From the Superintendent



Last month, I shared that we were busy reviewing HB555 to identify and summarize the more than 80 changes to share them with you. I anticipate that we will post a summary online later this week.

One of the more prominent provisions of the legislation is the framework for a letter grade based local report card. The bill requires the State Board of Education (SBOE) to create and implement the new system. This task is on the SBOE’s agenda as they meet today and tomorrow. I will share progress updates as they are available.

HB555 also made several changes to provisions in the Third Grade Reading Guarantee that expand the options teachers can use to demonstrate their abilities to provide reading instruction to students reading below grade level. ODE recently released new policy guidance to help explain these changes in more detail. The guidance document and other resources can be found on the Third Grade Reading Guarantee page on ODE’s website.

The most notable change to the guidance document involves teacher credentials. The new law expanded the ways teachers could demonstrate their ability to provide reading instruction to students reading below grade level. There is now a bridge year for the required credentials for the 2013-2014 school year. For the 2013-2014 school year only:

  • Teachers with a third grade student (not kindergarten through two) who was retained or is on a reading improvement and monitoring plan must have the special credentials outlined in law. The requirement expands to teachers in kindergarten through grade three in the 2014-2015 school year; and
  • Districts that cannot supply a sufficient number of qualified teachers to fulfill the requirements for the 2013-2014 school year can submit a plan by June 30, 2013 to ODE. This plan will outline how students affected by the Third Grade Reading Guarantee will be taught in 2013-2014 and how districts will meet the requirements in 2014-2015.

Last week, Education Week released its annual Quality Counts ratings tracking key education indicators and grading the states on policy efforts and outcomes. Ohio ranked 12th in the nation, earning a C+. Our overall grade reassures what we already know; we can do a better job of educating Ohio’s children and preparing them for future success. The full report, including links to the state report cards, can be found here.

Finally, I want to share with you the latest on Auditor of State Dave Yost’s review into data reporting issues. Last week Auditor Yost selected an additional 100 schools to include in the review. We continue to fully assist his office with this process and will release the final local report cards once the report is complete.

Thank you for all you do for Ohio's children.


Michael L. Sawyers