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.