2021-2022 Sponsor Evaluation Process Frequently Asked Questions

General Evaluation Questions

Compliance Component

Quality Practices Component


General Evaluation Questions

    1. Which sponsors are included in the 2021-2022 evaluation? Which are exempted?
    Any sponsor that did not meet the exemption requirement included in Ohio Revised Code 3314.016(B)(7)(b) is included in the 2021-2022 evaluation. Sponsors that received an overall sponsor rating of Exemplary or Effective for 2016-2017, 2017-2018 and 2018-2019 are exempted from the 2021-2022 sponsor evaluation.
     
    Exempted sponsors still 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 their schools are meeting all statutorily required fiscal, academic and operational requirements. In addition, sponsors must ensure schools adhere to their contracts regardless of their sponsor evaluation process participation status.
     
    Please refer to the document titled Sponsor-Evaluation_UpdatedFAQ_April2021 on the 2020-2021 Sponsor Evaluation Tools web page for more information on the 2021-2022 sponsor evaluation.
     

    Back to Top


    2. What happens if I upload documentation to Epicenter that has personally identifiable information (PII)?
    When uploading documents to Epicenter for the sponsor evaluation review, sponsors should not submit documentation that contains personally identifiable information. Personally identifiable information, such as dates of birth and social security numbers, is not pertinent to the evaluation. Documentation with personally identifiable information will be removed from Epicenter and will not be considered in the sponsor evaluation review.
     

    Back to Top


Compliance Component

    1. When I enter the IRN for the school or sponsor on the compliance worksheet(s), I receive an error message. What should I do?
    Sponsors should reach out to the sponsor evaluation staff at sponsor.evaluation@education.ohio.gov to request corrections to school or sponsor names and to resolve any other issues with the compliance worksheets.
     

    Back to Top


    2. Will Epicenter open in December so sponsors can upload the required compliance documentation for each item?
    Epicenter will open in December for document submission. However, for compliance, sponsors only have to submit the completed worksheets, the completed certification sign-off form and any applicable Corrective Action Plans by June 30, 2022. A randomly selected item list for validation will be released on July 1, 2022. Sponsors will have until July 22, 2022, to submit documents responsive to items on that list for each school.
     

    Back to Top


    3. How will the Department validate compliance items on the compliance worksheets?
    To meet the requirements of Ohio Administrative Code 3301-102-08, the Department must validate randomly selected items from the sponsor’s certification of compliance with all applicable laws and rules listed on the compliance worksheets. In addition to the items for which sponsors will submit documentation or that are validated during an on-site review, additional items will be selected for validation using information available at the Department. Compliance items for the sponsor, as well as for the sponsor’s schools, will be randomly selected from the validation pool posted on the 2021-2022 Sponsor Evaluation Tools webpage.

    Back to Top


    4. Can sponsors use their compliance worksheets from previous years as a starting point for 2021-2022?
    No. Although the item numbers remain the same from year to year, 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 due to changes in the questions. For convenience, changes from the 2020-2021 to 2021-2022 sponsor evaluation are highlighted or presented in a different color font on the 2021-2022 tools and are also included on the change log.  

    Back to Top


    5. Many of the policies are required by the Ohio Administrative Code or 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 the sponsor would like to use documentation that has been previously submitted against a new requirement, it can be done using the “reuse” or “previously uploaded file” functions in Epicenter.  Please contact the Epicenter Help Desk or the sponsor’s assigned consultant from the Office of Community Schools with any additional questions or for Epicenter assistance.

    Back to Top


    6. 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.
     

    Back to Top


    7. #109 – If I submit a blended learning declaration for the 2021-2022 school year after the July 1, 2021 deadline, how will the deadline submission be evaluated for compliance?

    ORC 3302.41 requires schools to submit a blended learning declaration by July 1 of the school year for which the declaration will apply.  However, S.B. 229 extends that deadline until April 30, 2022 for the 2021-2022 school year.  Therefore, schools that submit a blended learning declaration by April 30, 2022 will be found to be compliant with this item.  

    Back to Top


    8. #168 – Since the model curriculum regarding peace officer interaction is not yet available for the 2021-2022 school year, will this item be considered as “Not Applicable” for schools on the compliance section of the sponsor evaluation? 

    Yes, Item 168 will be considered as “Not Applicable” for all schools for the 2021-2022 school year.  As the compliance worksheet does not allow sponsors to select “Not Applicable,” the needed adjustment will be made by the Department after the worksheet submission deadline. 

    Back to Top


    9. #504 – Does the five-year forecast suffice as 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.
     

    Back to Top


    10. #661 – What would suffice as evidence to show that the sponsor and its school do not have the same attorney and/or law firm working for them during contract negotiations? 

    Evidence could be a copy of the work agreement/contract that the attorney has with the school, especially if the contract includes a provision that specifies the “working independently of sponsor and/or operator” point. It could also be documents related to contract negotiations that include information on both the school’s attorney and the sponsor’s attorney, as well as meeting notes that show that attorneys from both sides participated.

    Back to Top


    11. #662 – Is the contract between the sponsor and school sufficient evidence for a comprehensive plan?
    No. ORC 3314.03(B) requires a separate comprehensive plan to be submitted to the sponsor by the school.

    Back to Top


    12. #671 – If a school does not have an employee application, is the school required to develop one and then put the required statement included in ORC 3319.393(A) on it? 

    Not having a formal application does not waive this requirement for a school.  The issue is whether the required statement of ORC 3319.393(A) is somehow provided to potential employees prior to their submission of information to the school.  So no, schools don’t have to develop an employment application if that is not part of their application process, but they should be ensuring that when they are considering someone for employment, they are providing this statement to that person before that person provides any info (e.g., resume, etc.) to the school. 

    Back to Top


    13. #703 – Not all students are enrolled by Aug. 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 Aug. 1?
    In accordance with ORC 3313.673(B), the school must provide parents with required information regarding screenings prior to Aug. 1. For students enrolled prior to Aug. 1, the sponsor should upload documentation to reflect that it provided the requisite notice. Sponsors should refer to ORC 3313.673 for additional guidance.

    Back to Top


    14. #973 – What evidence can sponsors provide for this item?  What is the data sharing agreement?

    There is a form schools complete to be in compliance with ORC 3313.6026.  Sponsors can see which community schools have signed the data sharing agreement by going to the FAFSA dashboard (https://www.ohio-k12.help/fafsa/), filtering by School Type, and looking at who is labeled “Participating.”  Evidence for this item could be a copy of the data sharing agreement signed by the school or a screenshot of the FAFSA dashboard showing that the school is listed as “Participating.” 

    Back to Top


Quality Practices Component

    1. Can schools selected as the subset of schools in prior years be selected again in 2021-2022? For example, if a school was reviewed during the 2018-2019, 2019-2020 or 2020-2021 evaluation, can it be selected for review during the 2021-2022 cycle?
    Yes, this could occur. Schools are randomly selected from the sponsor’s entire portfolio each evaluation cycle.

    Back to Top


    2. What is 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 should upload the narrative into Epicenter using the narrative template provided by the Department. Two of the standards, C.01 and C.02, do not allow document uploads, so sponsors opting to provide a narrative explanation should enter the narrative in the field provided on each of those standards in Epicenter.

    Back to Top


    3. 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 should include a memo that references the specific page numbers to be reviewed.
     

    Back to Top


    4. 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.
     

    Back to Top


    5. A.07 (Allocation of Resources). What needs to be included in the budget narrative?
    A budget narrative must provide context that explains 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.
     

    Back to Top


    6. 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?
    The sponsor evaluation is for the 2021-2022 school year, sponsors should submit the application that is applicable during this period.
     

    Back to Top


    7. 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 the measures and components on the Ohio School Report Cards. Some measures may not apply, for example a school that serves only grades K – 6 would not have a graduation measure. For schools that receive Dropout Prevention and Recovery report cards, this includes measures and components on their report card. Details on the report cards are available here.
     

    Back to Top


    8. 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 2021-2022 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. Should an ordered school building closure occur, sponsors should refer to the second note on the quality rubric for adjustments to this standard.
     

    Back to Top


    9. 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 2021-2022 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 also should include any areas of strength observed 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. Should an ordered school building closure occur, sponsors should refer to the second note on the quality rubric for adjustments to this standard.
     

    Back to Top


    10. D.06 (Intervention). What evidence can sponsors provide to show they communicated 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.
     

    Back to Top


Last Modified: 1/20/2022 10:47:20 AM