COLUMBUS—State Representative Gary Scherer (R-Circleville) announced that Governor Kasich signed House Bill 362, legislation which revises the requirement for Ohio’s Teacher Evaluation System (OTES). The bill also includes a new designation for science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) school equivalents for a community school or chartered nonpublic school.

Recently, Senate Bill 229 proposed changes to OTES, however the Ohio Senate and House of Representatives debated over what changes to incorporate in the bill. A compromise was made and the OTES revisions were placed in H.B. 362. The basic provisions are:

  • Teachers rated as accomplished may be evaluated every three years assuming their student progress measure remains average or above.

  • Teachers rated as skilled may be evaluated every two years assuming their student progress measure remains average or above.

  • Effective with the 2014-15 school year, districts may choose an alternative framework (from the existing 50 percent teacher performance and 50 percent student progress) where student progress is weighted 42.5 percent, teacher performance is weighted 42.5 percent and 15 percent of the evaluation framework may include student surveys, peer review, student portfolios or other items approved by ODE.

  • Effective with the 2015-16 school year, districts may choose an alternative framework where student progress and teacher performance are weighted equally and cannot be weighted less than 42.5 percent. The remaining portion of the evaluation may vary from one to 15 percent.

  • Teachers on leave for more than 50 percent of the school year are exempt from evaluation.

  • Teachers whose retirement has been submitted and accepted by the board of education are exempt from evaluation.

“After hearing from teachers and administrators across Ohio, it was clear that the issues OTES was causing in schools needed to be addressed,” Representative Scherer said. “This bill will allow teachers to spend more time teaching our children and less time with the administrative burden the previous requirements caused.”

Also under the new standards of H.B. 362, chartered nonpublic and community schools will be able to share STEM programs and resources with nonprofit organizations and higher education entities.  The bill specifies that these schools are required to follow the same guidelines adhered to by traditional public schools that receive a STEM designation.  These requirements include the assurance that the school has a work partnership with higher education institutions and businesses, follows preparation guidelines for college and that the school will attract school leaders who support the curriculum.

The STEM designation issue was brought to Rep. Scherer’s attention by New Hope Christian Academy, a private school that his grandchildren attend. Since their education will be positively impacted by this legislation, the grandchildren were able to attend the bill signing and help Governor Kasich dot the “i” in his signature.

Also in attendance at the bill signing were representatives from the Ohio Department of Education, the STEM Learning Network as well as teachers and administrators from public and private schools in Ohio.

The changes enacted in H.B. 362 will take place in the 2014-2015 and 2015-2016 school years.

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