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For the Education Professionals of Clay, Crawford, Jasper, Lawrence, and Richland Counties.

Update from the Regional Superintendent


Spring 2015
Update on Bus Safety
Toby Tire School Bus Safety Alert

As winter begins to lose its grip on the Midwest, it’s a good time to review some
child and traffic safety rules and reinforce our commitment to safe travel.  Adults understand the temptation of spring fever, when our attention turns from the frigid discomfort of winter to the prospects of warmth and rebirth.  Kids get it, too.  They look forward to bringing the bicycles out of the basement and garage and back outdoors where they can experience the freedom of a spring afternoon.  It’s a good time for us all to return our attention to school bus and pedestrian safety rules and procedures. 
 
Some reminders:
  • Younger students should be reminded that drivers may be distracted for a variety of reasons as spring weather approaches.  Always be careful crossing the street.
  • Nationally, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of kids who have been struck by motor vehicles that illegally pass their school buses.  There has been no definitive reason offered for this rash of accidents.  Remind your students they must always cross in front of their school bus and be sure that traffic has stopped for them before they proceed across the street.
  • The spring weather brings out the euphoria in children.  This is a good opportunity for us to remind them that school bus drivers have a difficult job.  Respect your driver, talk in your inside voice and always remain seated while the bus is in motion.
  • Bullying may not seem like a barrier to school bus safety but it is.  A child who is consumed with worry about a bully has a tough time concentrating on staying safe.  And adults need to understand that kids today have challenges that we never faced: cyberbullying has become epidemic.  Respect each other.  If someone is bullying you, tell a teacher or your principal.  That’s simply behavior that will not be tolerated at our school.
 Spring is a time of rebirth.  Let’s make it a re-commitment to school bus safety as well.
Buster the Bus Available for Presentations
 
Toby says, "Don't forget that my friend, Buster the Bus, is available to make presentations to school groups free-of-charge!"  Contact Assistant Regional Superintendent Corrie Ray to set up a date and time that works for you! 
Bus Driver Training Schedule for 2015-16 Announced
ROE #12 will again offer the mandatory trainings to both new and experienced bus drivers who wish to be employed for the 2015-16 school year.  Cost for either initial or refresher trainings is $8.00.   Click HERE for details.
Update on Licensure

License Renewal Update

License holders who are up for renewal on June 30, 2015, may renew online after April 1st using ELIS. Also, with the change in the rules and regulations governing Professional Development, there are now a greatly reduced number of providers available.  Click HERE for a complete, updated listing.
Update on Early Childhood Education

ECE ESL Endorsement Cohort with EIU is a Go!

New regulations from the Illinois State Board of Education require all ECE programs that serve ANY English Language Learners (ELLs) have at least one Licensed Staffer who has BOTH an Early Childhood AND an ESL Endorsement on their License.  Is your program in compliance?
  • Classes begin Fall 2015 and are completed in Summer 2016
  • Two classes to take each semester over three consecutive terms (18 hours total).
  • Classes will be offered at a convenient location within the five county region
Contact EIU for more information!
ROE #12 Early Childhood Program Updates
Did you know that ROE #12 serves 180 Pre-K students in nine programs at six locations throughout our region?  Peg Cain's staff recently attended a three-day ASCD Conference in Schaumburg and picked up great information, ideas, and skills!  In addition to preparing for the Kaleidoscope Conference (see article below), the crew is also gearing up for Preschool Screenings throughout April.  Call your local school district for information about the screenings available near you!
Kaleidoscope 2015 Is This Week!
ROE #12's biannual conference for Early Childhood educators will be this Thursday, March 26th at the Thelma Keller Convention Center in Effingham.  This years' program includes almost 20 sessions with presenters including:  

Joseph “Nitro Joe” Higgs

Linda Housewright

Dr. Mike Lockett

Joe Bauer  
It will be an event not-to-be-missed!  You can still pre-register.  Walk-in registration is available!  Keynote begins at 8:30.  For more information, contact Brandy Sechrest.
Update on Professional Development
Upcoming Professional Development Opportunities from ROE #12
Upcoming Professional Development Opportunities for Area VI
(Southern Illinois)
Update on Special Programs
ROE #12 Hosts School Safety and Security Summit
 
The Regional Office of Education #12 hosted a School Safety and Security Summit on Wednesday, February 4th at the Highland Church of Christ in Robinson.  School security specialists, school administrators, and law enforcement officials from across Clay, Crawford, Jasper, Lawrence, and Richland counties were represented.  The theme of the program was, “Preparation, not regret,” and focused on new technologies designed to mitigate crisis situations in schools.  Presenters included Thom Jones from Navigate Prepared, who discussed digital crisis management plans, interactive school building maps, and 360º photos of classrooms, offices, hallways, and other public spaces.  Navigate also allows for first responders to access existing IP camera systems in schools during crisis situations, allowing police better information at a nearby command center.   Bob McElwee, from Shelters7, introduced state-of-the-art shelters that can be used in severe weather or in active shooter scenarios.  Nate McVicker (pictured) provided details about SchoolGuard, a mobile app which actives the HERO911 network of first-responders within a given geographical radius around a school property, dramatically reducing the response time over solely relying on conventional 911 systems.  Chad Weaver, of the Robinson and Hutsonville Police Departments, talked about active shooter drills, mandated school safety trainings, and integrating with local law enforcement. 
 
“Schools all have their required safety plans and have done their mandated drills involving local law enforcement.  Today’s event provided a discussion of how technology can be used to build on those foundations to help schools be even more successful in their primary mission — that of keeping kids safe,” said Regional Superintendent of Schools, Monte Newlin.  “Any and all resources allocated for school safety and security measures can be compared to the purchase of an insurance policy.  You just pray you never need to use it, but sleep better at night knowing you’ve done everything you can to be prepared.”  
Fifty-Nine Illinois State Scholars Honored
At Annual Celebration Banquet
225 were in attendance to honor the 59 Illinois State Scholars from Clay, Crawford, Jasper, Lawrence, and Richland Counties at the 15th Annual Celebration of Excellence Banquet on March 17th, at the Robinson Community Center.  The program is sponsored by the Regional Office of Education #12 and Regional Superintendent Monte Newlin.  Students, school administrators, parents, and other guests enjoyed a catered dinner and an address by Trey Reid, Pastor of First Baptist Church in Robinson.  Each student was presented a certificate commemorating their achievement as an Illinois State Scholar, a designation which only about 10% of the state’s high school seniors achieve through a combination of class rank and ACT test scores.
Update on Technology
Modernization Orders For the Federal Program E-Rate Are Now In Effect 
 
The FCC's E-rate program focuses on providing internet access to the nation's schools and libraries. It is the government's largest educational technology program. When it was established in 1996, only 14% of the nation's k-12 schools were connected to the internet. Today, virtually all schools and libraries have internet access. 
 
The program is going through some changes this year as the FCC has passed two Modernization Orders for the program. These orders place the focus of the program on broadband access and expanding wireless internet access within the buildings, while transitioning support away form legacy technologies to 21st Century connectivity. 
 
As a result, discounts and reimbursements towards telecommunications, such as phone and wireless phone lines are being gradually decreased over the next five years. Districts participating in the program this year will see a 20% decrease in funding for these services. Broadband connectivity service discounts will not change.
 
The changes also allow districts the opportunity to apply for Category 2 funding. Category 2 funding includes internal infrastructure such as routers, switches, wiring and wireless access points. Funding for this category is figured on a formula budget, and districts are limited to what they can has for. However, more funds were put into the program, and reserve funds were rolled back into circulation to hopefully fund more schools this year than ever before for these types of services.
 
The application deadline for Erate has also been extended this year. The original deadline was set for March 26, 2015, but due to a request filed by the nation's largest schools, more time has been given for the application process. The new deadline is April 16, 2015 and should allow districts more time to evaluate bids and complete the new detailed 471 application form. 
 
For more information about the Erate program or application support, visit www.usac.org or contact your local Illinois Learning Technology Center (www.ltcillinois.org).
STARLAB Available for Loan Free-of-Charge 
The Starlab System is a multidisciplinary teaching aid that engages students on higher level.  In brief, it is composed of a dome made out of opaque vinyl, and a projector, which displays images on the inside of the dome.  Dimensions when inflated are 16' diameter, 10.5' high.  STARLAB can be used for any grade level by a class or used at an open house to involve parents.  Cylinder titles available from ROE #12 include:  Weather, Plate Tectonics, Ocean Currents, Biological Cell, Celestial Coordinates, Greek Mythology, Night Sky, Constellations, Moon, Solar System and Galaxy, Earth (Northern Hemisphere), and Ancient Egyptian Culture.
Contact Corrie Ray for more information.  ROE #12 will deliver.
Update on PARCC
Did you know that ISBE posts daily updates on the PARCC Assessment on Twitter?  Also, we know you get many questions about the tests.  Here's some resources to help you answer those inquiries.
Update on Initiatives
Illinois Vision 20/20 Proposals Considered In Spring Session

Many times educators are better known for what they oppose rather than those things for which they stand. In November 2012, the Illinois Association of School Administrators (
IASA) initiated a visioning process in partnership with the Illinois Principals Association (IPA), the Illinois Association of School Business Officials (IASBO), the Illinois Association of School Boards (IASB), the Superintendents’ Commission for the Study of Demographics and Diversity (SCSDD), and the Illinois Association of Regional Superintendents of Schools (IARSS) to unite the education community and to develop a long-range blueprint for improving public education in Illinois.  That blueprint is known as Illinois Vision 20/20.  Based on the pillars of 1) highly effective educators, 2) 21st Century learning, 3) shared accountability, and 4) equitable and adequate funding, Illinois Vision 20/20 provides the framework for making significant, positive change for public education in Illinois.

Many of local boards of education across the state have adopted resolutions in support of this initiative.  Even locally, several of our districts have formalized their support, as has ROE #12.  True to its' goals, the aims of Vision 20/20 are beginning to materialize as concrete proposals before the Illinois General Assembly.  Here are the Vision 20/20 bills being considered this session.  Each provides a link to the bill and its current status.

 

Regional Superintendents Mark 150 Years of Service

This year marks an important anniversary for our nation of 150 years since the end of the Civil War and death of Abraham Lincoln, the president who led us through that historic period. Regional Superintendents of Schools also look to 1865 as the start of a long legacy of serving Illinois schools, a job that is as important today as it was in Lincoln’s time.  The Office of County Superintendent of Schools was created by the Legislature in 1865 to serve four-year terms and every officeholder was required to visit each county school every year. From the outset, these offices have served as the administrative backbone for our school system.
 
Over the decades, our makeup, roles and duties have changed dramatically. At the outset, County Superintendents served as official advisers and assistants for school districts and as agents of the State Superintendent of Schools. We were there in the 1950s for the difficult decisions around massive consolidations of school districts. From the 1970s to the mid-1990s, County Superintendent numbers reduced from 102 to 45 Regional Superintendents in charge of Regional Offices of Education (ROEs) around the state. In 2010, Cook County’s ROE reorganized into three Intermediate Service Centers performing the same duties as ROEs.
 
Today, we are going through more change. By July 1, there will be 35 ROEs instead of 44, yet our work demands will not decrease.  We will do more with less, and we will provide schools the high-quality service they have come to expect through our commitment to three tenets: Safety, Support and Success. We keep schoolchildren safe by training and testing bus drivers and inspecting school buildings. We support educators through top-notch professional development and by ensuring schools are meeting state and federal guidelines. We help so many students succeed through our high school equivalency degree and regional safe school programs. We are doing this while taking the lead in reducing costs and promoting a shared service model for school districts.
 
As we join with other school administration organizations to support the Vision 20/20 push for a brighter future for Illinois schools from the inside, Illinois Regional Superintendents of Schools are an important part of the solution for the problems that must be addressed now. At 150, we are energized and prepared for the work ahead.
Want to Know Us Better?

Want To Know What We've Done...What We're Going to Do?

Keep up to date on ROE #12 events by visiting our Google Calendar.  Professional Development Trainings, Bus Driver Trainings, Fingerprinting Schedules, Administrator Academies, deadlines for school administrators, and much more can be found.  To keep abreast of our accomplishments, ROE #12 issues Quarterly and Annual Reports to the public through our website.
Have You Downloaded Our App?

myROE12 is your link to all things ROE!  Direct links to our website and social media outlets, links to ISBE and many professional organizations, our Google Calendar, downloadable documents, YouTube videos, listings of education jobs available in our five counties from the IASA Job Bank, and much more are available at your fingertips!  It available on the Apple App Store, Google Play, and as an HTML version for your desktop.  
 
Check Out Our New Promo Video
 
Even folks who use our services on a regular basis don't really have a good appreciation of all we do here at ROE #12.  This video will hopefully give our constituents a little better idea.  We do a lot, but everything we do...it's all about kids!
Was this newsletter forwarded to you from a friend?  Want to receive them directly?  Click on the Email icon at the bottom of this page, give us your address, and we'll add you to the mailing list.  Feel free to use that same icon to give us feedback.  We'd love to hear from you!

I hope you've all been able to keep up your energy through the home stretch!  It's always nice to see March roll around.  Not only do we say goodbye to winter, but the end of the school year comes into sight.  Please let us know how we can ever be of assistance to you.  My staff and I stand ready to help in any way we can! Thanks for all your efforts on behalf of our children!

Yours for Kids,

Monte Newlin
Regional Superintendent of Schools
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