Education Issues and Professional Development Update - May 2021

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Read below for updates on: Ohio’s ESSA Waiver; the Ohio Teacher Leader Summit; the 2021-2023 Teacher Liaison Cohort; I Educate Ohio; Ohio’s new Dyslexia Law; Educator Standards Board; State Board of Education; Gifted Advisory Council; OFT Partnership to Diversify Teaching Profession; and a Cincinnati Public School Honored as a Green Ribbon School.

U.S. Department of Education Approves Ohio’s ESSA Waiver

The Department recently submitted a one-year waiver request for the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) state plan for accountability and school identification. The U.S. Department of Education has approved Ohio’s request as of April 21. This approval aligns the legislation passed by the Ohio General Assembly and signed by Governor DeWine to not only submit the waiver but to not report letter grades or rankings for the report cards released in 2021.

The intent of Ohio’s approved waiver is to limit the consequences of data generated during this school year in alignment with federal flexibility and recently passed state legislation. Ohio’s submitted waiver and the approval from the U.S. Department of Education are available on the Department’s Every Student Succeeds Act webpage.

More information will be shared over the coming months about the data to be reported on the Ohio School Report Cards for this school year. Details will be posted to the Department’s Report Card Resources webpage and Frequently Asked Questions webpage. Contact the Office of Accountability with additional questions.

Register for Ohio Teacher Leader Summit

The 2021 Ohio Teacher Leadership Summit will be held on June 9, 2021. This event will be conducted virtually and bring together schools, districts and organizations doing innovative work to develop teacher leaders by sharing successes, lessons learned, and strategies for overcoming challenges around teacher leadership implementation.

Teacher leaders will share their knowledge, create networks and connections and engage in professional learning. The Summit offers an opportunity to become engaged in a state-wide network of teacher leaders and administrators to promote and strengthen teacher leadership in Ohio.

Registration is free and contact hour certificates will be provided. Register here.

For questions, please contact:

Interested in Being Part of the 2021-2023 Teacher Liaison Cohort?

The application period for the 2021-2023 cohort of teachers to serve as Ohio Teacher Leader Liaisons is open through June 30. This cohort will join the innovative and prestigious network of selected teachers from across the state to engage with the Department on topics related to current and future education initiatives that support Each Child, Our Future, Ohio’s strategic plan for education.

Applicants must currently be engaged in formal or informal teacher leadership roles at the local or state level, hold an Ohio teaching license and be willing to work collaboratively with the Department and state stakeholder groups. More information and the application can be found here.

Questions about the Ohio Teacher Leader Liaison Network or application may be addressed to

I Educate Ohio

The Ohio Department of Education is launching the I Educate Ohio initiative to celebrate, elevate, recruit and diversify the education professions and educator pipeline.

This new initiative recognizes the value of educators and celebrates all the adults working in the state’s schools. I Educate Ohio advocates for the importance of every school employee’s unique role, honors the individuals who build a foundation for learning and celebrates education professionals and their contributions to their school communities.

The Department is pleased to join the Ohio Education Association, Ohio Federation of Teachers, Buckeye Association of School Administrators, Ohio School Boards Association, Ohio Association of Elementary School Administrators, Ohio Association of Secondary School Administrators and Ohio Association of Public School Employees in this effort.

OFT President Melissa Cropper and Cersandra McPherson, Toledo Federation of Teachers member and Ohio's RISE award recipient are featured in videos on the site. If you believe someone in your local area is an "everyday hero" let us know and we will recommend them to the ODE to recognize their work. Contact Deb Tully to submit names:

Visit to learn more and take part in Ohio’s efforts to recognize the contributions of every education professional.

Please email with questions.

FAQ on Ohio’s new Dyslexia Law

In early 2021, Governor Mike DeWine signed legislation strengthening dyslexia supports for Ohio’s children. The new dyslexia support laws establish:

OFT submitted a nomination to serve on the committee, but the person was not appointed. We will continue to keep you posted on the work of the committee, particularly as they determine the professional development requirements.

To address questions about Ohio’s dyslexia support laws, the Department has developed a Frequently Asked Questions webpage.

Educator Standards Board

The Educator Standards Board (ESB) met Friday, May 7, 2021. During the meeting they reviewed the revised framework of the Ohio Principal Evaluation System, Diversifying the Workforce work, the Resident Educator updates, the new I Educate program (see above) being introduced by ODE, and the action they will take in regard to supporting the State Board of Education’s Equity Resolution. The ESB will be sending a statement of support to the State Board which will reinforce their intent to make sure all future decisions that come before the board to be determined through the lens of equity. The Framework for the Ohio Principal Evaluation System was sent on to the State Board of Education for consideration at their May meeting. State Senator Andrew Brenner attended the beginning of the business meeting to give an update on what is happening with the legislature.

State Board of Education

The State Board of Education met Monday and Tuesday, May 10 and 11, 2021. They are finalizing the review of the rules for the Operating Standards for Students with Disabilities. When the public comment for these rules is posted, we will keep you updated. The Board continues its presentations on district Equity Programs with Elyria presenting in May.   Between the Legislative and Budget committees, there was time spent in review of the status of legislation on the budget and report cards. Next month the board intends to send a resolution to the legislature supporting the principles of fair funding. The Board reviewed student connectivity data. A summary of their discussion can be found here.  

OFT Educator Standards Board members Sandra Orth of Toledo and Heather Stambaugh of Greenon were appointed to another 2 year term on the board.

Gifted Advisory Council

The Ohio Department of Education is now accepting membership applications for those interested in serving on the Gifted Advisory Council.

The Operating Standards for Identifying and Serving Students Who are Gifted (Ohio Administrative Code 3301-51-15) established the formation of a Gifted Advisory Council. The Council explores the development and implementation of state policies that affect identification, instruction, professional supports, leadership and funding for gifted education. The role of the Council includes:

  • Assisting in the development and updating of a Department-approved plan for gifted education in Ohio;

  • Advising on policy recommendations;

  • Serving as advisors in establishing criteria for review of proposals to implement innovative gifted services; and

  • Establishing criteria for identifying and recognizing schools, districts and other educational providers

Who is eligible to apply? Individuals with an interest in serving per the roles described above may apply. The Department is committed to a policy of equal opportunity for membership to the Gifted Advisory Council. Members will represent a variety of stakeholders from diverse regions of the state, including parents, general and gifted educators, administrators, and other as determined by the superintendent of public instruction.

What are membership expectations? Membership on the Gifted Advisory Council is a two-year term, however, there are no term limits and current members can reapply. The Gifted Advisory Council meets a minimum of four times per year. Meetings are currently held virtually and when permitted may be held at the Ohio Department of Education or other locations around central Ohio. Applicants should plan for release time from job responsibilities for each meeting. Committee members serve without compensation; however, travel, meals, overnight accommodations, and substitute expenses are reimbursed at state rates. For more information, please review the Ohio Department of Education’s Gifted Advisory Council webpage.

The timeline for application submissions is as follows:

  • Application window opens: May 14, 2021

  • Application window closes: June 18, 2021

Upon submission of an application, the applicant should expect the following:

  • Confirmation acknowledging the submission of the application;

  • Review of all information submitted by the applicant by Department staff;

  • Notification in writing of appointment for applicants selected for membership; and

  • If selected, an invitation to the next Council meeting.

The application is available here.

If you have questions regarding the Gifted Advisory Council, membership, or review and submission of membership applications, please email

New OFT Partnership to Diversify Teaching Profession

We are excited to announce our new partnership with Central State University and Eastern Gateway Community College that aims to bring more people of color into the teaching profession.

This new partnership creates two amazing opportunities for current educators and future educators.

  • Current educators are needed to serve as mentors. This is a paid position.

  • People of color who are prospective teachers are eligible to earn a teaching license with no out-of-pocket cost.

Read the full details on our website, and share this information with others who may be interested.

Cincinnati Public School Honored as Green Ribbon School

The James N. Gamble Montessori High School in Cincinnati was named a U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon School. The school is one of 27 schools, three early learning centers, five districts and five postsecondary institutions across the country being honored for innovative efforts to reduce environmental impact and utility costs, improve health and wellness, and ensure effective sustainability education. It is the only school to achieve this accomplishment in Ohio.

The aim of U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools is to inspire schools, districts, and institutions of higher education (IHEs) to strive for 21st-century excellence by highlighting promising school sustainability practices and resources that all can employ. To that end, the award recognizes

  1. reduce environmental impact and costs;

  2. improve the health and wellness of schools, students, and staff; and

  3. provide effective environmental and sustainability education

Combined progress in ALL three of these areas, known as Pillars, serves as the basis for recognition.   A report with highlights on all honorees is available here. To view the description of James Gamble go to page 100.