For school superintendents, principals and treasurers


Straight A Fund legislative changes for fiscal year 2015
As a result of Sub. H.B. 342, the following changes to the Straight A Fund have been enacted and are listed here.

Straight A Fund update meetings scheduled
Dr. Susan Zelman will present a Straight A Fund update at morning regional meetings. Find out the latest on the application, sustainability, program and cost-savings. If you are interested in attending, please register here:

Meeting dates and locations:
Southwest - March 6, Montgomery County Educational Service Center
Central - March 7, Educational Service Center of Central Ohio
Southeast - March 11, Athens-Meigs Educational Service Center
Northeast - March 13, Cuyahoga Valley Career Center - Conference Center

New Web page organizes information about field tests for Next Generation Assessments
ODE has launched a new web page organizing key information about Ohio’s field tests this spring. The site can be found here and includes both overview and technical information for test administrators, technology coordinators, teachers and families.

Field testing of the performance-based assessments in English language arts and math will begin March 24 and run through April 11. Field tests for the end-of-year assessments will be conducted May 5-June 6. Field testing of the performance-based assessments in science and social studies will begin March 24 and run through April 18. Field tests for the end-of-year assessments will be conducted May 5-May 16.

Medical questions related to upcoming statewide assessments addressed
Questions concerning emergency medical participation waivers continue to arise with the arrival of the testing cycle. The U.S. Department of Education recognizes that there are circumstances when it is not possible for the entire student body to participate in assessments. For this reason, the U.S. Department of Education allows states to exclude, for accountability purposes, students who “…cannot be assessed at any time during the testing window due to a significant medical emergency (e.g. a student is hospitalized due to an accident).” For the purpose of calculating the participation rate, a student experiencing such a significant medical emergency is eligible for a participation waiver.

Since a significant medical emergency is not foreseeable, medical waivers are, by nature, requested and evaluated annually. The U.S. Department of Education allows states to define those circumstances that represent a significant medical emergency.

The Ohio Department of Education will use the same emergency medical waiver process this year as was used during the 2012-13 school year. Districts can submit their facts through an emergency medical waiver application found here and through the submission of accompanying documentation, such as a doctor’s order or other medical information, that will help the agency to understand the nature of the emergency that has prevented the student from participating.

Questions concerning emergency medical participation waivers may be directed to Jackie Seward at (614) 387-7570.

USDA and USDE letter discusses Community Eligibility Provision
The United States Department of Agriculture and the United State Department of Education released a joint Community Eligibility Provision letter on Feb. 25. The Community Eligibility Provision of the Act provides local educational agencies and schools in low-income areas with an alternative approach for operating school meal programs.

School Improvement Grant application guidance available; webinar planned
Guidance videos for those planning to apply for a 2014-15 School Improvement Grant are available here. The three-part video series was created to help districts develop a successful plan and application.

In addition, the Ohio Department of Education will hold a webinar on Tuesday, March 11, at 10:30 a.m. to provide scoring guidance. Login information will be sent to all Priority School contacts in the coming days. Registration is not required. Districts applying for a School Improvement Grant are required to provide a scorer for each building application they submit. In addition to providing guidance for the scoring process, this webinar will help districts in evaluating their own responses prior to application submission.

The School Improvement Grant CCIP application opens March 20, and is due, marked “Authorized Representative Approved,” by April 11, 2014, by 5 p.m. The School Improvement Grant is awarded to selected schools on a competitive basis.

For more information, contact Diane Longstreth at diane.longstreth@education.ohio.gov or (614) 753-8726.

Changes to state law in calculating the school calendar year
Beginning with the 2014-2015 school year, traditional public school districts, chartered nonpublic schools and joint vocational school districts must comply with a minimum number of hours of instruction per school year instead of a minimum number of school days.  Please refer to the Ohio Department of Education website for guidance on schedule changes for more information on this new requirement. For a list of FAQs that addresses required days to required hours, click here.

Registration is open for 2014 roster verification application trainings
Ohio principals, building-level leaders and teachers who are either new to the roster verification process, or would like a refresher, should plan on participating in one of the application training sessions scheduled this spring.

These training sessions will assist participants in facilitating roster verification and in reconciling any teacher-student linkage issues. Principals who are new to the process are encouraged to select one of the half-day, in-person trainings that begin March 31 at one of five regional locations. Experienced principals and teachers can select a one-hour webinar tailored to their needs. To select a date, view the complete training schedule on the department’s website, where you also will see the complete schedule and resources related to roster verification. Register for a training session in STARS by accessing your SAFE account and searching by the desired date or the keywords roster verification.

Ohio School Facilities Commission School Security Grant Program Update
The application deadline for round one of the Security Entrance and Emergency Communication System grants is quickly approaching. The last date to apply for round one is March 15. If you have not yet applied and do not have your district-specific application link, please contact grants.info@ofcc.ohio.gov.

For those that have already been approved for a Security Entrance grant:

  • Security Entrance grants approved as Priority 1 have had funds reserved.
  • Security Entrance grants approved as Priority 2 are on a waiting list.
  • After the application deadline, if money is still available after funding all Priority 1 projects, then Priority 2 projects will be approved in the order received until reaching the available budget maximum amount.
  • Projects must be completed and reimbursement documentation submitted by Sept. 15, 2014.

If funding is still available on June 15, then round two will open for Security Entrance and Emergency Communication System grant applications. An email notification announcing round two funding availability will be sent at a future date.

For questions, please contact grants.info@ofcc.ohio.gov.

March 15 is application deadline for new Health Informatics programs
The Ohio Association of Career and Technical Superintendents is accepting applications for a third round of Health Informatics programs. The new pilots are possible through Race to the Top funds from the Ohio Department of Education. Each recipient will receive a $5,000 grant, materials, computer equipment and professional development and additional resources.

Qualifications for the FY2015 pilots include that teachers hold health and/or IT teaching certificates and that program students receive secondary career-tech credit. The form and other requirements are available here or from the association’s executive director Thomas Applegate.

Seven previous pilots have a four-course curriculum designed to prepare students for careers that blend health care and information technology. The Health Informatics initiative is a collaborative effort between the Office of Career-Technical Education and the Ohio Association of Career-Technical Association.

Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching nominations now open
Nominations for the 2014 Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching are being accepted now through April 1, for teachers in Grades K-6. For further information, click here.