The Ohio House and Senate finished their work on December 13, ending the 129th Ohio General Assembly. The 130th General Assembly will begin after January 1, 2013 as newly elected senators and representatives take their seats to begin work formulating a new two year state budget. Legislation that did not gain approval in the past year will “die”, although it is possible that some of the proposals could be reintroduced as the new assembly convenes.
While there have been many acts this year that impact Ohio’s schools, we have watched HB 555 with particular interest. This bill will make major changes to the accountability system by which Ohio’s schools and school districts are evaluated by the Ohio Department of Education. With the Governor’s signature the bill is expected to become law.
The bill requires a new grading system for schools, moving from rating schools using labels such as “Excellent”, “Effective”, and “Continuous Improvement” to an A-F grading system. The rules are expected to make it much harder for schools to get a top grade. The bill revises district report cards to include a “dashboard” of individual grades in specific areas including state test scores, student growth and college/career readiness. In an effort to give school districts time to prepare for the changes, the legislature delayed the actual overall letter grade portion of the new report card - waiting to award the final mark until 2014-15. The bill gives the state Board of Education significant responsibility in determining important details of the new report card system such as the requirements to receive each grade. The State Board will now develop the rules and procedures to determine how the new letter grades will be calculated. Until that work is complete, it is impossible to predict the specific grades we will earn. It is clear, however, that the new system will be much more rigorous than the system in place today. New measures will be utilized. Additional factors will be weighed. Like everyone else in Ohio, the Woodridge administrative team will monitor the development of these factors to determine how they will impact our annual evaluation.
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