May 21, 2013
It was with a heavy heart that I learned last night of the deaths of several school children in a vicious tornado that swept through Moore, Oklahoma. The casualty reports are changing, so it is difficult to know exactly how many boys, girls, and brave educators lost their lives. My deepest sympathies go to the parents and families of those killed at Plaza Towers Elementary School, as well as to the families who still have loved ones missing in the rubble. I pray that the efforts of rescuers there will be successful.
At the same time, I am grateful that only minor injuries were reported at Briarwood Elementary, a nearby school severely damaged by the storm, and my heart will be with the parents, teachers and students of that school as they heal from their trauma and rebuild.
Today we are hearing of the heroism of school administrators and teachers from both schools who put themselves in harm’s way to save their students. Such stories remind me of what I see so often in educators: Despite the challenges they can face in their classrooms from day to day, they care deeply about their students, and that caring extends to a desire to protect them from harm. It’s a quality in teachers that we can neither legislate nor truly compensate, and it confirms my esteem for those in whose hands we place our children every day.
I hope this tragic time gives you pause to think about how much you appreciate your own students and school staff. The suddenness of this disaster should remind us that every day we have with every child is a privilege and blessing that we should never take for granted.
Thank you for all you do to educate—and protect—Ohio’s boys and girls.
Dr. Richard A. Ross
Approaching deadlines or important dates mentioned in previous editions of EdConnection
5/24 Ohio Performance Assessment Pilot Project applications due
5/31 Great #OhEdChat Twitter Challenge ends. Supporting data due 6/7
5/31 Four- and five-year graduation rate data review period ends
6/17 eTech Ohio Summer Summit, Hilliard Darby HS
For school superintendents, principals and treasurers
New and improved ODE website preview now online
A preview of the new ODE website is now available to explore before it becomes the official site next week. The site can be accessed through the existing webpage at education.ohio.gov and clicking on the “Preview” link or banner at the top of the page. It can also be reached directly at http://preview.education.ohio.gov/ .
Here are some features that will make the site easier to use:
• The site’s content is organized by what our users say they need, instead of by our internal organizational structures;
• Topics and quick links found on our homepage provide a list of the most frequently accessed information;
• A “How do I?” function directs users to answers for the most frequently asked questions;
• A greatly improved search feature helps users more easily find relevant information;
• Thousands of outdated items have been removed;
• Page loading is much faster, even during peak usage times;
• It is easier to share individual pages with your colleagues through social media and email;
• Pages can be printed more easily; and
• The site auto-adjusts how its pages display to accommodate smartphones and tablet computers.
The new website was built using data and ideas from representatives of the more than three million people who used our website each year. Tests with parents and educators have garnered positive reactions, but real time feedback is also needed. Additional ideas or suggestions about the new website, can be sent to WebCommSupport@education.ohio.gov.
On May 29, the new website will become ODE’s official web home and the existing system will move to archive status. While many existing links will automatically connect to the new website, some bookmarks may need to be changed.
State Board approves Ohio’s first career-tech report card
Last week, the State Board of Education unanimously approved the framework for the 2012-2013 Ohio Career-Technical Education Report Card. This report card is believed to be the first of its kind in the nation. The career-tech report card, to be published in late summer, will contain data from the graduating class of 2011 and will be issued for each of Ohio’s 91 career-technical planning districts.
There are five components making up the report card: achievement, graduation, post-program placement, federal compliance and dual enrollment. This year, letter grades will be given for graduation and placement.
The Office of Career-Technical Education will hold three conference calls this week to share the career-tech report card in greater detail. The hour long calls will be held on May 22 at noon, May 23 at 8 a.m. and on May 24 at 2:30p.m. To participate in the call, dial (866) 551-1530 and use PIN number 7398417#.
Clarification about local selection of interim end-of-course tests in history and government
Each school district or community school governing board must adopt interim end-of-course examinations to assess mastery of American history, American government standards and historic documents by July 1. While many boards are doing a formal board resolution, this is not required. Each board can adopt through a motion or other means typically used for curriculum adoption. For more information, click here.
Ohio Education Research Center Connect for Success conference June 17 in Columbus
Researchers and educators can learn to use a multitude of education research products at the Ohio Educators Connect for Success conference on June 17 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Hyatt Regency in Columbus.
The center is a collaborative of Ohio-based researchers from six universities and five research institutions providing education-related resources and training to educators and policy makers. For conference details and to register, click here.
Free tuition for an online advanced placement course available for eligible students
The Digital AP Tuition Waiver program is an excellent option for providing advanced placement course opportunities for more students. Ohio public or private high school students may apply now for a one-time waiver of the fee for an online advanced placement course through ilearnOhio. To be eligible, students must attend an Ohio high school or be homeschooled with an Ohio school of residence. The home district or school submits the waiver application and agrees that the student will receive credit for successful completion of the course. More information on the program and waiver fee applications can be found here. Waiver requests can be sent now for courses starting in the fall.
Feedback sought on changes to school training rule
Public feedback is invited about proposed changes in state rules for training on safety and violence prevention, which is required for all school personnel. The in-service training includes the areas of child abuse and substance abuse prevention, school safety and violence prevention, prevention of dating violence, and youth suicide awareness and prevention.
Please click here to review the proposed changes and send any feedback to Jill Jackson at email@example.com. The deadline for public comments is 5 p.m. May 30.
For curriculum directors, teachers and school counselors
Teaching in Taiwan positions for 2013-2014 school year still available through June 10
Experienced elementary and middle school teachers interested in teaching abroad for the 2013-2014 school year can apply for the Teaching in Taiwan exchange program. Through a memorandum of understanding with Taiwan’s Ministry of Education, Ohio teachers have the opportunity to spend a year living and teaching English in Taiwan. Applications must submitted by June 10. For more information, visit the Teaching in Taiwan website or contact Dwight Groce at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Two Ohio students receive Prudential Spirit of Community Awards for volunteerism
Scott Hannah of South Charleston and Jacob Glorioso of Westerville were recently honored for their volunteer service at the 18th annual Prudential Spirit of Community Awards in Washington, DC.
Scott, a senior at Southeastern High School, was recognized for his role as an anti-bullying advocate and spokesman. He recruited 50 fellow students to appear in a video. Since debuting in a school assembly, Scott has shared the video presentation in several other school districts.
Jacob, an eighth-grader at Genoa Middle School, co-founded Children Supporting Children in 2009 to help supply kids in need with essential items they might otherwise be able to afford. He partnered with the Westerville Area Resource Mission to create and distribute seasonal bags for kids in low-income families. The bags contained items such as school supplies, hats, gloves and books.
The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards were created in 1995 to recognize youth for outstanding volunteer service – and in doing so, inspire others to volunteer as well. More information about the program and this year’s honorees can be found here.
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