Sunday, July 31, 2016

Registration open for Pre-Conference Workshops

The 2016 Joint Annual Conference will offer nine Pre-Conference Workshops on Friday, Nov. 18. Presenters include IASB staff and guest speakers. All of the events, which require conference registration and a separate fee, will be held at the Sheraton Grand Hotel.

This year’s lineup includes the following full-day workshops:
  • The Basics of Governance
  • Leading Leaders: The Job of Board President
  • Professional Development Leadership Trainings (PDLT) and Performance Evaluation Reform Act (PERA) Training for School Board Members
  • Myers-Briggs Type Indicator
  • Connecting with the Community: The Board’s Role and Work in Community Engagement
  • Introduction to Collective Bargaining for School Board Members and Administrators
And these half-day workshops
  • The Board and its Superintendent: Developing and Maintaining an Effective Relationship (a.m. only)
  • School Finance for Board Members: Topics and Trends (a.m. or p.m.)
  • A Courageous Conversation about Race and its Impact on Achieving Equity in Schools (a.m. or p.m.)
All workshops are a part of the IASB LeaderShop Academy program. Fees for full-day workshops are $280 and include breakfast, lunch, and workshop materials. Half-day workshops cost $140, and include breakfast or lunch. Additional details can be found online.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

New travel expenditure requirements
for school board members

Beginning Jan. 1, 2017, school board members will be under new regulations regarding travel expenses. A new law will require school districts, community colleges, and all other local units of government to adopt a resolution that regulates the reimbursement of all travel, meal, and lodging expenses of officers and employees.

The Local Government Travel Expense Control Act was signed by Governor Bruce Rauner on July 22, 2016 as Public Act 99-604 (formerly HB 4379) and is effective on Jan. 1, 2017. The full text can be found here.

The Act requires school districts to adopt a policy to regulate travel, meal, and lodging expenses of officers and employees, including: the types of official business for which the expenses are allowable, maximum allowable reimbursements, and a standardized form for submission of expenses. It requires that such expenses of school board members be approved by roll call vote in an open meeting and that documentation be received in writing.

In PRESS Issue 93 this fall, IASB will update policy 2:125, Board Member Expenses, as well as any other policies affected by the Act. This will provide districts with sufficient time to review the policy updates and have revised policies in place by the Jan. 1 effective date.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the IASB Office of General Counsel at 630/629-3776, ext. 1219.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Governance Recognition deadline nears

The Aug. 3 deadline is fast approaching for boards to file an application in IASB’s School Board Governance Recognition program, which recognizes boards that learn and practice effective governance.

Boards that meet the requirements receive awards at upcoming fall division meetings for practicing the governance behaviors identified in the Association’s Foundational Principles of Effective Governance, and for participating in IASB programs and activities. The program’s main focus is on full board development and participation rather than individual board member efforts.

An application form and checklist on completing it are now available for download here. Additional information and details can also be found in an online tutorial video.

Application forms can be obtained here; a YouTube online tutorial video offers details.
 Questions about the School Board Governance Recognition program should be directed to Peggy Goone at extension 1103 or by email at:

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

IASB improves member services
with new member database system

As part of our continuing effort to offer premier membership service and value, the Illinois Association of School Boards has developed a new member database system.

Most association members, superintendents and school board secretaries will have received, via email and/or postal mail, a letter with guidelines on using the new system. Click here for resources to assist individuals with navigating and using the new database. The guidance includes tutorial videos, step-by-step instructions, illustrated guides, and FAQ documents and will be update as needed.

The purpose of the new member database system is to provide board members, school officials, school districts, and others with the resources, tools, and functionality to effectively transact and monitor how they do business with the Association.

The new system will allow district administrators (district staff with the designated authority) to update the district’s contact information, website address, as well as staff and board member information. It will also facilitate event registration, various purchases, and payment of invoices and other transactions.

The new database aims to streamline operations, engage members, and develop and deliver services that enhance the member experience. It offers a single sign-in (or log-in) process to allow access to a range of new functions, while still providing the services members have become accustomed too.

The new database system will allow members to do the following:
  • Create and access their membership profiles;
  • Update their profile and contact information;
  • Access PRESS policy reference subscriptions;
  • Monitor and submit Master Board Member points;
  • Monitor and submit LeaderShop Academy credits;
  • Purchase items from the IASB online bookstore; and
  • Register for events, workshops, meetings, and other educational activities.
As IASB moves from old association management system to new, we are working to make this transition as smooth as possible for our member districts, as well as others who utilize IASB services.

Again, here's the link for online resources. Those needing additional assistance should contact IASB at 217/528-9688, ext. 1100.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Carousel of Panels offers variety of Conference presentations

School officials can join their colleagues to benefit from a wide assortment of presentations at this year’s Carousel of Panels on Saturday, Nov. 19 at the IASB, IASA, and Illinois ASBO Joint Annual Conference.

Thirty-three presentations will be offered simultaneously in one room over a one-hour and 45-minute period. Board members, superintendents, and other Conference attendees will be able to choose to participate in three different panels of 30 minutes each. The event will be held from 1:30 to 3:15 p.m. in Sheraton 4 & 5, Ballroom Level IV, at the Sheraton Grand Chicago hotel.

The Carousel of Panels will include the following topics (panel titles are not final and may differ from these topics), and presenters:

  • Multi-School Bus Bids: Save Student Time and District Money — Zukowski Law Offices
  • 1:1 Devices: Zero to 4000 at Warp Speed — Central CUSD 301
  • Performance Contracting RFPs: An Alternative Approach — Oak Lawn-Hometown SD 123
  • Libraries as the 21st Century Hub for Student Learning — Huntley CSD 158
  • A Journey Towards Trauma-Informed Schools — Calumet SD 132
  • Visibility Matters! Contributing to a Positive Climate! — Manteno CUSD 5
  • Thriving with Community Eligibility Program Breakfast — Beach Park SD 3
  • Do You Know the Status of Your School Facilities? Conducting Facility Audits — Eastern Illinois University/FGM Architects, Inc.
  • How to Transform Learning Centers into STEM Hubs of Learning — McHenry CCSD 15
  • Integrating Adaptive Life Skills in the School & Community — Flanagan-Cornell UD 74
  • Building a Gold Circle of Quality Early Childhood Program — Mannheim SD 83
  • Partnering with Purpose: A Pathway to Trust — Oak Lawn-Hometown SD 123
  • Why Data Privacy Matters: Guarding Against Unwanted Intruders — Dykema Gossett PLLC
  • Enhancing Superintendent/Board Relations — Eastern Illinois University
  • External Partnerships to Expand Student Experience — Huntley CSD 158
  • #FutureReadyLearning — Homer CCSD 33C
  • Innovative Approach to Collaborative Goal Setting — CHSD 230
  • Rethinking RtI: Sustaining Implementation for Success! — Manteno CUSD 5
  • Research on Redesigning Principal Preparation in Illinois — Illinois Education Research Council & University of Chicago Consortium on School Research
  • Top School Construction Problems and Solutions — Robbins Schwartz
  • Authentic Perspectives: Parents of Black Children on Schools — Eastern Illinois University
  • Supporting Student Success Through Effective Community Relations — McLean Co. Unit District 5/Champaign CUSD 4
  • Building Collaborative Relationships with Your Union! — Manteno CUSD 5
  • Boosting Student Growth with GRR and Cooperative Learning! — Woodridge SD 68
  • Going Open: Our Path to Open Educational Resources — Northern Illinois University
  • Personalized Professional Learning for All Staff — CCSD 93
  • Activating Young People to Create Inclusive Opportunities — Special Olympics Illinois
  • School Greenhouses and Gardens Add Value to Communities — Waterloo CUSD 5
  • Empowering Student and Community with Workplace Readiness — Oak Lawn-Hometown SD 123
  • Unilateral Implementation of a CBA: Retroactive Compensation — Country Club Hills SD 160
  • Collaborative Initiatives for College/Career Readiness: IRISE and Beyond — CEC/IRISE/Partner Institutions of Higher Ed
  • Restorative Justice: How to Apply SB 100 Effectively — Hauser Izzo, LLC
  • Leadership Practices Inventory: The Leadership Challenge — Eastern Illinois University

Additional information and other Conference updates will be made available on the IASB website, School Board News Blog, and the Association Twitter account.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

ISBE Briefs

Streamlined assessment system announced
ISBE announced July 11 it will provide the College Board’s SAT exam, including a writing component, at no cost to all public high school juniors during the coming 2016-2017 school year. The SAT will replace the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) as the high school accountability exam in Illinois; students in grades 3-8 will continue to take the PARCC assessment.

Like the SAT, the PARCC assessment is aligned with the Illinois Learning Standards. Its results provide educators with data that may be used to provide individualized supports to students while preparing them for mastery of the state standards.

“The SAT is also aligned with the Illinois Learning Standards and will continue to empower educators to measure college and career readiness,” said State Superintendent of Education Tony Smith.

The SAT will serve as the state assessment for purposes of both state and federal accountability, and will be offered to students during the school day. The SAT provides a college-reportable score for admissions purposes.

For more information, click here.

Increased school funding approved for 2016-2017 school year
The preK-12 state education budget passed by lawmakers and signed by the governor will provide approximately $361 million in new funds to Illinois schools for the 2016-2017 school year. Every district will see more funding from the state than they received in FY 2016. In his July 6 “Weekly Message,” State Superintendent Smith said that while the passage of an education budget was an important step, he also indicated that there is more work to be done “to provide equitable opportunity and access for all children.”

To view a complete breakdown of state allocations by district, click here.

Grant web-portal for school districts now available

Due to the new Grant Accountability and Transparency Act (GATA) the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) has provided a prequalification registration portal that is available online. In order to receive state grants that will be available in fiscal year 2017, all grantees will need to complete the prequalification registration process.

ISBE staff will review the registrations and decide if the applicant meets the necessary qualifications. Grantees will receive an email from ISBE once the registration is submitted and will also be notified of any deficiencies detected that can be fixed. Once approved, grantees will be notified by email that their district is in “good standing.” The prequalification registration will only need to be completed once each year.

In addition to the pre-qualification registration, those that receive grant funds from ISBE must submit a Program Risk Assessment Questionnaire and a Fiscal Internal Control Questionnaire. The Risk Assessment Questionnaire can be accessed through the IWAS portal, while Internal Control Questionnaire will be emailed to grantees after the prequalification registration is complete.

English Learners

ISBE recently held the Statewide Summit for Bilingual Parents in Oak Brook, IL. More than 1,000 parents and educators from across the state gathered to share their experiences of improved educational outcomes from English Learners (ELs). The event featured fifty-five workshops that were interpreted in eight languages.

With the continued growth of ELs within the Illinois school system, ISBE is working to develop additional resources for schools to accommodate changing demographics. The recently completed “Equitable Access to Educational Excellence: Framing Services for English Learning in Illinois” is intended to assists districts in developing effective, researched-based services for K-12 English Learners.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Gov. Rauner announces creation
of education funding reform commission

‘Everything is on the table’
Governor Bruce Rauner on Tuesday announced the formation of a state commission to reform the public school funding formula in Illinois.

The bipartisan Illinois School Funding Reform Commission will be chaired by Illinois Secretary of Education Beth Purvis. Each legislative caucus will appoint five members to the commission, and the governor will make five additional appointees. Rev. James Meeks, chair of the Illinois State Board of Education, will be a facilitator for the commission and a liaison to ISBE.

The roster of individuals serving on the commission was not announced at Tuesday's Chicago press conference. [July 13 update] The list of appointees to the Illinois School Funding Reform Commission is below.

The commission will have a goal of presenting funding reform recommendations by February 1, 2017, in order to draft legislation for the spring session to take effect for Fiscal Year 2018.

“I am optimistic that we can come to some good conclusions,” said Rauner, who noted the gap of per-pupil spending between wealthy and poor districts, and that the United States is “losing the race” on education.

“We have to win this race,” he said.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Waiver deadline nears

In order for Illinois School Code waiver applications to be decided this fall, school districts generally must get them postmarked and mailed to the state by Aug. 12. Specifically, applications must be sent to the Illinois State Board of Education to be included in the fall 2016 waiver report that is to be submitted to the legislature by Oct. 1.

There are exceptions, however: Applications for modifications of the School Code, or for waivers or modifications of the state board’s administrative rules, are not subject to the Aug. 12 deadline. In all cases, however, the process for applying is the same, and approvals must be granted before the waivers can be implemented.

Waivers can be sought to modify state mandates and regulations if the school district shows it can meet the intent in a better way, but waivers are not allowed on special education, eligibility of voters in school elections, teacher tenure, or certification or seniority.

Shown are the most commonly listed topics among the 6,320 waiver requests the state
 has granted since waivers were first allowed in 1995. Just 658 were not approved.

Before starting the state waiver process, each applicant should carefully review requirements outlined in the “Overview for Waiver Process.”

Applications and instructions are available now. Questions can be directed to ISBE’s Rules and Waivers Division at (217) 782-5270 or email

For more information see this page on ISBE's website.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

News from IASB

Check your mailbox, inbox
In the next few weeks, all IASB members will be receiving postal mail and an email regarding the Association's new database management system. Please take a look at these mailings for important information about your membership.

EEE deadline approaching
School districts and design professionals are invited to enter the 2016 Exhibition of Educational Environments, an annual juried awards program sponsored by the IASB Service Associates to recognize outstanding design of public school facilities used for instructional, recreational, administrative, or other purposes. The deadline for entries is July 15. Click here to read more.

Summer office closings
IASB offices in Springfield and Lombard will be closed on four days in July in observance of the Association’s summer schedule and the national holiday. Both offices were closed Friday, July 1, and Monday, July 4, and both will be closed on the upcoming two Fridays: July 8 and 15.

Holly Jack Award nominating forms available
Applications for the 2016 Holly Jack Outstanding Service Award are available. School districts are encouraged to nominate individuals who dedicate their time and effort performing the work of the board secretary. Application forms must be signed by the board president and superintendent and submitted by Sep. 30. Click here for the nomination form and additional information on the required qualifying criteria.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Symposium focuses on organizational health

Starting with “smart vs. healthy,” a group of IASB members enjoyed a presentation on organizational health at the seventh biennial LeaderShop Academy Symposium, held June 18 in Lisle. This invitation-only event was for members of IASB’s LeaderShop Academy, which promotes and recognizes board members’ efforts toward continuous learning and professional development.

“The Advantage of Organizational Health” was an engaging and encouraging seminar led by Keith Hadley, a principal consultant of The Table Group.

Hadley described how smart and healthy are both requirements for success. However, when faced with challenges, organizations tend to focus on smart – which includes strategy, technology, finance, and marketing – and overlook the importance of health – minimizing politics, confusion, and turnover; and maximizing morale and productivity.

Keith Hadley led the seminar on organizational health.
“I don’t know anyone who isn’t smart,” Hadley said. “When there are problems in an organization, it’s never a matter of smart. It’s a matter of health. And even when we know it’s health, we double down on smart.”

“The Advantage of Organizational Health” is based on the book The Advantage: Why Organizational Health Trumps Everything Else in Business by Patrick Lencioni, a consultant in organizational health and executive team development and founder and president of The Table Group, a management-consulting firm specializing in organizational health. Its name comes from the idea that, according to founder Lencioni, “There is simply no substitute for people sitting down together around a table to resolve the critical issues around their business, whether those issues relate to operations, strategy or teamwork.”

Monday, July 4, 2016

Opinions on Education

The following are editorials, commentaries, and opinions from various sources regarding public education, collected in June 2016. Comments and opinions of websites linked from this page do not necessarily represent the opinions of the Illinois Association of School Boards.

Editorial: A budget emergency looms in Illinois
Editorial Board, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, June 1

Column: Is your school district keeping new teachers' contract secret?
Jake Griffin, Daily Herald, Chicago suburbs, June 1

Talking Points: Consolidation could be school fix we need
Jim French, Ottawa Times, June 1

Freeport Superintendent's View: Schools will feel effects
of state budget stalemate
Mike Schiffman, superintendent, Freeport SD 145, Journal-Standard, Freeport, June 3

Editorial: Standards-based grading gets an 'F' from old-school parents
Editorial Board, Chicago Tribune, June 6