstood, with critical consequences. IASB Executive Director Roger Eddy shares his thoughts on the research, the complexities, and the future of “choice” in the public education sphere.

Also in this issue, three school districts – LeRoy, Cairo, and Wheaton Warrenville – have developed community engagement programs, and IASB offers further education in this important work. In addition, Arlington Heights-based THSD 214 shares its comprehensive plan for engaging the community with a centennial celebration.

The full digital version of the November/December Journal also includes an article about high-stakes testing – mandatory, necessary, and otherwise – in an article by Steve Cordogan. The Journal also includes a report by Steven Baule featuring Illinois school districts' responses to a 1:1 technology survey.

Look for the Journal in your mailbox, or click here to read the full digital version.

Registration opens
for 2016 NSBA Conference

Registration is open for the 2016 NSBA Annual Conference and Exposition in Boston, scheduled for April 9-11, 2016.

Billed as “The Conference for Public Education Leaders,” the NSBA event is “the one national event that brings together education leaders at a time when domestic policies and global trends are combining to shape the future of our students.” Boston’s place in American history is reflected in the conference’s goals to “REVOLUTIONIZE Board Leadership,” “STRENGTHEN Community Engagement,” CHAMPION Student Achievement,” and “DECLARE Excellence in Public Education.”

Featured tracks include the following:
  • Advocacy
  • Governance and Executive Leadership
  • Innovations in District Management
  • Master Class
  • New School Board Member Workshops
  • School Board/Superintendent Partnerships
  • Student Achievement and Accountability
  • Study Halls
  • Technology + Learning Solutions
Keynote speakers for 2016 include former broadcast journalist Dan Rather; Good Morning America co-anchor Robin Roberts; and Tony Wagner, “Expert in Excellence” at Harvard University’s Innovation Lab.

2016 NSBA Annual Conference and Exposition information is now available.

Registration is available online.