Blogs

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On August 1, 2018, Governor Rauner signed “Ashley’s Law,” which, under certain circumstances, allows for the administration of medical cannabis to students at school or on a school bus.  Specifically: The student must be a “registered qualifying patient” authorized to use medical cannabis. The individual administering the medical cannabis must be a “registered caregiver.” Medical cannabis that can be administered at school includes only “cannabis infused products,” which are limited to “food, oils, ointments, or other products containing usable cannabis that are not smoked.” After administration of the medical cannabis, it must be immediately removed ...
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Colleagues: Below is an excerpt from Dr. Smith's weekly bulletin published on July 31. There are two important changes regarding the 5Essentials survey beginning in the 2018-2019 school year:      1. The survey will be administered to students in GRADES 4 - 12 (Grades 4 and 5 are being added this year).      2. The survey must be administered annually (it was previously required biennially). Looking Forward - Click here for a link to the full bulletin. The 2018-19 survey window will go from Nov. 15, 2018, to Jan. 18, 2019. The survey has some exciting enhancements for the coming school year -- it will be possible to disaggregate data by student ...
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Colleagues: ISBE posted a new FAQ document on July 26 that provides information about the  preliminary summative designations that were sent to impacted schools ( lowest performing and under-performing)  in June. This document also provides information helpful to all Illinois leaders in preparation for Phase II designations that will be released in October. You can access the FAQ document here. The student growth calculation has moved from a linear regression model to  student growth percentiles (SGPs).  An updated video by Dr. John Gatta of the ECRA group is available for viewing here .  Several other non-substantive changes have been made as well ...
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The Principal’s Calendar is intended to help school leaders stay focused, organized, and growing. The Principal’s Calendar provides you with monthly lists of important responsibilities and legal requirements. In addition, it offers dates to remember (some just for fun) as well as critical professional development opportunities and resources. Finally, the Calendar challenges you to study and reflect on Attributes from the School Leader Paradigm - one per month. The Principal's Calendar is a benefit of membership to the Illinois Principals Association, so if you are not a member, join today!  August's Featured Attribute Generous – Is kind, understanding, ...
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My daughter plays travel softball and I take some comfort in being out of town for tournaments.  I get to "check out" as far as being the principal goes.  Nobody knows who you are in these distant lands and parents and their kids speak freely.  There are lots of times where you are just waiting for the next game to start and you sit in the stands and listen to how the kids talk and act.  This is the only time I get to be undercover and do real recon on what's current with kids.  Often these kids come from various states and they don't know me from Adam.  This season I have overheard a few conversations about cheating in class on tests or homework. ...
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96 Get the news and tools you need to advocate for your school. View this email online.     Little Engagement from ED Commission on School Safety Three months have passed since the Trump administration created a national “School Safety Commission” at the Department of Education in response to the mass shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School, but there has been little progress in that time regarding the development of real solutions to the violence. Meanwhile, there have been seven more school shootings, ...
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Governor Bruce Rauner signed the Fiscal Year 2019 State budget into law on Monday. In a rare display of bipartisanship, the Illinois General Assembly approved a full year State budget – balanced and on time – on May 31. Details of the spending plan were contained in the last Alliance Legislative Report . Surrounded by legislators from both parties and from both chambers, the Governor presided over a bill signing ceremony in the James R. Thompson Center in downtown Chicago. Lawmakers are not slated to return to the Capitol until after the General Election in November. HB 109 , the appropriations bill, is now Public Act 100-0586. HB 3342 , the Budget ...
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After approving a Fiscal Year 2019 State budget, the Illinois General Assembly worked through the day Thursday and, by early evening, both the Senate and House of Representatives adjourned for the summer. Neither chamber is expected to return to the Capitol until the Veto Session which has been scheduled for November 13-15 and 27-29. This will allow incumbent lawmakers to campaign unimpeded throughout the summer and fall before the November 6 th General Election. Governor Bruce Rauner has stated that he will sign the budget bills into law upon their arrival on his desk – possibly as early as today. The appropriations bill, HB 109 , and the Budget Implementation ...
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As the Illinois State Board of Education prepares to deliver designations to schools under its new ESSA plan, this blog will provide readers with background information and resources to provide support to educators. This blog will also provide a platform for posting up-to-date information as it becomes available from ISBE.  Background Illinois has aligned its ESSA plan to its vision of the whole child. Under No Child Left Behind, school and district performance were measured solely on student proficiency in math and English Language Arts. The “ Every Student Succeeds Act ,” signed by President Obama on December 10, 2015, reauthorized the 50-year old Elementary ...
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During the FY19 state budget negotiations, legislative leaders and budget negotiators discussed proposals intended to save on pension costs. These proposals were negotiated behind-the-scenes and only surfaced hours before the final budget and budget implementation bills were approved by the Senate and the House of Representatives. See below for more information about how the changes may affect you. Visit the Teachers Retirement System for more information as well. It is important to note that no existing benefits were changed or diminished in these proposals. If you have any other questions, please contact Brian Schwartz or Alison Maley . This blog will ...
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The Illinois General Assembly is poised to adjourn for the summer today upon approval of a Fiscal Year 2019 State Budget. The Senate passed the budget package Wednesday night; the House of Representatives approved the bills today (Thursday). In a scenario that has not been witnessed for years in the State Capitol, a full year budget was approved on overwhelmingly bi-partisan votes. The Governor and the legislative leaders set partisan differences aside this spring and agreed on revenue estimates and a spending plan for the State. Both the House and Senate are still currently working through some remaining bills but are expected to adjourn later today. After ...
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In a busy legislative week in the State Capitol, lawmakers rushed to move the remainder of their legislation as the scheduled session adjournment date nears. The legislature is set to conclude its business by the end of the month. Both chambers of the General Assembly cancelled scheduled session for this weekend and will return to Springfield late afternoon on Monday, May 28th. While there has been positive news surrounding the development of a budget, the General Assembly will only have four session days to complete its business and pass a budget plan and appropriations before the end of May. This week, the Alliance and its partners in the Evidence-Based ...
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"Supposed" to be Kids

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I really was tickled with a former student's Facebook post the other day.  Robert Johnson was one of my favorite kids at Elverado High School.  He was sharp, had a great personality and had solid leadership potential.  He has a sense of duty to his community and knows he has a responsibility to it.  He is one of those kids that test scores don't measure.  His post made me reflect not only on my own experiences but the experiences of so many other students that have come through my doors.  There are those kids that are not "supposed" to be successful in the eyes of others. My experience over the years is that those kids, you know the ones that have to ...
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Many pieces of legislation that infringe on local decision making and increase costs for school districts are still moving through the Illinois General Assembly as we move closer to the scheduled adjournment day of May 31st. We encourage you to take special notice of the mandates covered in this report, as well as our previous Alliance Legislative Reports, and reach out to your state legislators to oppose legislation that negatively impacts school finances and local curricular determination.   When both chambers of the Illinois General Assembly meet next, there will only be 10 days remaining to get a Fiscal Year 2019 budget in place before the legislative ...
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Both chambers of the Illinois General Assembly were back in Springfield this week to take up legislation in hopes of sending bills to the Governor that would become law. While there was action on bills in committees and on the House and Senate floors, no public action was taken on a budget. With less than three weeks to go before scheduled adjournment, budget talks are still going on behind closed doors. With more available revenue than in years past, it would seem a budget agreement would be easier to reach this year. However, nothing tends to be easy in the current adversarial environment of Illinois state government. School board members and administrators ...
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SENATE WORKS THROUGH WEEK; HOUSE OFF The Illinois Senate was in session this week, busy both moving bills out of committees and passing bills on the chamber floor. The House of Representatives was off this week following its House bill deadline last Friday. Both chambers are scheduled to return next week and work Tuesday through Friday. Next Friday is the Senate deadline to consider House bills in Senate committees. PROPOSED MANDATES APPROVED The Senate this week approved three bills that would place new requirements on local school districts. Each of these bills has been sent to the House of Representatives for further consideration. SB 3249 ...
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My Story On February 1st, 2018, I began my day the same way that most administrators do: with a meeting. In fact, my morning was full of meetings, most of which I made it to, the last of which, I did not. When I stepped foot into the District Office of Pecatonica School District, a wave of dizziness hit me like a ton of bricks. I tried to speak, but within mere seconds, I passed out. Not only did I pass out, but my heart experienced ventricular fibrillation, the most serious cardiac rhythm disturbance, and I suffered from Sudden Cardiac Arrest.   When I fell from standing position and hit the ground, Superintendent Bill Faller immediately began ...
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The following Alliance Legislative Report details many bills that Alliance lobbyists have been able to amend to address our collective concerns. Those bills are highlighted below.  HUNDREDS OF BILLS CROSS OVER TO SECOND CHAMBER, HOUSE OVERWHELMINGLY  REJECTS HB 4789, HB 5572 In one of the busiest weeks of the legislative session, hundreds of bills passed out of their original chamber and now await action on the other side of the rotunda. The deadlines set by the leaders in each chamber provide for a flurry of activity as legislators try to keep their legislation moving through the process.  Earlier in the week, the Alliance sent out a call to action ...
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IPA Executive Director Dr. Jason Leahy recently assisted Senator Dick Durbin to alert Illinois school leaders about for-profit colleges. See below for a press release and letter.  DURBIN ENLISTS ILLINOIS HIGH SCHOOL EDUCATORS TO SOUND THE ALARM ON FOR-PROFIT COLLEGES Asks principals, counselors, teachers to provide students with “accurate and up-to-date information about their post-secondary education options” WASHINGTON – With high school seniors making decisions about their educational futures, U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) is enlisting the help of Illinois high school principals, counselors, and teachers to warn college-bound students and their ...
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As the legislature worked steadily this week in the Capitol through the hundreds of superfluous bills and issues that lay before it, attention was being paid to some of the significant matters regarding public education. Both the House of Representatives and the Senate worked through the week, with both chambers returning next week to meet Monday through Friday. Next Friday, April 27, is the deadline to have substantive bills considered on the floor of their respective chambers. An Alliance initiative addressing the problem of school districts being penalized for the under levy of property taxes under the Property Tax Extension Limitation Law (PTELL), HB ...
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