State Board of Education Meeting Highlights
March 4, 2014
Supplemental Request of $6.5 million approved
The State Board of Education on Tuesday approved asking the Legislature for a supplemental budget appropriation of $6.5 million to fully fund the Flexible Benefits Allowance (FBA) for the current fiscal year. The FBA provides funding to districts to cover the cost of insuring full-time staff and support personnel. Based on data certified Jan. 1, school districts have added more than 1,300 employees eligible for state-funded insurance since October 2012. The increase in cost is due in part to the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Under ACA, school districts are required to offer health insurance for employees who work on average at least 30 hours per week. Full-time staff members are covered by the state.
TLE guidelines for student academic growth for non-tested grades and subjects approved
The board also approved four recommendations from the TLE Commission, including guidelines district policies must follow in determining the Student Academic Growth component of Teacher and Leader Effectiveness (TLE) evaluations for teachers and leaders of non-tested grades and subjects. The Student Academic Growth component will comprise 35 percent of TLE evaluations beginning in the 2015-2016 school year. The guidelines for teachers and leaders of non-tested grades and subjects provide districts with the required components necessary to measure student growth in these classrooms. Known as Student Learning Objectives (SLOs) or Student Outcome Objectives (SOOs), the required components follow a teacher’s typical preassessment-planning-instruction-assessment cycle and can rely heavily on data already collected about a student’s performance and growth on critical knowledge and skills. Training for district and building leaders will be provided during the summer to support districts through the process of setting policy, training teachers, and implementing the process. In addition, the board approved effectiveness ranges for composite TLE scores on a five-tier rating system. Recommendations for these policies were provided by the TLE Commission based on suggestions from the second and third TLE working group sessions, made up of more than 320 educators from across the state. See the full recommendations: http://sde.ok.gov/sde/sites/ok.gov.sde/files/TLE%20Recommendations.pdf.
AVID first- and second-year grants awarded
The board awarded a total of $277,000 for nine first-year AVID grants to six school districts for the 2013-14 school year as well as $432,000 for 12 second-year grants to nine school districts. The purpose of the Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) program is to close the achievement gap by preparing all students for college readiness. The grants provide extensive training for teachers to prepare them for teaching more rigorous pre-Advanced Placement and Advanced Placement (AP) curriculum. The program also focuses on closing achievement gaps for minority and nontraditional AP students by advancing those students into rigorous coursework while providing support. Research shows that students who take AP coursework and earn qualifying scores on AP exams have a two-to-one better chance of completing college in four years than students with no AP experience. See a complete list of grantees: http://sde.ok.gov/sde/sites/ok.gov.sde/files/documents/files/AVID%20grants%202013-14-pg13-14.pdf
Qualified Zone Academy Bond approved for Lane Schools
Board members also approved $150,000 in Qualified Zone Academy Bond allocations (QZABs) for Lane Public Schools to renovate a gym into classroom space. Lane took additional students a year ago when Atoka County voters approved annexation of the Farris School District. The federal QZAB program allows qualified districts to partner with a financial investor, which receives a tax credit for loaning the districts money on these no-interest bonds. The bonds cannot be used for new construction but can be used for rehabilitating or repairing public school facilities, providing equipment, developing course materials for education, or training teachers and other school personnel. Schools must have at least 35 percent of students eligible for free or reduced-prices lunches to qualify, and they must demonstrate their ability to repay the loan.
Track 4 Administrative Rules approved
Administrative rules on the Student Data Accessibility, Transparency and Accountability Act; the Open Records Act; student transfers; proficiency based promotion; and other regulations also were approved. View the complete list of Track 4 rules, http://sde.ok.gov/sde/administrative-rules#Track4