2019-2020 Sponsor Evaluation Process: Frequently Asked Questions

General Evaluation Questions

Quality Practices Component

Compliance Component


General Evaluation Questions

    With recent statutory updates to ORC 3314.016(B)(7)(b), what is the expectation for community school sponsors who have received an Effective or Exemplary rating for the three most recent consecutive review cycles?
    Due to statutory updates to ORC 3314.016(B)(7)(b), community school sponsors who have received an Effective or Exemplary rating for the three most recent consecutive review cycles will not be evaluated again until the 2021-2022 school year. If such sponsors receive another Exemplary or Effective rating at that time, they will be evaluated again for the 2024-2025 school year. If sponsors receive an Ineffective rating, sponsors will return to the annual evaluation cycle until they earn three consecutive Effective or Exemplary ratings.
     
    Sponsors who have received an Effective or Exemplary rating for the three most recent consecutive review cycles will not be required to submit documentation for the 2019-2020 or 2020-2021 review cycles, provided that the current law does not change. Sponsors required to participate in the evaluation in 2021-2022 will need to submit all the applicable documentation required at that time. 
     
    Although sponsors who have received an Effective or Exemplary rating for the three most recent consecutive review cycles will not have to participate in the sponsor evaluation process in 2019-2020 and 2020-2021, they will have to maintain documentation required by law available for audit purposes and to fulfill their legal responsibilities for their sponsored schools. Sponsors, by law, must provide technical assistance, oversight and monitoring to their schools, and must ensure that their schools are meeting all statutorily required fiscal, academic and operational requirements. Sponsors must ensure that schools adhere to their contracts regardless of their sponsor evaluation process participation status.

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    When will the list of selected schools for the quality and compliance components for the 2019-2020 sponsor evaluation be available in Epicenter?
    The list of selected schools for the quality component of the 2019-2020 evaluation will be available on the Department’s website in January 2020. The list of selected schools for the compliance component of the 2019-2020 sponsor evaluation will be posted following the June 30, 2020, document submission deadline.

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    What happens if I upload documentation to Epicenter that contains personally identifiable information (PII)?
    When uploading documents to Epicenter for the sponsor evaluation review, sponsors should be mindful of any confidential or personally identifiable student information that may be contained in the documents. Sponsors should not submit documentation that contains students’ personally identifiable information. Personally identifiable information is not pertinent to the evaluation and consequently will result in the sponsor being placed on a corrective action plan if visible confidential information is discovered by the evaluators.

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Quality Practices Component

    Can schools selected as the subset of schools in prior years be selected again in 2019-2020? For example, if a school was reviewed during the 2016-2017, 2017- 2018, or 2018-2019 evaluation, can it be selected for review during the 2019-2020 cycle?
    Yes, this could occur. Schools are randomly selected each evaluation cycle from the sponsor’s entire portfolio.

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    Explain the difference between the narrative option for standards on the quality rubric and the narrative field box in Epicenter. When should I use each and for what purposes?
    Sponsors opting to provide a narrative explanation for one or more of the standards included on the quality rubric must upload the narrative into Epicenter using the narrative template provided by the Department. For two of the standards, C.01 and C.02, because there are no required document uploads for these standards, sponsors opting to provide a narrative explanation must enter the narrative in the field provided on each of those standards in Epicenter.

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    What is the purpose of the memo template for document submission?
    The memo template is used when a sponsor has a document that is more than 25 pages long. For each quality standard, all documents that exceed 25 pages in length must include a memo that references the specific page numbers to be reviewed.

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    A.05 (Staff Expertise). What information should be included on a sponsor’s organizational chart?
    In addition to serving as a visual depiction of how the sponsor’s organization is structured, the organizational chart should include the names of the offices, departments, sections or units that make up the sponsoring organization, as well as the specific names and positions of staff members with sponsoring responsibilities. In short, one should be able to look at the organizational chart and see which areas specifically deal with sponsoring and the staff members assigned to positions in those areas. Job descriptions of each sponsoring position should also be included.

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    A.07 (Allocation of Resources). What needs to be included in the budget narrative?
    A budget narrative must provide context, explaining the sources of revenue and expenditures and how they relate to the sponsor’s operation. It should explain how the costs are estimated and justify the need for the costs as they relate to sponsoring responsibilities.

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    B.01 (Application Process, Timeline and Directions). Where does the planning stage fall in the process? For example, does it occur prior to application, between application and approval, or between approval and the first day of school?
    The planning stage begins once the sponsor notifies the school of approval.

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    B.01 (Application Process, Timeline and Directions). Which application for new community schools, replicators and schools seeking a change of sponsor should a sponsor submit?
    Because the sponsor evaluation is for the 2019-2020 school year, sponsors should submit the application that was applicable during this period.

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    C.01 (Contract Performance Measures). What does “all applicable state report card measures” mean?
    For traditional community schools, all applicable state report card measures include measures in the six graded component areas of the traditional Ohio school report cards. 3 For schools that receive Dropout Prevention and Recovery report cards, this includes measures in the four rated components on their report card. More information on the measures included on both the traditional state report card and the Dropout Prevention and Recovery report card is available here.

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    C.01 (Contract Performance Measures). What is the Gap Closing Component?
    The Gap Closing component shows how well schools are meeting performance expectations for all student subgroups in English language arts, math and graduation. It compares the academic performance of each subgroup against the expected performance goals for that subgroup to determine if there are gaps and if there is improvement. Click here to see the ten student subgroups. Sponsors that have schools with one or more of these student subgroups should have the Gap Closing measure on the performance framework of the contract, as well as other measures. The Gap Closing measure also shows how well schools are meeting the language proficiency expectations or improvement for English learners.

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    D.03 (On-Site Visits). Are sponsors supposed to review the school’s compliance with all applicable laws, rules, contractual obligations and academic performance measures at every site visit?
    For the purposes of the 2019-2020 sponsor evaluation, sponsors must submit evidence of conducting at least two on-site reviews, with one review during the first half of the school year and the second review during the second half of the school year. These two on-site reviews are not the monthly enrollment and financial reviews. Sponsors must show evidence that, over the course of the two site visits combined, they reviewed the selected schools’ compliance with all applicable laws and rules, all contractual obligations and all academic performance measures.

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    D.04 (Site Visit Reports). If sponsors use a checklist site visit instrument during school visits, can the sponsor simply give the school a copy of the completed checklist to serve as the site visit report?
    The 2019-2020 Quality Practices Rubric does not specify what type of document constitutes a site visit report. However, quality sponsoring practices suggest that a site visit report provides the school with more qualitative information. This includes comments about what the reviewer saw during the site visit and what steps are needed to improve or correct any deficiencies the reviewer discovered during the site visit. The site visit report should also include any areas of strength seen at the school. While sponsors may use any site visit protocols or checklists as their reports, sponsors may need to provide more information to adequately summarize the site visit and explain the reviewer’s findings.

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    D.06 (Intervention). What evidence can sponsors provide to show that they communicate with their schools the conditions that may trigger intervention and corrective action?
    There are several examples of evidence that sponsors can provide to show they communicated with their schools the conditions that may trigger intervention. Evidence may include clear and detailed written communication, meeting notes, meeting agendas and newsletters. If sponsors require their schools to confirm or sign off that they received this information, then a copy of the sign-off sheet could suffice as well. Additionally, if applicable, the documentation should identify the condition(s) that triggered the intervention and the actions taken by the sponsor following established policy.

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    E.05 (Closure Process). The rubric for this standard states “the sponsor submitted evidence of ensuring parents were notified of the school’s closure within two weeks.” Within two weeks of what? The sponsor needs to ensure parents
    The sponsor needs to ensure parents were notified within two weeks of when the school’s governing authority passed the resolution to close the school. The sponsor would need to provide evidence the school notified parents within two weeks of the resolution date. If the sponsor suspends operation of the school or terminates the school’s contract, the sponsor needs to submit evidence the school, or the sponsor if the school’s leadership is no longer functional, notified parents within two weeks of its action.

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Compliance Component

    When I enter the IRN for the school or sponsor on the compliance worksheet(s), I receive an error message. What should I do?
    Due to statutory requirements to post the sponsor evaluation system annually by July 15, any changes to sponsor or school names and their associated IRNs that occur between review cycles will not be updated in the logic formulas within the compliance worksheets. Department staff can manually fix this for sponsors. Sponsors should reach out to the sponsor evaluation staff at sponsor.evaluation@education.ohio.gov to request these changes and resolve any issues with the compliance worksheets.

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    Can sponsors use their compliance worksheets from previous years as a starting point for 2019-2020?
    No. The compliance worksheets are updated annually to reflect stakeholder feedback, provide clarification and incorporate any legislative changes. Further, the logic formulas for the worksheets may change, meaning the document is not the same from year to year. For specific compliance changes from the 2018-2019 to the 2019-2020 sponsor evaluation, sponsors are encouraged to view the change logs posted on the Department's website here. Sponsors can, however, view previously submitted compliance worksheets and supporting documentation in Epicenter.

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    In a situation where the community school has included many of its governing authority-approved policies in a school handbook, what serves as sufficient evidence of this?
    If the policy was included in a handbook or is part of a larger document, supporting evidence of approval should demonstrate that the governing authority approved the specific policy and it was a part of the handbook when it was approved. This may include detailed meeting minutes with the specific policy named. Ensure meeting minute attachments are also uploaded to Epicenter. If the documentation does not include information like the school year, title, date when the document was last approved or revised, and the school’s name, format the documentation to include this information.

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    Can the Department validate compliance items on the compliance worksheets?
    Beginning with the 2018-2019 sponsor evaluation review cycle, OAC 3301-102-08 allows the Department to validate items from the sponsor’s certification of compliance with all applicable laws and rules listed on the compliance worksheets. Compliance items for the sponsor as well as for the sponsor’s schools will be randomly selected from the validation pool posted on the 2019-2020 Sponsor Evaluation Tools webpage.

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    Many of the policies are required by the Ohio Administrative Code or the Ohio Revised Code. If the policy was submitted last year and has not changed, does it need to be resubmitted?
    Policies should be reviewed and updated regularly to meet compliance requirements, as well as to reflect any changes in legislation. If you would like to use documentation that has been previously submitted against a new requirement, you must complete this task through the Compliance Center ONLY. If you have additional questions, please contact the Epicenter Help Desk or your assigned consultant.

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    If a sponsor places a school on a corrective action plan (CAP) for non-compliance of an item listed on the compliance spreadsheets, what elements are required to be addressed in the CAP?
    The corrective action plan should outline the steps necessary and a course of action to bring the school to compliant status by the next sponsor evaluation review cycle. The corrective action plan MUST have actionable steps, with specific dates and deadlines for completion, and should specifically address the compliance item for which the school was not compliant. Corrective action plans submitted in previous evaluation cycles will be reviewed by the evaluators and included in the 2019-2020 sponsor evaluation review process for comparison purposes for applicable compliance items.

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    Pupil Transportation – Do community schools that do not provide daily transportation to and from school for their students but do provide transportation for field trips need to comply with pupil transportation laws?
    Yes, any community school, employees of the community school, or contracted vendors of the community school that provide transportation for any students of the school must follow all legal requirements pertaining to pupil transportation.

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    Special Education – # 171, 172, 174, 175, 176, 177 and 178. What evidence is needed to show that the school’s special education policies and procedures are compliant?
    The school should provide evidence it has adopted written policies and procedures addressing the specific compliance item. The school can adopt the Ohio Model Special Education Policies and Procedures; however, it should include any supporting evidence that the school’s board adopted or approved the policy and procedures. This may include board meeting minutes and corresponding documents reviewed at meetings. The minutes should specifically cite the policy that board reviewed or approved.

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    #309 – The school is not issued a dropout recovery and prevention report card. However, if I select “No,” the certification determination that populates is “Sponsor Certified Not Compliant.” How do I indicate this is not applicable to my school?
    Sponsors should answer both questions accurately and the vendor will be instructed to review for an appropriate compliance determination based off of the answers rather than the original determination.   

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    #504 – Does the five-year forecast suffice for documentation for this item?
    No. The relevant statute (ORC 3314.03) specifies per pupil expenditures must be included in the financial plan submitted by the school for each year of the contract. The five-year forecast template does not have per pupil expenditures and may not align with contract terms. Sponsors should refer to ORC 3314.03 for additional guidance.

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    #611 – Is the charter agreement between the sponsor and the school sufficient evidence for this item?
    ORC 3314.03(A) requires a contract and ORC 3314.03(B) requires a separate comprehensive plan to be submitted by the school. If a comprehensive plan is submitted as a separate document that is included as an attachment or exhibit to the contract, it will be considered in the review process.

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    #612 – Will this item be included as part of the compliance component review for 2019-2020?
    This item will be disregarded for the 2019-2020 sponsor evaluation cycle as House Bill 166 repealed the applicable statute for this item. Sponsors do not need to respond to this item on the Oversight of Schools worksheet.

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    #660 – What type of documentation should a sponsor submit to demonstrate that the school has been established as a nonprofit or a public benefit corporation?
    If the school is established as either a nonprofit corporation or a public benefit corporation, a copy of the school’s nonprofit certificate should be provided for this item. The nonprofit certificate must be issued by the Ohio Secretary of State and must be current.

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    #703 – Not all students are enrolled by August 1. Therefore, a letter cannot be sent to parents prior to that date. Is documentation of the required information being sent sufficient or is it strictly August 1?
    In accordance with ORC 3313.673(B), the school must provide parents with required information regarding screenings prior to August 1. For students enrolled prior to August 1, the sponsor should upload documentation to reflect that it provided the requisite notice. Sponsors should refer to ORC 3313.673 for additional guidance.

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    #903 – What needs to be included in the policy for this item?
    The parental involvement policy must specifically address foster caregivers either within the definition of a parent or guardian or specifically use the term foster caregivers. Sponsors should refer to ORC 3313.472 for additional guidance.

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Last Modified: 2/6/2020 3:02:11 PM