Logo with shadow
Sandra C. Frisch, Superintendent

Apryl Morin,
Director, Community Schools
Governing Authority 
 November 2015
Quality People, Professional Services
Inspiring Minds ~ Building Futures
Legislation & Compliance Update 
House Bill 2 - Compliance  
On October 7, 2015, the Ohio legislature passed House Bill 2 (HB 2).  The bill includes higher accountability structures for Ohio's charter schools without compromising autonomy at the school level.  HB 2 has had months of public hearings and debate and ultimately received the bi-partisan support of both the Senate and the House.  This bill is currently on the Governors desk and will become law upon signature. 

Below are several items from the bill that relate specifically to compliance and governing authorities:
  • Governing board members will be required to file a disclosure statement annually (this statement must identify the names of any immediate relatives or business associates who are employed by the sponsor, the operator, any Educational Service Center with a contract, and any vendor that has engaged in business with the school over the last several years);
  • Governing board members will be required to complete annual training on public records and open meeting laws; 
  • Charter schools will be required to post the name of each governing board member on the school website (note:the only requirement are the names);
  • Board compensation will be limited to $125 per meeting ($60 per day for board training), and the annual compensation of $5000 will remain the total allowable amount;
  • A school's fiscal officer/treasurer will be required to be employed/engaged under contract direct with the school's governing board.  The governing board may annually approve a resolution waving this requirement but sponsor approval is required in advance; 
  • Provisions in the bill that held governing authority members personally liable have been removed.  

New Board Member Approval Process
In accordance with contract modifications for the 2015-2016 school year, there is a new pre-approval requirement of new board members from the ESCLEW Community Schools Office. As a reminder, this requirement went into effect on July 1st, 2015.

The Community Schools Office will not deny board member approval unless potential conflicts of interest are identified and/or the BCI/FBI background checks result in dis-allowable board membership. It is not our intention to determine who is/is not a viable board member in terms of experience, knowledge, etc, but simply hold your best interest and to avoid legal and compliance issues with acting board members.

The approval process for potential board members is as follows:
  • Prior to electing a new governing board member, the board/school must submit via email to the ESCLEW Compliance Officer directly (or submit the following documentation through Epicenter):
    • A BCI/FBI criminal background check of the potential member(s); 
    • The signed ESCLEW Governing Authority Conflict of Interest Disclosure Form (found in Epicenter or on the  ESCLEW website).
  • Approval/Disapproval of Board Members will occur as follows:
    • The Community School Operations Team Leader will verify that there are no criminal violations or conflicts which exist that would preclude the member from serving on the board; 
    • The Community Schools Operations Team Leader or Director will confirm approval via email within one week of submission or email specific reasons for disapproval. 
Please remember that new board members cannot be
appointed without prior ESCLEW approval.
Academics & Special Education Update 
House Bill 2 Update - Academics
Several compliance updates were provided above.  Below are academic changes that will be of interest for the school(s) in which you govern: 
  • Schools will be disallowed from entering into a contract with a new sponsor if they either (1) receive a grade of D or lower in value added or performance index (PI) on the most recent report card, or (2) for dropout prevention/credit recovery schools, receive a rating of "does not meet standards" for annual student growth measure and combined graduation rates;
  • A blended learning model review will now be required as part of annual ESCLEW opening assurances visit/sign-off for funding;
  • ODE will be charged with conducting a study to evaluate the validity and usefulness of a "similar students measure" created by the California charter schools association that accounts for demographic differences in assessing student academic progress (the report and recommendations are due by December 1st, 2016);
  • Community school contracts with the ESCLEW will now include several new additions, including report card measures (based on the Local Report Card -LRC) and blended learning models.
Performance Level Scores for Ohio's State Tests from 2014-2015
In September, the State Board of Education approved performance level scores for Ohio's state tests.  Performance labels will once again include: "advanced," "accelerated," "proficient," "basic," and "limited." The approved scores represent lower benchmarks than in previous years.  It is anticipated that roughly two out of every three students will score in the top three categories.  Note that benchmark scores were lowered this year, due to the more rigorous Common Core standards as well as changing assessments. As you may be aware, this was the last year for the PARCC exams, and the state is transitioning to the AIR exams.

As a board member, it will likely be difficult to draw any conclusions from the data or provide consequences for teachers, students and schools - as all have been granted "safe harbor" during the transition to new standards and tests.

FY 2015-2016 State Assessment Information
As part of the effort to create Ohio's State Tests for 2015-2016, ODE has published test blueprints for Math and English Language Arts covering grades 3-8 and high school.  The blueprints are an important milestone in Ohio's test development process.  Educators are currently building the new Math and English Language Arts tests (which will be aligned to the existing Ohio Learning Standards).  It is anticipated that the new test will be approximately 39-50% shorter than the previous PARCC tests.  The new tests are to be used starting this fall.    
Blueprints serve as guides for test construction and provide an outline of the content and skills to be measured on the tests. They contain information about individual tests, including the number of test items, the number of points on the tests and show how the learning standards are grouped in order to report the test results.
The blueprints are available at this link, and then under "General Resources."

 Also, there still will be two parts to the tests in Social Studies and Science, and these will not be revised other than renaming the performance based-assessment and end-of-year test to Part I and Part 2. There will be a window for these tests in the fall for high school (first semester courses) and a window in the spring (for yearlong and high school second semester courses). Within the window, community schools may have students complete both parts at once, or take part one, then part two on a second day. Click here for more information.

Third Grade Reading Guarantee

The Ohio Department of Education has updated its summary of the Third Grade Reading Guarantee policy.   

Except for a few community schools with special circumstances, students are now required  to meet a minimum score on the state reading test to move on to the fourth grade.  The minimum score for advancement in 2013-2014 was 392, and in 2014-2015 the minimum score was 394. The minimum score for advancement for 2015-2016 will be forthcoming.

This score must be attained either in the Fall or Spring administration of the state reading test. If a student remains in the third grade, the school must provide a high-performing reading teacher and 90 minutes of reading instruction each school day.  A student can still take fourth grade classes in all other subjects, if your administration deems them prepared. Additionally, schools may advance students to the fourth grade in the middle of the year if the student's reading improves.

Prepare for Online Assessments - Week of November 16th
During the week of Nov. 16, 2015, ODE encourages schools to participate in a computer-based testing trial. The trial provides an opportunity for your school(s), teachers and students to prepare for the computer-based Ohio State Tests by simulating test-day activities and network usage. The trial should confirm all testing devices and networks are properly configured and ready to administer tests. Your school test and technology coordinators will receive more details relative to this opportunity directly from ODE.

School Spotlight
Horizon Science Academy - Springfield
Kudos to Horizon Science Academy of Toledo and Horizon Science Academy of Springfield who teamed up to participate in Race for the Cure on Sunday, September 27, 2015  in honor of breast cancer survivor Mrs. Diaz, a Spanish teacher from their Toledo school. Horizon Springfield's cross country team practiced extra and held a bake sale to raise money for their entry fees. Way to go cross country members!
Summit Academy Community School - Warren Elementary
Congratulations to Summit Academy Warren Elementary who participate in a Community Service Project every month.  For September, their students and staff wrote letters to troops as part of "A Million Thanks" Program.  This is a great way for students to learn about sacrificing, dedication, and respect.  In November, the school plans to do a follow up assembly and invite all armed forces to this event.  

Upcoming Governing Authority Training Opportunities
The following trainings are approved and meet the new board member contract training requirement. If you identify a different training that you wish to attend to satisfy the board training requirement, please request approval from the Operations Team Leader at kaey@esclakeeriewest.org
Ohio Alliance of Public Charter Schools (OAPCS) Annual Conference
The OAPCS annual conference is an opportunity for board members to learn, network, share best practices, and hear dynamic keynote speakers who are leaders in innovation and quality.  This year's theme, "Coming of Age," is a tribute to the collective efforts of so many who have dedicated their time and expertise to fostering the success of Ohio's charter schools.  In line with this year's theme, the OAPCS has planned informative and engaging tracks on leadership, teaching/student achievement, legislative and advocacy/communications and charter accountability/finance.  
  • November 12 & 13, Columbus
Click here to register.
Ohio Attorney General Sunshine Law Training
Ohio's Public Records and Open Meetings laws, collectively known as the "Sunshine Laws," give Ohioans access to government meetings and records. The Ohio Attorney General's Office helps public officials and citizens understand their rights and responsibilities under these laws.
  • November 17, Columbus
  • December 8, Columbus
Click here to register. 
Ohio School Board Association (OSBA) - New Board Member Academy 
This intensive academy will focus on the world of boardmanship, communicating effectively, board policy 101, Ohio public school funding, transportation, employee relations issues, Sunshine Law and executive sessions.  
  • January 9, 2016 (Miamisburg or Independence)
  • January 23, 2016 (Perrysburg or Columbus)
Click here
 to register.

Career Guide for Teens with Disabilities: Hitting the Road after High School
Many high school students have no idea what they want to do after they graduate.
  • Explore their post-high school options
  • Make choices that are right for them
  • Find activities they can do now to get ready
  • Access support services to help them succeed
Follow the link to find tips and resources to help students pursue satisfying careers.
Every year, states receive a rating on their implementation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), known as their determination.  To evaluate each state's performance the U.S. Department of Education uses both procedural compliance and student results data, giving each equal weight.  This data results in one of four determinations - Meets Requirements, Needs Assistance, Needs Intervention, or Needs Substantial Intervention.

Ohio is one of 36 states receiving a 2015 determination of Needs Assistance.

Follow the link
to find out more about this determination and the results. 

National School Boards Association: How School Boards Influence Student Achievement
The actions of your board can have a major influence on student academic achievement, according to the findings of a recent student of Montana schools boards.   Read more about this here