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January 15, 2014

Dear Families of District 150, As previously communicated, this past November, Peoria Public Schools District Administration was advised of potential irregularities in standardized testing of special education students at Charter Oak Primary School dating back several years. We are writing today to update you on this matter. Our investigation was recently completed and last Friday, January 10, we submitted our report to ISBE. During its regular meeting Monday night, the Peoria Public Schools District 150 Board of Education reviewed and authorized the public release of this report on the Districts website at www.psd150.org/COTestingInvestigation. As you may be aware, these testing irregularities were brought to the Administrations attention by the teachers and administrator at Mark Bills Middle School, when their analysis of student testing data showed a dramatic decrease in the performance of special education students once they arrived compared to their previous test scores at Charter Oak. We appreciate and acknowledge the courage and integrity of the staff members who brought this matter to our attention, and will take whatever steps necessary to protect these individuals and not tolerate retaliatory behavior of any kind. Once the issue was brought to the Districts Administration, it then had an obligation to investigate the reported irregularities. To have knowledge of a school that is a possible source of testing irregularities and not investigate for fear of community reaction, would have been wrong and cowardly on the part of this Board and Administration. To ignore this report or to fail to look into the situation would have amounted to a cover up. Therefore, we moved swiftly to engage our law firm to conduct an internal investigation and assist us in preparing a report detailing our findings for distribution to the Illinois State Board of Education. As detailed in the presentation of this report made to the Board Monday evening, while there do not appear to be any irregularities in test results for Charter Oaks regular division students, there are indeed substantial and unexplainable differences in test scores on the Illinois Standards Achievement Test (ISAT) and the Northwest Evaluation Associations Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) for individual Charter Oak special education students. In other words, Charter Oak special education students were shown to have performed at a much lower level on the MAP when compared to their ISAT results. The MAP test is widely considered to be a strong predictor of students expected performance on ISAT and so these test results should have immediately raised questions
309 672 6512 phone 309 672 6708 fax 3202 N Wisconsin Ave Peoria, IL 61603

and concerns. The glaring differences in individual special education test scores were not trivial, and were well beyond the point where a professional educator should realize that something was not right. The report suggests that Charter Oak special education students were provided with unauthorized and inappropriate accommodations during ISAT testing, likely resulting in the students higher scores. While the Board of Education and Administration regret these findings within our District, we continue to believe that it is our duty and responsibility to address them and that to do so is in the best interest of our students, families and community. Should any parent/guardian or family have concerns for the special education placement of their child in regard to this investigation, please contact our Special Education Department at (309) 672-6752. In closing, we thank you for your ongoing support of our students, schools and staff, and for your shared commitment to our mission of ensuring that each student reaches his or her full academic and personal potential and is a well-balanced citizen. Sincerely,

Rick Cloyd President, Board of Education

Grenita Lathan, Ph.D. Superintendent

309 672 6512 phone 309 672 6708 fax 3202 N Wisconsin Ave Peoria, IL 61603