Education Issues and Professional Development Update - September 2021

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Our September update on education issues and professional development includes information on: High Quality Student Data 2021-2022; Blended Learning Requirements; Evaluation Status in OhioES; New Coalition To Fight Misinformation on Teaching about Race; Opportunity to Create Democracy Lessons.

High Quality Student Data 2021-2022

As the rollouts of OTES 2.0 proceed, hopefully, you have collaborated with your district to put a process in place. One of the confusing items is High Quality Student Data (HQSD). The law requires that each teacher must use two points of HQSD to inform their instruction and must be presented as the evidence used to make instructional decisions. One of the decisions that must be made locally is the source of the HQSD.

However, HB 404 prohibits the use of high-quality student data or any other student academic growth measures to measure student learning attributable to a teacher for the 2020-2021 and 2021-2022 school years.

While the law prohibits its use, there are three local choices that can be made in terms of HQSD and how it is used:

  1. No HQSD data is used and the parts of the rubric that refer to it can be waived.
  2. The parts of the rubric that refer to using data and student growth can be used, but with other sources of student data as evidence.
  3. Districts that feel comfortable with HQSD (usually those who were in the pilot and have already established the sources of HQSD) may use it.

Deb Tully, OFT's Director of Professional Issues, had a conversation with ODE about this third option. It is their viewpoint, after getting calls from districts comfortable with HQSD and wanting to use it, that this is permissible.

Again, this is a decision to be made locally.

If you have not worked with your district to establish HQSD sources, this year provides a good opportunity to get it done to be ready for the 2022-2023 school year. Keep in mind that teacher developed assessments are a very legitimate option to put on the list of accepted sources of HQSD and you do not have to rely on vendor assessments.

If there are any questions within your local union, contact Deb at

Switching to Blended Learning As a Result of Covid?

With the anticipation of the need to go between in person and remote learning this year, it is important to know that there is a requirement for a district to have filled out a blended learning declaration by the legislatively-mandated July 1 deadline and submitted it to ODE.

However, because of ongoing COVID-19 surges, districts that did not anticipate the need to return to blending learning may not have submitted a blended declaration. If a district finds the need to return to blended learning, it is still encouraged to submit a Blended Learning Notification Form.

To read more about Online Learning Considerations, review the FAQ on this issue.

Heads Up! Check Evaluation Status in OhioES

Recently, it has come to light that there may be some discrepancies in the data in the Ohio Evaluation System (OhioES) which may mean that you, or some of your co-workers, are coming up in the wrong status for OTES. One OFT local union that works with its district to input information into the department data site discovered an issue while entering that data. Some members that were supposed to be in an off-year cycle came up as requiring a full evaluation.

The specific people affected were skilled teachers that were scheduled to be in an off year for 2020-2021 (last year) but took the covid exemption. They were listed as being due for a full evaluation. Those particular teachers were supposed to be frozen in the off year which meant they would go into this year on the less frequent cycle. In questioning ODE about it, the local sent the specific examples and it turned out that they were labeled incorrectly. It has now been corrected for those particular teachers, but it would be helpful for your local union to review the status of your teachers in OhioES and notify ODE of any discrepancies in order to make sure the status is accurate. Apparently, the transition from ETPES to OhioES has had some issues.

New Coalition To Fight Misinformation on Teaching about Race

AFT has signed on to the new Learn from History coalition formed by AASA (the School Superintendents Association) in collaboration with more than 20 other education groups. The coalition will push back against efforts to ban teachers from discussing racial inequity in schools. The coalition’s goals are to educate parents and the public about what is actually being taught in schools and to explain the importance of students learning “thorough, accurate and fact-based history and that racism is wrong.”

Did you miss OFT’s Honesty in Education Speak Out in August? You can watch it here!

Opportunity to Create Democracy Lessons, October 1-2, 2021

OFT’s Professional Learning Committee and Human Rights Committee are extending an invitation to attend a work session to create Democracy Lessons. To refresh, AFT has created a series of lessons called Defenders of Democracy. The lessons are intended to raise awareness of those people and events in history that supported social justice, human rights, and the growth of our democracy. Using these lessons of the past connections can be made to advocates and defenders of democracy in communities across the country in the present..

We are offering an opportunity to members who are interested in attending an in-person session to work on the lessons with others. There will be regional sessions in Toledo and Cleveland on Friday and Saturday, October 1st and 2nd. The Professional Learning and Human Rights Committees will review the lessons and will be compensated $200 per lesson accepted. Those interested are asked to:

Choose the grade level for the lesson.

Select a democracy leader or an historic event/concept to highlight.

Review the AFT template as a guide in developing the lesson. The template can be found on the AFT web site where you can read the current lessons available through AFT. Here is the link:

Please contact Deb Tully,, if you are interested in participating.