January 3, 2011
Happy New Year!
I hope this weekly greeting finds you still relishing your time
over the past few weeks – reconnections with family and friends;
perhaps a good book on a long, lazy afternoon; watching children
capturing snowflakes on their tongues; or creating new memories
with friends. No matter how you spent your time over the last couple
of weeks, it is now time to recapture our optimism about our work
with children! As we head into a new year, I am certain that our
collective energies will allow us to continue the good work in which
we have been engaged – preparing our students for a world
whose parameters are constantly changing. As we begin to consider
the possibilities of the upcoming year, I want to share some information
to keep in mind as this year unfolds.
Recently the State Board of Education prepared a biennial budget
request for Ohio’s public schools with recommendations for
necessary legislative actions. The budget (Flat Plus Scenario) recently
submitted to the Office of Budget and Management is intended to
help maintain existing educational programming with limited expanded
investments in targeted areas of need while simultaneously considering
the economic environment Ohio now faces.
The challenges facing primary and secondary education demand that
our educational system meets the individual needs of every student.
Certainly one of the most pressing current needs for primary and
secondary education is how to fund various initiatives and reforms
that are necessary to strengthen the work in which Ohio has been
engaged during the past decade. Ohio continues to engage in all
potential sources of funding. For example, through Race to the Top
(RttT), Ohio will receive $400 million over four years to work on
specific reform initiatives. It’s important to note that the
RttT funding is not intended to be used to “back-fill”
shortfalls in the state’s education budget. Our staff has
been working diligently with the U.S. Department of Education to
ensure that all of their requirements are met for accessing the
RttT funds. Additionally, many of the RttT positions contained in
Ohio’s proposal are on their way to being filled. We will
keep you posted as this important work continues.
While 2011 will bring its own share of challenges and uncertainties,
I know our educators and leaders have both the character and the
capacity to rise to the task at hand and collaborate on improving
and enhancing Ohio’s education system. Working together, we
can help our state to develop practices needed to reform our K-12
education system and ensure all students are well prepared to meet
the demands of an increasingly global economy.
While we never can predict the highs and lows of any new year,
I do know that we can remain true to our mission and employ our
mutual respect to support and inspire one another. Please accept
my genuine gratitude and deep appreciation for the work in which
you are engaged every day. Our collective focus on supporting our
students and their families is to be applauded.
Please be sure to scroll down and read the important information
that follows this letter, especially that which highlights proposed
changes to the value-added rules.
Best wishes for a joyful and rewarding 2011!
News items that may be of interest or require follow-up are:
changes to value-added rules
· ODE among
presenters at Ohio Educational Technology Conference
· U.S. Census
data and related teaching resources released
· Apply by
Jan. 17 for USDOE Teaching Ambassador Fellowship program
opens for annual Ohio Economic-Education Summit
conservation education program accepting applications
Guest Teacher Program applications due Feb. 15
on Chippewa High School, Tipp City High School and Suffield Elementary
Proposed changes to value-added rules
At the January meeting of the State Board of Education, its Achievement
Committee will be discussing important proposed changes to the value-added
The proposed rules substantively change the system in three ways:
1. Establish a more rigorous
statistical definition for the growth standard, moving it from one
to two standard errors of measurement. This change aligns
the standard with the Battelle for Kids SOAR project. It
is widely recognized as a more appropriate standard for distinguishing
highly effective or unsatisfactory performance from performance
that meets the standard, and it will be used for Race to the Top
purposes as well.
2. Change the requirement for
the time frame for value-added to impact report card ratings. Currently,
it takes two years of “above expected” growth to receive
a boost in the report card rating. This will be shortened
to one year. Likewise the penalty for “below expected”
growth will be triggered in two years rather than the current three.
3. Add an alternate
path for schools and districts to achieve a rating of “excellent
with distinction.” If test results at the advanced
or accelerated level are 75 percent of a school’s results
(or two-thirds for districts), this highest rating will be awarded.
This also will provide an avenue for high schools that do not currently
receive a value-added computation to become “excellent with
We recognize that value-added will continue to be a significant
factor in our accountability system. Improving the implementation
of the measure will provide greater fairness and credibility to
the way we publicly rate our schools. These specific proposals emerged
from helpful discussions with the membership of the Buckeye Association
of School Administrator’s Report Card committee and numerous
superintendents, Battelle for Kids, and other stakeholders. The
changes also are intended to move to a single value-added system
in Ohio that incorporates all of the beneficial diagnostic features
currently employed in the Battelle for Kids SOAR project. Finally,
these changes will position us to meet the challenges of changes
to our accountability system that will result from the implementation
of new standards and assessments.
For more information about the proposed rules changes, please contact
Matt Cohen by calling (614) 752-8729 or e-mailing him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
ODE among presenters at Ohio Educational Technology
The Ohio Educational Technology Conference will offer more than
and displays featuring best practices and strategies for leadership,
integration and implementation that use the latest trends in emerging
technologies. The conference will be conducted in Columbus by the
eTech Ohio Commission on Jan. 31 to Feb. 2.
Among sessions of interest to all districts is the Technology
for Transformation program on Monday at 1 p.m., in which a
panel of ODE staff will describe the Instructional Improvement System
(IIS), a technology for easily managing student data and transforming
classroom instruction. Using IIS, educators will be able to create
cycles for continuous instructional improvement that drive individualized
instruction for each student. The IIS will be of particular benefit
to districts participating in Race to the Top (RttT) as it will
assist administrators in reporting required data.
On Tuesday, Feb. 1 at 9 a.m., ODE Chief Operating Officer Francis
Pompey will provide a description of the latest local, state and
national trends related to technology in education. Also on Tuesday
and on Wednesday, RttT districts are encouraged to attend their
regions’ Connect Collaborate Change sessions,
where they will meet contacts from other nearby RttT districts and
schools as well as ODE staff leading the RttT initiative. During
these sessions, participants will be invited to offer feedback about
the IIS and ask questions about their RttT participation.
For complete details about the 2011 Ohio Educational Technology
Conference, visit the eTech
Ohio Conference Page. Graduate credit options will be offered,
and team and student rates are available. For assistance with registration,
contact eTech at (877) 383-2406 or email@example.com.
U.S. Census data and related teaching resources released
On Dec. 21, the U.S. Census Bureau released its first round of 2010
Census data, including resident population for the nation and states,
as well as congressional apportionment totals for each state. To
assist teachers in using this information in the classroom, the
bureau also released new lesson
plans and interactive resources for kindergarten through grade
12. The materials will help educators and students learn about the
roles that census data play in apportionment decisions that shape
the U.S. House of Representatives every 10 years.
The bureau’s short animated video
provides an introduction to how the apportionment process works.
In addition, students can explore trends in the country’s
changing population using an interactive
map that showcases census data from 1910 to 2010. The map provides
population, population density and apportionment data for each state,
as well as Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia.
For more information about all Census
in the Schools resources, please call (301) 763-INFO (4636)
or (800) 923-8282.
Apply by Jan. 17 for USDOE Teaching Ambassador Fellowship
Prekindergarten through grade 12 teachers with at least five years’
experience may apply for the U.S. Department of Education’s
2010-2011 Teaching Ambassador Fellowship (TAF) program. U.S. Secretary
of Education Arne Duncan says that TAF fellows serve as “the
voice of teachers in the Department and truly act as ambassadors
to teachers, students and parents across the country.”
The TAF program offers two tracks: the Washington Fellowship,
which is a full-time appointment based at USDOE in Washington,
D.C.; and the Classroom Fellowship, which allows
teachers to continue teaching in their schools while participating
in the TAF program on a part-time consultancy basis through USDOE’s
Fellows spend one year learning about key federal programs and
policies, including their design and implementation. They also share
their expertise with federal staff members; provide outreach and
communication about federal education initiatives to other educators;
and encourage teachers to get involved in developing and implementing
federal education efforts to improve their effectiveness. As many
as 10 Classroom Fellows and up to five Washington Fellows will be
selected for 2011-2012. Teachers who have a record of leadership,
strong communication skills and insight from their classroom experiences
are encouraged to apply.
For more information and application instructions, click here.
Questions may be directed to Gillian Cohen-Boyer at (202) 401-1259
Registration opens for annual Ohio Economic-Education
Education leaders, district board members and business/community
leaders are encouraged to participate in the Ohio Economic-Education
Summit IV, which will be held Feb. 21-23 in Columbus.
This annual summit is designed to provide information and forge
partnerships for continued alignment between education and business/industry
in six industry sectors: advanced energy, aerospace/propulsion,
agriculture/bioproducts, biomedicine, logistics and materials science.
ODE’s Office of Career-Technical Education has been planning
the summit in collaboration with the Governor’s office, the
Ohio Department of Development, Ohio Board of Regents, Ohio Department
of Job and Family Services, BioOhio and the Ohio Association for
Career and Technical Education.
For online registration, a draft agenda with keynote presenters,
and videos and fact sheets about each industry sector, please visit
International conservation education program accepting
Project Dragonfly – which offers international conservation
studies in 12 countries throughout Africa, Asia, Australia and the
Americas – is accepting applications through Jan.
28 for 2011 summer/fall Earth Expeditions graduate courses
and the Global Field Program master’s degree program. The
studies are open to educators and other professionals from all disciplines
and settings, regardless of grade level or academic focus.
Created by Miami University and the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical
Garden, Project Dragonfly brings together graduate students, scientists,
educators and community leaders at critical conservation field sites
worldwide. In addition to new courses in Australia and Guyana, sites
for 2011 include the Amazon, Baja, Belize, Borneo, Costa Rica, Kenya,
Mongolia, Namibia, Thailand and Trinidad.
Tuition for seven graduate credits and all basic in-country expenses
are covered in the $1,250 course costs. Accepted students are responsible
for airfare. For more information and to apply, please visit the
websites for Earth
Expeditions or the Global
Field Program, or contact Connie Malone at EarthExpeditions@muohio.edu
or (513) 529-5103.
Project Dragonfly also offers additional master’s degrees
in conjunction with universities in selected U.S. cities, including
Cincinnati and Cleveland. For information about these new master’s
programs, click here.
Chinese Guest Teacher Program applications due Feb.
The Chinese Guest Teacher Program, jointly administered by the College
Board and ODE (in partnership with the National Council of State
Supervisors for Languages), is designed to help U.S. schools develop
Chinese language and culture study programs and to promote international
exchange between the United States and China. The program provides
an experienced language teacher from mainland China for the host
school or district for one to three years.
Key benefits include:
· The ability
for a host school to expand or start a Chinese language program,
laying the foundation for a well-articulated Chinese program over
· A subsidy
of a portion of each guest teacher’s salary, allowing schools
to build their Chinese programs more affordably;
· An opportunity
for students to learn authentic Chinese language and interact with
native Chinese speakers; and
· The advantage
of having Chinese guest teachers serve as cultural resources in
other subject areas.
For more information and an application to request a Chinese guest
teacher for the 2011-2012 school year, click here.
Direct any questions to Ryan Wertz, ODE world languages consultant,
at (614) 728-4630 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
All application materials must be submitted directly to the College
Board no later than Feb. 15.
Spotlight on Chippewa High School, Tipp City High School
and Suffield Elementary
students throughout Ohio know that local food pantries have been
receiving increasing numbers of requests for assistance from families
who are challenged to put food on the table. Among those who have
responded to the call for help are Chippewa High School students
in Wayne County (at left), who collected 12,700 cans of food. The
students also helped sort and box 23,000 items for their local food
The students of the Drama and Octagon clubs at Tipp City High School
in Miami County dressed in costumes for a door-to-door canned goods
collection that raised more than 1,200 pounds of food for the Tipp
Suffield Elementary of Field Local Schools in Portage County supported
its local food shelf by collecting 1,288 canned items and raising
more than $1,400 through donations and a school garage sale. Principal
Shawn Bookman said that through the experience, “Suffield
students have demonstrated the character trait of caring
in so many ways.”
Congratulations to all of these students for their generosity
and success in supporting local food pantries!
Note: If your students are engaged in helping
their communities and you would like to share what they are doing,
send an e-mail to email@example.com
and include “Spotlight” and your school or district
in the subject line. We also are pleased to receive digital images
of these activities.
Follow ODE’s Twitter feed by clicking here.