One of the primary responsibilities of Regional Offices of Education (ROE) and Intermediate Service Centers (ISC) is that of assisting districts with meeting ISBE Health/Life Safety (HLS) requirements and completing yearly safety inspections of school buildings. State-wide, ROEs and ISCs complete a full inspection of every public school building and also many private/parochial school facilities. Although state code compliance is primary, ultimately the intent is to help districts increase student safety and decrease liability by identifying areas of concern or potentially unsafe situations. Guidance is provided by our offices for correcting the various situations.
ROEs and ISCs are more frequently working in conjunction with the Office of the State Fire Marshal (OSFM) and local fire departments for building inspections. While schools must follow specific code requirements that differ somewhat from municipalities, this relationship is beneficial due to having additional expert eyes in our schools. Doing so helps breed fire department familiarity with local building layouts and is a great way for schools, students and community fire fighters to develop a relationship. This also provides an avenue for many schools to segway into school and community programs for home and school safety through classroom curricula.
Unless you are an electrician and truly understand electricity, it’s easy to improperly use extension cords and power strips. Most of don’t realize how easily these can become overloaded and what the ramifications of overloading are. The bottom line result of improperly connecting extension cords or powerstrips = FIRE!
With school holiday/vacation time, custodial crews are often busy cleaning and moving classrooms. When this happens, rooms can get reconfigured and some common HLS errors can occur. Here are a few tips.
- Extension cords should…
- be commercial grade and rated for the maximum load placed upon them
- be used with only one appliance (lamp, computer, projector, etc.)
- plug directly from the appliance into a wall receptacle
- not be used to make a powerstrip cord longer – do not use one with a powerstrip
- Powerstrips should:
- be commercial grade and rated for the maximum load placed upon them
- never be daisy chained (connected to each other)
- plug directly into a wall receptacle (no extension cord to make it longer)
- contain a built-in disconnect if overloaded (fuse/breaker)
- Extension cords and powerstrips are considered temporary and should never be used in a situation which calls for a permanent wiring solution. These extension cords should be unplugged at the end of each day. Appropriate powerstrips may be left plugged in due to their integrated breaker/fuse.
Retaining Hallway Width (egress)
In any school, hallways or corridors can easily become collection areas (desks, chairs, paper boxes, etc.). It is required that hallways remain clear for emergency evacuation and to eliminate trip hazards. The code is longer and very specific, but here are some basic guidelines.
- should not be used for storage unless having sprinklers or smoke detectors
- need to retain passing width (egress) at all times. A quick and simple way to check is to look down the hall at the exit doors. Minimally, the full width of those doors should be the least amount of pathway through the entire hallway or corridor.
- should have no more than 20% of wall space covered by artwork or teaching materials
Updates to High School Equivalency
The Illinois Community College Board has approved the addition of two High School Equivalency (HSE) exams: The HiSet® (through Educational Testing Services), and the TASC™ (through the Data Resource Corporation/CTB). Beginning in 2016, there will be three HSE tests available within the state, the current GED® Test through GED Testing Services, the HiSet®, and the TASC™. ROE #51 will provide updates regarding availability of the tests as information becomes available.
What are Foundational Services? Foundational Services are high quality professional development delivered by your ROE to all school districts in Illinois. Key topic areas include: implementation of the Illinois Learning Standards in ELA, Math, and Science; promoting Family Engagement; supporting the Continuous Improvement Planning process; preparation for Balanced Assessment; and the incorporation of the growth model in Teacher Evaluation.
The purpose of Foundational Services is to provide the same high quality professional development to every school district in the state in order to improve teaching and learning. The professional development is free to all districts. Please contact us if you are interested in more information or to schedule a training.
Teacher Evaluation Updates
As most of you already know, Governor Pat Quinn signed the Performance Evaluation Reform Act in 2010. PERA changed how teachers’ and principals’ performance is measured in the state. The new evaluation systems in Illinois school districts will combine multiple measures of student growth and professional practice.
November 1, 2015 marked the deadline for PERA joint committees to convene. They now have until April 30, 2015 to establish a performance evaluation plan that incorporates data and indicators of student growth as a significant factor in rating teacher performance.
The Sangamon County Sheriff's Office and Grant Writing USA will present a two-day grants workshop in Springfield, February 18-19, 2016. This training is applicable to grant seekers across all disciplines. Attend this class and you'll learn how to find grants and write winning grant proposals. Tuition is $455 and includes everything: two days of terrific instruction, workbook, and access to our Alumni Forum that's packed full of tools, helpful discussions and more than 200 sample grant proposals. Seating is limited, online reservations are necessary. Registration and additional information is available here.
Please be aware of the various deadlines regarding professional development and licensure registration. Paraprofessionals working in Sangamon County must have their licenses registered in Region 51 by December 31, 2014, or risk a penalty.
Public Act 98-610 became effective December 27, 2013. This public act changed some of the requirements for renewing the Professional Educator License endorsed in a teaching field, or in a school support personnel or administrative area.
- Educators who had a license that expired June 30, 2014 must enter and submit professional development through the ELIS and renew/register the license by August 31, 2014. Any educator who does not complete these requirements will have a lapsed license and not be allowed in the classroom on September 1, 2014. The lapsed license will require a payment of a $500 penalty, entering completed professional into ELIS before the license will be reinstated and being allowed back into the classroom.
- Credit for all professional development activities completed on or before June 30, 2014 must be entered into ELIS by December 31, 2014.
- Credit for all professional development activities earned after July 1, 2014 must be entered within 60 days of completing the activity.