Proposed Amendments to Part 1 (Public Schools Evaluation, Recognition and Supervision)

An explanation of certain of the proposed amendments is presented below in the order in which the provisions appear in the rulemaking.

Section 1.70(d) (Graduation Cohort):  Under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), each state must include in its measure of annual yearly progress ("AYP") a graduation rate that represents the percentage of students who graduate from secondary schools with a regular diploma in the "standard number of years".  In order to provide a "uniform and accurate measure" of the rate at which students graduate – both within a state and across the country – federal regulations require states to calculate their graduation rate using an "adjusted cohort", i.e., the number of students who enter grade 9 for the first time in a particular school year and any students who transfer into the group, or cohort, later in grade 9 and over the next three years, minus any students who are removed from the cohort due to transfers out of the school, emigration to another country, or death.  In calculating the rate for a particular cohort, circumstances, such as dropping out of school, being retained in grade or expelled, transferring to an alternative school that does not award regular high school diplomas or receiving a certificate of completion, do not result in students being removed from the cohort when calculating a school's graduation rate for a particular graduating class.

Although requirements for determining the adjusted cohort graduation rate are set forth in ESEA guidance, the agency also must determine the date upon which a first-time, grade 9 cohort for a graduating class is established in order to comply with the federal mandate.  For purposes of determining both a four-year graduation rate, and a five-year extended-year graduation rate, any student entering grade 9 between the start of a specific school year and October 1 of that school year will be placed into the graduating class cohort.  School districts will indicate in the Student Information System (SIS) the first year of a student's grade-9 enrollment and chart the student's progression over the four-year high school experience.  Based on the information entered into SIS, a graduation rate will be calculated, included on the School Report Card and reported to the U.S. Department of Education, as may be required.

New Section 1.97 (Survey of Learning Conditions):  P.A. 98-648, effective July 1, 2014, amended Section 2-3.153 of the School Code to authorize the State Superintendent of Education to identify alternate instruments that school districts may choose to use to gauge learning conditions and school climate in lieu of using the 5Essentials Survey instrument.  In accordance with the requirements of Section 2-3.153 of the School Code, the State Board identified the 5Essentials Survey, first administered in the 2013-2014 school year, as the instrument school districts would biennially administer to students and teachers, provided that sufficient state funding is available to cover the cost of the survey's administration.  The 2013-14 survey not only established a statewide baseline, but also provided an opportunity for educators to provide feedback about the 5Essentials Survey process going forward.

New Section 1.97 sets forth deadlines and conditions for complying with the statute, including defining the terms "teacher" and "school" for purposes of the survey's administration and making clear that students and teachers are not required to participate in the survey.  Subsection (g) discusses the alternate survey that districts may use at their "sole cost and expense".  Finally, subsection (h) identifies the process that will be used (when state appropriations are insufficient for statewide administration) to identify the low-performing schools that will be required to participate in the survey's administration, as well as how a "representative sample" of other school districts will be identified.

Section 1.420(h)(3) (Kindergarten Individual Development Survey (KIDS)):  In 2011, as a result of funding requested through the Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge (RTT-ELC) grant and under its authority to prescribe rules for the operation of kindergartens [105 ILCS 5/10-20.19a], the agency worked to develop and implement a kindergarten readiness tool to continually assess a student’s progress during the school year.  While the State Board did not receive RTT-ELC funding in that initial application cycle, it did continue with piloting and limited implementation of the Kindergarten Individual Development Survey, or KIDS.  Under rules adopted at that time, full implementation of KIDS by districts with full- or half-day kindergarten programs was to begin in the 2015-16 school year.

Over the last year, however, school administrators, teachers and others have expressed concerns to Early Childhood staff about implementing KIDS in the fall.  As a result of these discussions, staff are proposing a revised implementation schedule that will allow for training to begin in the fall, a choice of full or limited implementation in the 2016-17 school year, and full implementation by all school districts in the 2017-18 school year.  Therefore, it is necessary to modify Section 1.420(h)(3) to reflect this schedule.

New Section 1.540 (epinephrine auto-injectors):  P.A. 98-795, effective August 1, 2014, amended Section 22-30 of the School Code, in part, to authorize (but not require) the administration of an epinephrine auto-injector by school nurses (as that term is defined in Section 22-30) or trained personnel to "any person (who) the school nurse or trained personnel in good faith believes is having an anaphylactic reaction".  In such cases, the epinephrine auto-injector is "undesignated", meaning it is not prescribed to a particular individual. 

Rather than creating new requirements, the proposed rules at Section 1.540 flesh out the process for the use of undesignated epinephrine auto-injectors by school nurses or trained personnel.  In particular, proposed subsection (a) requires that parents be notified at the start of each school year that the school has instituted a standing protocol for use of undesignated epinephrine auto-injectors, providing a process for a parent to submit written notification to the school prohibiting a school nurse or trained personnel to administer an undesignated epinephrine auto-injector to his or her child under any circumstances.  Subsection (b) clarifies that a school district is not required to have a school nurse or trained individuals available at all times nor at all school-sponsored activities.  Subsection (e) places additional considerations for training into rules, including specifying who can conduct CPR and AED (automated external defibrillator) training, requiring school personnel be available to answer questions when training is presented online or via video, and addressing, as part of the training, certain portions of a school's policy for the use of undesignated epinephrine auto-injectors.

Other changes being proposed in:

Initial Review by State Board of Education: May 2015

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