School Closure Date Extended Until May 1 – As expected, Governor DeWine extended the school closure order until May 1. Clearly, this date is not set in stone. OAGC will continue to share information about the status of school closures as we receive it.
OAGC Gifted Identification Practices Survey – OAGC is currently asking gifted coordinators to participate in a survey regarding gifted testing and identification. The survey can be accessed at https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLScMnD-9YJeSfQPf4TCT1r_cXs8so_nvmiAMQ-qOC_5hMKsHJg/viewform . We ask that you fill out the survey by April 24th, if possible.
COVID-19 Education Law Changes – Last week the Ohio General Assembly met to address pressing issues to the COVID-19 crisis. Here is a brief summary of these issues.
- Waives state testing and report cards for the 2019-2020 school year & creates a safe harbor from sanctions for schools; permits seniors to graduate if school determines on track to do so prior to the COVID-19 emergency; local school determine promotion for Third-Grade Reading Guarantee; makes evaluations permissive and prohibits the use of value-added data; excludes academic performance data from being used in sponsor ratings this year; allows Chancellor and State Supt to waive College Credit Plus timelines/requirements during the COVID-19 emergency. These changes are relevant to some of our gifted students, particularly those who are in College Credit Plus or who would like to enroll next year. The date for both public and non-public/homeschool students to provide an intent to participate has been pushed to May 1. The Ohio Department of Higher Education is fielding numerous questions from districts and colleges about what to do about entrance testing, grades, enrollment etc. The ODHE prepared an FAQ which is available at http://www.oagc.com/files/College%20Credit%20Plus%20Guidance%203%2027%202020.FINAL.pdf. One question not answered is how 7th and 8th graders without a high school transcript will be eligible to apply. The testing changes also bring up another issue: spring gifted testing. Clearly, if students do not go back to school this year, many of the districts who would have administered spring testing will not be able to do so. I have asked ODE to weigh in on this issue, but very likely each district will need to decide how to handle this problem
- Limits the number of Ed Choice designated school buildings for the 2020-21 school year to those buildings previously eligible in the 2019-20 school year; allows siblings of current scholarship recipients, incoming Kindergarten students, and rising high school students to receive a performance-based scholarship for the 2020-21 school year if the building they attend or would attend meets these criteria. Ed Choice expansion has been the burning education issue for several months. The answer, for now, is that nothing will change for the 2020-21 school year though some education policy groups believe there will still be an expansion under the new law change. Permits school districts, STEM schools, and community schools other than e-schools, and chartered nonpublic schools to use distance learning to make up for any missed days or hours of instruction caused by the ordered closure of Ohio schools. This change was necessary because state law indicates that districts can only use three days of distance learning to make up school work. This change allows districts to replace instruction for the rest of the year if necessary. This policy change is not without issues. Not all districts are able to provide distance learning either due to lack of computers at the district level or internet access in student homes. The lack of technology in poorer and more rural areas is an on-going issue that has become more critical in this time of crisis.
- Allows licensed special education providers to utilize tele-health and electronic communication methods to serve students who are receiving special education services through their school district or through the Autism Scholarship or Jon Peterson Special Needs Scholarships. Again, this is a change that is necessary to attempt to deliver services to some of our most at-risk students. Students with disabilities will suffer greatly without intervention. The same access issues that apply to all students also apply here.