Sandra C. Frisch, Superintendent
Director, Community Schools Center
Quality People, Professional Services
Inspiring Minds ~ Building Futures
Highlight on New Legislation
The Ohio legislature passed a number of education bills so far this year, three of which have significance for community schools. These bills will go into effect on March 23, 2015. We have provided a synopsis of the major changes below, and more detailed guidance may go out to our schools and governing authorities in the coming month regarding new obligations both for schools and for sponsors. In addition, some of these changes will require modification to the community school contract between ESCLEW and its sponsored community schools. The modifications should be sent out to schools by mid-April.
The legislature is also busy with a number of proposed changes for community schools in the Governor's budget proposal and other bills. We are closely monitoring these potential amendments and keep our governing authorities up to date as these changes come into focus.
House Bill 367 - Education Changes
HB 178 makes the following changes in a number of areas, including assessment:
House Bill 10 - Fiscal Changes
HB 10 makes the following changes to community school fiscal accountability and oversight by sponsors:
- Requires sponsors to meet with the school's fiscal officer every month and provide a written report of the financial review to the fiscal officer and to the governing authority within 10 days. This change will affect all community schools and create an additional requirement of a monthly meeting for school treasurers.
- Creates fiscal accountability requirements for public schools that have been declared un-auditable by the Auditor of State and expands accountability for community school fiscal officers.
- Requires new start-up community schools to post a surety bond or cash deposit of $50,000 with the Auditor of State before opening for operation.
House Bill 178 - PBIS and Safety Drills
HB 178 makes the following changes to safety requirements and behavior intervention requirements:
- Requires schools to have a Positive Behavioral Intervention and Supports (PBIS) policy, which includes a Seclusion and Restraint policy. Many community schools have already adopted PBIS policies in anticipation of this change.
- Changes requirements to the number of fire and safety drills that schools must conduct.
Community School Information
Career and Technical Education (CTE) News
Community schools have the option to apply for career tech funding, though it is a difficult path for many community schools. Currently, only 13 community schools in the state offer CTE. Hiring and retaining staff pose barriers for most community schools because only 25% of allocated CTE funding may be used for staffing. Schools must also go through an application process which requires approval by the sponsor, CTPD lead districts, and ODE. Despite these barriers, some schools have managed successful programs and ESCLEW encourages creative mission-driven thinking in our schools. If any schools are considering adding CTE in the future, we encourage schools to discuss this option with the school's regional representative.
The Ohio Ethics Committee published an article in their November/December newsletter detailing gift giving policies. The following prohibitions have been put into place:
- A current or former public official or employee may not represent anyone before a public agency, including a former employer on contracts, decisions, or other matters in which the official was previously involved for a year after their departure.
- An official or employee may not profit from a contract that was approved by a board he served on at the time it was approved, even if the official did not participate in the approval.
The Ethics Commission also defined restricted activity and representation in more depth. The Ethics Law states that a public employee cannot accept anything that could hinder their public duties. Some of these items include: tickets to the theater, sporting events, vacations, expensive meals, or golf outings. Inexpensive gifts are deemed acceptable. The article emphasizes that the law does not prohibit socialization, but rather the necessary conduct in the event of being offered a "substantial gift."
Click here for further information or questions regarding these policies.
Analyzing the State of Ohio Charter Schools: CREDO, Bellwether, and NACSA reports
A recent release of three different reports examining at the state of charter schools in Ohio has garnered much attention and many questions. Two of the three reports -- CREDO and Bellwether -- were funded by the Fordham Foundation (who has a sponsorship division in Ohio). The Bellwether report, in particular, seems to be influencing many of the current legislative proposals. Many of the recommendations address sponsor (also called "authorizer") accountability and look to the sponsors to put in place stricter measures to ensure that bad practices stop and that poorly performing schools are closed and not allowed to continue under a different sponsor. Click on the report names above to download the full reports.
Kudos for Exceptional Efforts!
Constellation Schools: Lorain Community Elementary
The Ohio Department of Education recently named Constellation Schools: Lorain Community Elementary a High Progress School of Honor. The Schools of Honor program looks at schools with a high percentage of students from economically disadvantaged homes and tracks the performance of all students in these areas for the five most recent years. It spotlights schools that have shown sustained progress in student performance by all students over that time period. Congratulations to all of the hard working staff and students of Constellation Schools: Lorain Community Elementary!
Horizon Science Academy - Cleveland
In its 2014 high school rankings, Newsweek recognized Horizon Science Academy - Cleveland as: "One of the top schools in the nation that provides the best chance for success to all its students regardless of their income level or background." This is not the first national recognition for Horizon Cleveland, and we commend the school for its continued success.
Summit Academy Schools
On Sunday November 17th, Summit Academy Management hosted
A Night Of Rhythm And Steel featuring Freddy Harris III at The Tangier in Akron. The sold out show featured performances by Summit Academy Akron Secondary Music Class, Summit Academy Youngstown Secondary Bucket Band, Summit Academy Akron After-School Steel Drum Program and Steel Soul, an all-star band consisting of Jason Gittinger, Jonathon Moody, Christopher Reeher, Carmen Bruno and Freddy Harris III. This was truly a night to remember!
Upcoming Governing Authority Training Opportunities
The following trainings may be applied toward the community school contract training requirement. If you have found a different training that you wish to attend to satisfy your board training requirement, please request approval from Emilie Vassar at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ethics Commission - Ethics Law Training Webinars
The Ohio Ethics Commission presents monthly one-hour webinars to provide convenient and helpful training opportunities. The 2014 webinars were designed to give learners options for those new to the Ohio Ethics Law and those returning learners for more in-depth discussion on specific provisions of the law.
- March 26 - Overview
- April 22 - Conflict of Interest
- May 18 - Overview
Click here to register or to view future events.
Ohio School Board Association (OSBA)
OSBA experts will discuss the role of the board in improving student achievement and the research-based steps boards must take to assist in improving achievement. OLAC experts will explain the proven resources and tools they have built through the years of discussion and piloting with school districts.
- March 10, 5:30-9:00 PM - Tri-County Educational Service Center, Wooster, Ohio
- March 18, 5:30-9:00 PM - Vantage Career Center, Van Wert, Ohio
Click here for more information, to register, or to view more events from the Ohio School Boards Association.
Ohio Attorney General's Office - Sunshine Law Training
The Sunshine Law Certification Training, provided by the Ohio Attorney General's Office, is a three-hour certification training session provided to all elected officials, and/or their appropriate designees, as well as members of the general public. The training session is provided in order to enhance the knowledge of public offices regarding the duty to provide access to public records as required by Section 149.43 of the Ohio Revised Code. The session will include discussion on the Ohio Public Records Act and the Ohio Open Meetings Act.
- March 26 - Cuyahoga County Council, Cleveland, Ohio
- April 17 - Owens Community College, Perrysburg, Ohio
- May 20 - Lakeland Community College, Kirtland, Ohio
- June 18 - Public Library of Cincinnati & Hamilton County
Click here to register for any of these events.
School governing authority members may receive questions about finding and retaining a good principal within their schools. It is a hard job, with intense hours with many barriers. This article examines the factors and findings of why quality principals are so difficult to find.
"The Cultured Club," from the March 2009 issue of American School Board Journal, deals with the internal culture of school boards and how the culture can be improved to benefit everyone in the school.
Are your governing authority and school doing a good job at selling the school's success stories? Playing the media game is harder in this era of education-bashing. Schools can get smarter about how they pitch stories, craft press releases, package news, and grab media attention. This article provides considerations to influence positive vs. negative media coverage.