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Illinois recognizes teachers and says 'thank you' during Teacher Appreciation Week

Tuesday is National Teacher Day

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[May 06, 2008]  SPRINGFIELD -- The Illinois State Board of Education is joining with the Illinois Education Association and the Illinois Federation of Teachers in urging students, parents, administrators and communities to honor the state's more than 130,000 full-time and part-time public school teachers in our classrooms during Teacher Appreciation Week, May 4-10, and on National Teacher Day, May 6.

Insurance"This is an important week in Illinois, as we recognize the dedication, enthusiasm and commitment that teachers show every day on behalf of their students," said State Superintendent of Education Christopher A. Koch. "I am proud of Illinois teachers for the positive impact they have on our student's lives. Teaching is one of the most rewarding professions, and I would hope more people consider taking up the challenge."

Teacher Appreciation Week is celebrated during the first full week of May, and National Teacher Day is celebrated every year on the Tuesday of that week. These celebrations provide an opportunity to both express appreciation and publicly recognize the important work that teachers do every day.

"To have great schools you need great teachers, and Illinois public school teachers are among the most committed to excellence to be found anywhere," said Ken Swanson, president of the Illinois Education Association. "IEA is pleased to see the hard work of our teacher members appreciated and celebrated."


"Teachers across Illinois routinely go above and beyond the call of duty to help our children learn, and their extraordinary efforts are often unsung," said Ed Geppert Jr., president of the Illinois Federation of Teachers. "This week we recognize the commitment and caring of teachers and school employees, those front-line professionals who truly make a difference in children's lives."

In December, Illinois was recognized as a leader for having the fourth-highest number of teachers achieving National Board Certification in 2007. This is the second year in a row that Illinois has been ranked fourth nationally for the number of new teachers attaining the profession's highest credential. Additionally:

  • In 2007, 511 Illinois teachers achieved National Board Certification.

  • Between 2001 and 2006, the number of National Board Certified teachers in Illinois creased more than fivefold -- from 352 in 2001 to 1,986 in 2006.

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  • In 2007, teachers who had a master's degree or above accounted for 52.3 percent of the classroom teachers in Illinois public schools, up from 46.3 percent in 1998.

  • In 2007, the average teaching experience of Illinois' public school teachers was 12.9 years.

  • There has been an increase in the number of certificates issued over the last five years. Since 2003, new teaching certificates have increased by 10 percent a year, on average.

  • In 2007, 18,601 individuals received new teaching certificates, an increase of 7.5 percent over last year. In fiscal 2007, 73,336 certification tests were administered.

  • Student enrollment in the regular Illinois public schools increased steadily from 1,951,998 in 1998 to 2,077,856 in 2007.

Classroom teachers, school administrators and other school personnel across Illinois will be honored this fall during 35th annual State Board of Education Those Who Excel/Illinois Teacher of the Year program. This year's program has six nomination categories -- classroom teachers; school administrator-principal; student support personnel (certificated); educational service personnel (noncertificated); school board member or community volunteer; and team.

School districts have until May 16 to submit a nomination in each of the six categories. The nomination packet is available online at

The 2008-2009 Illinois Teacher of the Year will be named at the annual Those Who Excel banquet on Oct. 18 at the Hotel Père Marquette in downtown Peoria. The Teacher of the Year represents Illinois at NASA Space Camp in Huntsville, Ala., and in the National Teacher of the Year program sponsored by the Council of Chief State School Officers and ING. This year's Teacher of the Year is Ruth Meissen, an art teacher at Harlem Middle School in Loves Park.

[Text from Illinois State Board of Education file received from the Illinois Office of Communication and Information]

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