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Why Your School Should Become a Member

Participation in interscholastic athletics and activities provides students in Illinois grade schools and junior high schools with great and unique learning opportunities. And through participation in the athletic and activity programs sponsored by IESA member schools, your students have great opportunities to achieve recognition for themselves, their school and your community.

The Illinois Elementary School Association (IESA) began in 1929. Today, 959 schools throughout Illinois are members.

Our mission is clear, and our mission statement says who we are and what we are about: "The IESA provides the leadership and framework to ensure safe, equitable opportunities for students who are enriched through participation in education-based interscholastic activities."

Students who participate in athletics and activities in grade, middle or junior high school are able to channel their youthful enthusiasm and inquisitive nature in a variety of areas outside the classroom. They challenge themselves by participating in a variety of interscholastic activities. They test themselves against their peers when they represent their school in IESA state series competition.

By becoming a member of the Illinois Elementary School Association, your school opens the door to healthful, wholesome learning experiences in a structured, educational, competitive format. Participation in IESA state series brings together your students with others from throughout your local geographic area and Illinois.

Effective July 1, 2008, all member schools must be recognized by the Illinois State Board of Education.

What IESA Offers

IESA conducts state series competition in ten sports and five activities throughout the school year. State champions in boys and girls golf, girls softball, boys baseball, and boys and girls cross country are crowned in the fall. The speech series concludes in November. In winter, girls basketball and cheerleading champions are determined and in February champions in boys basketball are determined. Girls volleyball and boys wrestling state finals are held in March. Music solo and ensemble and organization contests and boys and girls bowling are conducted in April. In May, the state series in scholastic bowl, boys and girls track and field are conducted.

Interscholastic competition in most state series is conducted in multiple classes and in separate series for seventh grade teams and eighth grade teams. Schools are classified based on their enrollment in the respective state series. The number of classes is authorized by the IESA Board of Directors and a major factor determining classification in a respective state series is the number of schools entering the series.

Current State Series Offered

State series are scheduled in conjunction with the Standardized Calendar created by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) and adopted by the IESA Board of Directors. Weeks are numbered from 1-52 with Week 1 being the first week in July beginning with Sunday. Days of competition in the respective state series are fixed within the framework of the Standardized Calendar. The dates within a respective week in the Standardized Calendar vary on a yearly basis. Member schools usually participate in regular season competition prior to the start of the state series in the respective sports and activities. Most IESA activities have a defined season. The following table shows the number of schools enetered in each activity. The levels of competition within a state series determine how long it takes to conduct the state series in the sport/activity.

Sport/Activity Schools Entered*
Golf 76
Girls Softball  213 
Boys Baseball  281 
Cross Country  359 
Speech  182 
Girls Basketball  392 
Boys Basketball  432 
Cheerleading  67 
Chess 54
Boys Wrestling  161 
Girls Volleyball  444 
Music Solo/Ensemble  155 
Music Organization  86 
Bowling 56
Scholastic Bowl  375 
Track and Field  565 

*Most recent total number of school entries in the sport series.

Classification: In state series where four-class competition is conducted, the number of schools entering a given state series is divided by four with 25 percent of the entries in each of Class 1A, Class 2A, Class 3A and Class 4A. In state series where three-class competition is conducted, the number of schools entering a given state series is divided by three with 33 percent of the entries in each of Class 1A, Class 2A and Class 3A. In state series where two-class competition is conducted, the number of schools entering a given state series is divided by two with the smallest half of the schools entered is the Class A field and the largest half of the schools entered is the Class AA. The number of schools participating in Class A and/or Class AA and in 7th and/or 8th grade competition varies by sport/activity.

Member schools may enter and compete in one or more of the offered state series. Here is how each of IESA's state series is conducted:

Boys/Girls Golf - A school is permitted to send up to five boys and five girls to compete in the state competition and there is only one class for boys and girls golf. Levels in State Series: Sectionals and State

Girls Softball - Each school fields one team (combining players from different grades) and competes in either the Class A or Class AA series. Eight teams in Class A and eight teams in Class AA advance to the two-day state final. Levels in State Series: Regionals, Sectionals, State Final.

Boys Baseball - Each school fields one team (combining players from different grades) and competes in the Class 1A, Class 2A or Class 3A series. Eight teams in Class 1A, eight teams in Class 2A, and eight teams in Class 3A advance to a two-day state final all at the same site. Levels in State Series: Regionals, Sectionals, State Final.

Boys/Girls Cross Country - The state series is conducted in a three-class format. Each school can enter a girls team and a boys team of up to seven runners in the respective race in the class their school is assigned. Students at the school in fifth, sixth, seventh and/or eighth grade may be one of the seven team runners in the race. At the one-day state final, there are six races: Class 1A Girls, Class 1A Boys, Class 2A Girls, Class 2A Boys, Class 3A Girls and Class 3A Boys. Levels in State Series: Sectionals, State Final.

Speech - Each school can enter students (boys and/or girls) in five individual events, three duet events, chorale or small group acting. A student can participate in any combination up to three events. Two-day contests are scheduled over three fall weekends at 23 different sites statewide. Levels in State Series: State Final.

Girls Basketball - Each school can field a seventh grade team and an eighth grade team. They compete in Class 1A, Class 2A, Class 3A or Class 4A in each grade, and the school is in the same class for each grade. Eight teams advance to each of the two-day (Saturday-Thursday) state finals. The seventh grade state finals are conducted a week ahead of the eighth grade state finals. Levels in State Series: Regionals, Sectionals, State Final.

Boys Basketball - Each school can field a seventh grade team and an eighth grade team. They compete in Class 1A, Class 2A, Class 3A or Class 4A in each grade, and the school is in the same class for each grade. Eight teams advance to each of the two-day (Saturday-Thursday) state finals. The seventh grade state finals are conducted a week ahead of the eighth grade state finals. Levels in State Series: Regionals, Sectionals, State Final.

Cheerleading - Each school can enter one team of boys and/or girls in the cheer and/or routine division. The cheer division is divided into small team cheer (1-12 squad members) and large team cheer (13-25 squad members). The routine division is divided into small team routine (1-12 squad members), medium team routine (13-16 squad members) and large team routine (17-25 squad members). The cheer division does not allow for music in the school's performance whereas the routine division requires music as part of the performance. This is a one-day state final. Levels in State Series: State Final.

Chess - Each school can field a sixth, seventh and an eighth grade team. They can enter up to seven students per team. Levels in State Series: State Final.

Boys Wrestling - Each school can enter up to two wrestlers in each of 19 weight classes. They compete in a single-class state series with 24 wrestlers advancing in each weight class to the two-day state final. Levels in State Series: Regionals, Sectionals, State Final.

Girls Volleyball - Each school can field a seventh grade team and an eighth grade team. They compete in Class 1A, Class 2A, Class 3A or Class 4A in each grade, and the school is in the same class for each grade. Eight teams advance to each of the two-day (Saturday-Tuesday) state finals. The seventh grade state finals are conducted a week ahead of the eighth grade state finals. Levels in State Series: Regionals, Sectionals, State Final.

Bowling - Each school can field a boys team and a girls team. They can enter up to four students per team. Levels in State Series: State Final (Sectionals will be added in 2018).

Music Solo/Ensemble - Each school can enter students (boys and/or girls) in vocal events or instrumental events. In both categories of events, there are three types: solos, ensembles and choirs. In vocal, each school can enter students in a choir and two others in the solo and ensemble category. In instrumental, each school can enter students in a choir and two instrumental events using only instruments in a band or orchestra. State contests are scheduled for the same date at 19 different sites statewide. Levels in Series: State Final.

Music Organization - Each school can enter students (boys and/or girls) in vocal or instrumental events. In the vocal events, a student may participate in one mixed chorus, one show choir and either a boys or girls chorus. In the instrumental events, a student may participate in one band, one jazz band, one orchestra and one choir-chime or hand-bell group. State contests are scheduled for the same date at 16 different sites statewide. Levels instate Series: State Final.

Scholastic Bowl - Each school fields one team combing students (boys and/or girls) from different grades to compete in either the Class A or Class AA series. Students from eight teams in Class A and eight teams in Class AA advance to the one-day state final. Levels in State Series: Regionals, Sectionals, State Final.

Boys/Girls Track and Field - Each school can enter up to two individuals in each of 11 individual events and one relay in each of the three relay events for both boys and girls competition. Schools compete in either the Class A or Class AA series. Competition for boys and girls in each class is conducted concurrently. The first place finisher in each event and those other individuals or relay teams that equal or surpass the minimum qualifying standard in a given event at the sectional advance to the two-day state final in each class. The Class A state final is held one week ahead of the Class AA state final. Levels in State Series: Sectionals, State Final.

How to Join IESA

Annual membership dues are currently $75 and must be paid before a school becomes eligible to compete in any of the state series it enters. Each member school entering a given athletic state series must pay the respective entry fee. Entry fees vary by activity and the fee schedule for all activities and their deadlines can be found here - IESA Fee Schedule.

School administrators may initiate the process, and it begins with a phone call to the IESA Office at (309) 829-0114. The school administrator must request from the IESA staff member handling the call a user ID and password for use in becoming a new member school. These will be mailed to the school, along with instructions to complete the registration online.

Schools seeking to join the Illinois Elementary School Association must be in compliance with the IESA Constitution and By-Laws. The school's Board of Education must approve the school's membership in IESA. The Board of Education must designate the school's official representative to IESA, and that usually is the principal of the member school. Membership dues must be paid to the IESA Office at registration.



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