Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Playhouse Square anti-bullying program details

The program will be held Wednesday, April 18 at the Palace Theatre.

5:30pm: “No Snap Judgments” anti-bullying program with special presentation from Campus Impact and chat with the cast of The Addams Family.  "No Snap Judgments" encourages people to look beyond first impressions and discover   how our commonalities outweigh our differences. Through the lens of The Addams Family Musical, the "No Snap Judgments" program empowers us to engage others with openness, respect and acceptance.

6:30pm: Broadway Buzz– get the inside scoop on The Addams Family

7:30pm: The Addams Family performance

Tickets available
Orchestra C $20.00
Balcony A & B $15.00
Balcony C $10.00

To order contact Sara Beech at
216-664-6034
beechs@playhousesquare.org


More information on No Snap Judgments and Campus Impact is below.

Board Member Search

We know that the MPA community is an amazing resource, so helping us find new members to serve on our Board should be no exception.  This April, MPA’s Board of Directors will conduct our annual elections and are seeking to add members to the Board.  We are hoping to find candidates that match at least one of the following criteria:
  • Experience with traditional or charter school administration or board representation.
  • Significant academic experience in or passion for gifted education and children.
  • Held a senior level leadership role in education or business.
  • Knowledgeable regarding the commercial real estate market and/or facility planning.
  • Experienced in or knowledgeable about fund development in non-profit organizations, or has connections with possible funding sources.
Following is the timeline of the process:
1.       March 1, 2012 - Anyone who is interested in serving on the Board of Directors should plan to attend our regular meeting on at 6:00pm at MPA. 
2.       March 8, 2012 –  Board candidate applications should be submitted by this date.
3.       March 15, 2012 – Prospective candidates are invited to attend a Question & Answer session with Board members at 6:00pm at the school.
4.       April 5, 2012 – Elections will be held at the regular Board meeting
The Board of Directors Application can be found here.  Thank you in advance for your time and assistance. 
- MPA’s Board of Directors

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

MPA Newsletter 2/15/2012

Development Information:

Have you ordered tickets for the Kindle Fire auction being held at the school concert on February 23?  For only $5 a ticket you get a chance to win one of these cool devices, valued at $199!  Fill in the attached form and send it in to school in an envelope marked "Jessica Tonsing, Kindle Raffle" by FRIDAY, February 17th, to prepay.  Tickets will also be available at the concert, but who wants to wait in line when you can handle it ahead of time so easily?

Speaking of the raffles and auctions at the concert ... want to know what's going to be available to win?  Check out the blog at http://menloparkacademy.blogspot.com/2012/02/auction-and-raffle-items.html  to see a complete list of the live auction, silent auction, and raffle prizes that will be available.

Scrip card orders for February are due on Tuesday, February 21st, so get your orders in soon!

On March 1st a representative from the Fred A. Lennon Charitable Trust will be visiting MPA to learn more about our school.  Since this foundation was created to honor the founder of the Swagelok Company in Solon, Ohio, we were hoping to highlight any ties our MPA families might have to this company.  So if there are any parents (or extended family members) who work at Swagelok, please contactTanya.Reno@MenloParkAcademy.com and let her know.  Thanks for your help!


Student Information:

The Student Council Candy Gram "fun"raiser was a huge success - we filled more than 925 orders. We hope your children enjoyed receiving their special greetings. Thanks to all who supported this project, which netted more than $125 to benefit future Student Council sponsored events.  

If you love 'em then you better put some gloves on 'em ... Please be sure to send students to school dressed appropriately for the weather, since we send them outside for recess whenever possible.  It doesn't matter if it's snowing - as long as it's above 25 degrees F, we send them out to play.  So pack those gloves and hats, and make sure the ones who can't stay away from the snow piles are wearing boots.  If your daughter likes to wear skirts without leggings or warm tights underneath, you might want to send in a pair of sweatpants to keep at school that she can pull on at recess time to keep her legs warm.  That way everyone can have a good time and NOT be cold and miserable for the rest of the day.

We'll be holding a pep rally this Friday afternoon at 2:30pm to celebrate all of our students' recent successes.  We'll also be taking the opportunity to say goodbye to Mrs. Lindemann, whose last day is February 17th.  This is primarily a student event, but parents can feel free to attend if they're interested.

Nominate your favorite MPA teacher for the Plain Dealer Crystal Apple award!  Deadline for this period is this Friday, February 17th, and nominations can be made online at nie.plaindealer.com - click on the "Crystal Apple Award" link and tell us why an MPA educator deserves this honor. 

Have you signed up for a parent-teacher conference yet? Unless you get an email from a teacher requesting a meeting, the conferences are optional.  Report cards will be given out at the conferences.  If you do not come in for a conference, then the report card will go home in that Thursday's folder. We're making the parent-teacher conference scheduling process more streamlined by moving it online.  You can find the sign-up form online at http://menloparkacademy.blogspot.com/2012/02/parent-teacher-conference-sign-ups.html. If you need to reschedule after you complete the online form, contact your teacher or Lynn.Wilson@MenloParkAcademy.com to handle the change for you.

On Saturday, Feb.4th, four seventh graders (Marika Olijar, Nick Hiti, Nora Kelley & Grant Gibeault)  and three eighth graders (Jason Hahn, Quintin Kovach & Ashley Hofstetter) participated in Power of the Pen, an interscholastic writing tournament.  There were twelve schools represented at St. Raphael's in Bay Village with over 120 student competitors present.  Seventh grader Nick Hiti placed tenth and will automatically advance to the Regional Tournament on Saturday, March 24th in Sandusky.  Joining Nick are Marika Olijar (13th place), Grant Gibeault, and Ashley Hofstetter.  Congratulations, kids, and best of luck at the regional tournament!  Also, Stefani Hayne (seventh grade) will represent MPA at the Cleveland Plain Dealer Spelling Bee on Saturday, March 3rd. 

Don't forget, the student concert is on Thursday, February 23rd at Magnificat High School in Rocky River.  The event will open at 5pm, which gives families plenty of time to view and participate in the silent auctions and raffles in the lobby.  Please drop students off backstage at 6pm.  Teachers will be chaperoning the students before and during their performance, which begins at 6:30pm.  We understand that some younger children may not have the patience to make it through the entire program.  Please try to stay for the entire performance (the finale is always memorable!), but if you must leave at intermission, you must notify your child's teacher before you go.  

LEGO Olympiad teams are registered! Parents whose children registered for the LEGO Olympiad on Friday, April 20 should have received the final team list via e-mail as well as a Registration Confirmation flier with more information about the Olympiad (both are also attached to this message). This team list has been given to LCCC and is final... no additional changes can be made. Names of chaperones are in bold on the final team list. If you are still interested in being a chaperone, please contact Maryanne Hiti at mhiti@sbcglobal.net. For detailed information about the rules, schedule and detailed instructions please go to www.lorainccc.edu/lego

Get ready for fun! A new Engineering Club, "Totally Engineering", will be offered on Fridays after school from 3:15-4:15 starting March 2nd in the Science Lab. With help from some very talented Cleveland Clinic Engineering grad students, Mrs. Eby will be providing the opportunity for middle school students to learn about engineering in a very hands-on way. Students will be given a new challenge or project each week to broaden their understanding of this growing and globally important profession. Classes will be free but a $5.00 materials fee will be charged per class ($45.00 for nine weeks of classes). Email Janeth.Eby@MenloParkAcademy.com to sign up. Do it soon as the class will be limited to 20 students!

Volunteer Information:

Our From the Heart Concert & Auction will take place Thursday, February 23rd. We are looking for volunteers to assist the night of the event: selling raffle tickets, overseeing the silent auction, closing out the winners/high bidders. The event opens at 5:00 with the actual concert beginning at 6:30. We will need people there early (3:30ish) to assist in set-up etc. Click here to sign up to volunteer for this event. 

We need volunteers to teach electives for our students - please consider bringing your expertise to our school!  Third trimester electives run from Feb. 29-June 1st.  Wednesdays we offer electives for Middle School (varies by grade between 8:50-2:40) and 3rd grade from 9:50-10:50.  Fridays we offer electives for 4th grade (11:20-12:10), 2nd grade (2:20-3:00), 1st grade (1:40-2:20), and Kindergarten (1:00-1:40).  If you need ideas of what to teach, never fear, we are overflowing with wonderful ideas. Just let Jenn Ingraham know!  Please email asap if you can help: ji@zoominternet.net. Thank you!

Volunteers wanted!  The Book Fair will be open on Monday, February 27th from 7:30am until 7pm, and Tuesday, February 28th from 7:30am until 2pm to accommodate the conference schedule. On Wednesday through Friday we will be open from 8:30am until 4pm to give parents and those in Edison Club time to shop after school.  We will require at least two volunteers to be there at all times, especially when the lower grades are shopping. Volunteers will help run the cash register and assist younger students with their shopping.  Please return the attached sign-up sheet as soon as possible if you're able to help.   Any and all help is appreciated!

A quick note from Mrs. Lindemann:
I wanted to say a word of thanks and appreciation to all of our parent volunteers and staff who have so tirelessly worked alongside of me for the past two years.  It has been a privilege to serve the needs of gifted learners with each of you.  It is because of your efforts that MPA has tripled in size since I came to the school just a little over two years ago.  At that point, the current 8th grade graduating class was merely an idea being considered, and a milk program, basketball team, hot lunch program, science room, expansion to two floors of space, and new curriculum were on our "wish" lists.  What MPA lacked in material goods, it made up for in enthusiasm, hardwork, and passion for the cause from its staff and volunteers.   Fast forward to 2012, and MPA is still growing with new items on its wish list.  My wish for all of you as MPA grows and matures is that you keep your passion for the cause -- the kids --  first and foremost in everything you do!  

In the interim as staffing needs of the school are being assessed following Mrs. Lindemann's departure, here's who to contact concerning volunteering at MPA.  We have nine operating teams with team leads and have assigned staff members to help keep things moving and answer questions in the absence of one person coordinating volunteers.
 
Dr. Bouchard - Academic Enrichment (Jen Ingraham), Communications (Karen Peacock and Gretchen Woods), Facilities (Tom Doughman)
Lynn Wilson - General Volunteer Info & School Day Support (Heather Syracuse), Community Team (Bridget Ryan)
Tanya Reno - Fundraising/Development (Jessica Tonsing), Finance (Willie Littlejohn)
Carol Scheuer - IT
Teri Harrison, Board Chair - Legal Team
 


Calendar Highlights:
  • Feb. 17 (Friday) - 5:30-6pm Dads vs MPA Basketball Team Scrimage Game during practice
  • Feb. 18 (Saturday) - Basketball game at 2:30pm at Berea High School vs Columbia Ross; Mathcounts competition at CSU
  • Feb. 20 (Monday) - Holiday - school closed
  • Feb. 22 (Wednesday) - First Grade field trip to LENSC
  • Feb. 23 (Thursday) - End of second trimester; "From the Heart" school concert and fundraising auction
  • Feb. 24 (Friday) - No school for students
  • Feb. 25 (Saturday) - Basketball game at 1:30 vs. Fairview Gemini Center; Basketball team awards and dinner at 6 pm at MPA
  • Feb. 27 (Monday) - No school for students - Parent conferences scheduled 
  • Feb. 28 (Tuesday) - No school for students - Parent conferences scheduled
  • Feb. 27 - March 2 - MPA Scholastic Book Fair  
  • March 3 (Saturday) - CONSEF science and engineering fair; Cleveland Plain Dealer spelling bee
  • March 8 (Thursday) - Fourth and Fifth Grade field trip to Hanna Theatre
  • March 14 (Wednesday) - Math Night from 6:30-8pm
  • March 19 (Monday) - Photo make-up, club and candid day; Strings and Band Concert at MPA at 6:30
  • March 21-23 (Wednesday-Friday) - Fifth Grade field trip to Camp Fitch
  • March 24 (Saturday) - Power of the Pen regional competition in Sandusky
  • April 20 (Friday) - Lego Olympiad at LCCC
  • April 27 (Friday) - School-wide Spelling Bee
  • June 3 (Sunday) - Crushers baseball game
  • Sept. (TBD) - Golf scramble fundraiser

Parent-Teacher conference sign-ups

The February parent-teacher conferences are an opportunity to chat with the teachers about the program and your child's progress.  Unless you get an email from a teacher requesting a meeting, the conferences are optional.  Report cards will be given out at the conferences.  If you do not come in for a conference, then the report card will go home in that Thursday's folder.  You can sign up for one or two 15-minute meeting blocks per teacher or MS group.  
  • Monday, February 27th -   7:30 am - 7:30 pm: all core teachers. Please sign up using links below.
  • Tuesday, Frebruary 28th -  7:30 am - Noon: Sign up for K-4 teachers. Drop in for Middle School teachers.
Specials teachers will be available for drop-in conferences on Monday, February 27th from 8:45 am - 3:00 pm
  • Physical Education - Mr. Mould
  • Art - Mrs. Padrutt
  • Technology - Mrs. Scheuer
  • Spanish - K, 1, 5, 6, 7, 8 - (and MS French elective) Ms. Bredendiek
  • Reading Intervention - Mrs. Kneidel
  • Music - Mrs. Leib
  • To set up a conference with Mrs. Walsh (Spanish, grades 2-4) please email her at: lwalsh@vivaspanish.com
Below are the links to sign up for conferences.   
 

If you need to reschedule your conference after you have completed the form online, please contact Lynn.Wilson@MenloParkAcademy.com, or talk directly to your teacher.  And don't forget to check the Lost and Found box while you're in the school anyway ... and the book fair will be going on that week, too, so come prepared to browse!

Auction and Raffle Items!

From the Heart Fundraiser


LIVE AUCTION ITEMS

Crusher's 1st Pitch: Your child will feel like they are in the majors when he/she throws out the 1st pitch at the annual MPA Night at the Crushers Game on Sunday, June 3rd at the Lake Erie Crushers minor league baseball game.  Starting Bid=$50

Mad Scientist Birthday Party: Mrs. Eby will join your child’s Science Themed Birthday Party and help conduct 1 hour of experiments for your child and his/her friends.  Starting Bid=$100.

Wish You Were Here:  Mrs.Tigue will be at the House of Blues on April 28th, 2012to give a backstage tour, introduction to the band Wish You Were Here, and supervise a photo opportunity with Ziffel the eight foot tall pig.  This is not a cover band, but Cleveland's premier Pink Floyd tribute band.  The prize includes two backstage passes, and two tickets to the show.  Starting Bid=$100
 -
Lego Robotics Workshop: A 3 hour workshop for 1 student and 3 friends with Mrs. Scheuer where she will create a programming lesson & provide challenges for the group.  Starting Bid = $100
Jason Aldean Concert:  2 concert tickets and back stage meet & greet passes to Grammy-nominated recording artist Jason Aldean’s 9/7/12 concert at Blossom Music Center. Winner also receives concert tee shirts, an autographed photo and hats.  Starting Bid = $150
-
Classroom Ice Cream Party: The winning child will have their choice of theme for the day (ie: pajama day, backwards day, silly hat day etc.) as well as an ice cream party for their class.  Starting Bid = $150

SILENT AUCTION ITEMS
It’s a jolly holiday: Your child and two friends will meet Mrs. Timko in the park for an afternoon of fun complete with snack, story and games.**
-
Beautiful briny sea…: Your child will take a trip to Cleveland’s newest hot spot, the Greater Cleveland Aquarium with Mr. Thompson.**
-
Books and cookies: Your child and a friend will get to spend an afternoon with Mrs. Schroeder, visiting the Barnes & Noble at Crocker Park to each purchase a book (up to $8 value) and have a snack in the Café.**
-
Lunch with your favorite teacher: Lunch with Mrs. Nagy & two of your child’s friends.**
-
Quilted memories of a lifetime: A custom handmade quilt will be made by Mrs. Fredmonsky herself, complete with winner’s choice of handprints.
-
Cookie of the Month Club:  A class set of Ms. Shuder’s home-baked cookies will be delivered to the winning child’s homeroom on a monthly basis (Feb.-May).
 -
Pi For Lunch: Celebrate National π day (March 14th) with Mrs. Theiss! Winning student and a friend will have a pizza lunch and their favorite pie for dessert.
-
Mani & Munchies:   Winner will get to have an afternoon of fun going for a manicure & munchies at Crocker Park with Mrs. Belko.**
-
Music Mania (2nd Nagy): (2) $15 iTunes gift cards, $25 gift certificate to the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame and collectors program from 1995 grand opening, Beatles themed Monopoly game, Camp Rock Nintendo DS game, 2012 Grammy nominee CD, Vivitar twin speakers, 4 GB MP3 player, Justin Beiber singing toothbrush, COBY earphones, musical triangle, coffee mug, music stickers, and a canvas tote bag.  Value=$225.
 -
Feel Good (3rd Tigue): Yoga mat and ball, digital jump rope, (2) toning balls, a 3 month fitness membership and a 1 month tanning and tee shirt to the Powerhouse Gym, Zumba tee shirt and bracelets, 1 month pass to the Fitness Boot Camp @ Live Fit in Westlake, 2 energy shots.  Value = $200.
 -
Kids Outdoor Adventures (6th Eby): $25 Bass Pro Shops gift card, $20 bonus gift certificates from Dick’s Sporting Goods, $45 Geigers gift certificates, (2) 9-hole gift certificates to Bunker Hill golf course, backpack fishing kit (Cars movie theme), dinosaur Camelbak water bottle, football, instant snow & waterproof camera.  Value = $150.

Pottery Fun: Winner will create some pottery during 3 private ceramic lessons with our in-house artist and Art Teacher Mrs. Padrutt. Will take place during the school day.
-
Day at the Zoo: Your child will spend special time with Mrs. Wilson at the Cleveland Rainforest and enjoy lunch at the Amazon Café. **
 -
Fast Pass: A designated “head of the line” parking pass that allows you to eliminate any delay in student drop off & pickup. Valid Wednesday, March 1st- June 5th (end of school year).

RAFFLE BASKETS

Pet Pals- Cat (K Timko): $25 Pet Smart gift card, decorative food dish, plush cat bed, an assortment of supplies & treats to pamper your cat all packaged in a canvas tote bag decorated by Mrs. Timko’s students!
 -
Pet Pals- Dog (K Timko): $25 Pet Smart gift card, grooming coupon for Inn the Doghouse pet resort, an assortment of grooming supplies, treats and toys for your pooch all packaged in a canvas tote bag decorated by the students in Mrs. Timko’s class!
 -
Education Avenue (1st Schroeder): $35 gift certificate to Play Matters, $40 to The Learning Express, Young Audiences workshop for your child’s class, HiHo Cherry-o board game, magnetic Hangman game, Mensa workbook, awesome experiments books & a chemistry project kit. 

Home Improvement (1st Thompson): $100 Home Depot gift card, (2) outdoor lighting wall fixtures, (2) Electronic Home Alert Alarms, a set of terracotta wall plaques.
-
-Go Buckeye’s (2nd Rokas): Ohio State Alumni tote bag, adult zippered fleece sweatshirt (red-L), (2) OSU tee shirts (XL & M), various OSU themed items including chip clip, socks, lunch tote bag, window clings, magnet, mini cloth football, tattoos, Malley’s Buckeye candy, OSU mini helmet and OSU baseball cap.

Lucky Lotto (3rd Fredmonsky): $50 in various Ohio Lottery scratch offs.

Stress Relief (3rd Tigue): Inner Bliss Yoga gift certificate ($26), Yoga Pants    (size 8), 1 hour therapeutic massage, Bath & Body Works 15-minute foot sauna, anti-stress powder, natural pain relief gel, back massager, soy candle.
 -
Artsy Tartsy (4th O’Donnell): $25 Michael’s gift card, free studio time for 4 people at Artist for a Day studio, glow in the dark stepping stone kit, Crayola poster board & watercolor pad, Shrinky Dinks, Perler beads craft set, create your own ribbon & felt tote bag, eraser set, magnetic manikin, 3-D micro puzzle, watercolors (set of 12), (2) decorate your own coffee mugs.

Wine & Dine (4th Shuder): $25 Applebee’s gift card, a bottle each of Chardonnay, Rioja & Rose Wine, wine glasses, wine guide & journal, cork puller, (4) wine themed place setting holders, (2) dish towels, wine bag.

Movie Night (5th Theiss): $50 AMC gift card, (4) AMC tickets, large decorative popcorn tub, assortment of candies, popcorn.
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A Day in the Park: Your child and two friends will meet Mrs. Snyder in the park for an afternoon of fun complete with snack, story and games.**
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Framed “Zentangle”: Artwork created by the 2nd grade class.
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Beauty Basket: A $50 Sephora gift card, an assortment of bath & beauty supplies including, lotions, hair products, nail care kits and a custom bg3 bracelet.
 -
Sweet Tooth Basket: $15 Mitchell’s Ice Cream gift card, $10 Malley’s gift certificates, assortment of sweet treats including Razzberry Riesling, Ghirardelli brownie mix, Godiva hot chocolate & Lindt candy bars.
- 
Dr. B’s Homemade Meal from the Heart: Enjoy a big pan of Dr. B’s homemade 5-cheese lasagna complete with a bottle of Chianti. Lasagna can be customized to your specifications (ie: vegetarian, sausage, beef etc.).

Framed “Zentangle”: Artwork created by the middle school students.
-
Learn to “fast pitch”: Need to perfect your game? A fast-pitch softball pitching lesson taught & videotaped by 2nd grade teacher Mrs. Rokas.**
Under the Sea:  Your child will take a trip to Cleveland’s newest hot spot, the Greater Cleveland Aquarium with Mr. O’Donnell.**
 -
Manicure and Munchies: Winner will get to have an afternoon of fun going for a manicure & munchies at Crocker Park with Mrs. Weber.**
-
Pi For Lunch: Celebrate National π day with Mrs. Kubek! Winning student and a friend will have a pizza lunch and their favorite pie for dessert on March 14th
-
Lunch on the green: Lunch on the MPA lawn with Mrs. Kneidel & two friends, during the school day.
-
Memories from the 3rd grade school of fish: A handmade quilt made by Mrs. Fredmonsky that features fish made from the handprints of her 3rd grade students.
 -
Memories of the 3rd grade garden: A handmade quilt made by Mrs. Fredmonsky that features sunflowers made from the handprints of Mrs. Tigue’s 3rd grade class.
- 
Framed “Zentangle”: Artwork created by the 4th grade class.


*Items subject to change. A variety of furniture pieces decorated by MPA students will be available via the silent auction and raffle.

** Parent must transport student and be present.  To be scheduled at mutually convenient time.

Advocacy request

From: anngift@aol.com
Date: February 14, 2012 7:07:47 AM EST
To: ohiogift@lists.acs.ohio-state.edu
Subject: Gifted Action Alert -- Action Needed Today on ODE ESEA Waiver Application
Reply-To: ohiogift@lists.acs.ohio-state.edu
Advocacy Alert – 02.14.12 – Action Needed Today on the ODE ESEA/NCLB Waiver  -- Late last week, ODE put out a draft of the state waiver application to the federal ESEA (or NCLB) act. While in general, the application appears to make things easier for Ohio’s districts to achieve high ratings, OAGC has specific issues with four areas. ODE will be collecting feedback on the waiver until 5:00 pm tonight (02.14.12).  It is important that gifted advocates respond to the application. Numbers of responses may matter in this case.  Colleen Grady and I will be providing testimony to the state board this morning regarding our concerns. That testimony can be accessed at
http://www.oagc.com/files/ESEATestimony.2.14.12.pdf . In the meantime, here is a summary of the talking points for you. In your own words, please at least address the first issue about the missing gifted performance indicator phase-in. It would be wonderful if you could address all of the issues. The email address to provide feedback is eseawaiver@ode.state.oh.us .

OAGC Requests for Changes to the Ohio Department of Education ESEA Waiver

In Order of Priority:

Issue  1 – Page 41 and 42 – The waiver inaccurately reflects the state board of education resolution on the addition of the gifted performance indicator in the unified accountability system. 

OAGC Request:  The following language change should be included in the waiver to accurately reflect the State Board of Education’s Gifted Performance Indicator: “The indicator will be incorporated into building and district ratings by the 2014-2015 school year and will include measures of student achievement growth of identified gifted students and other relevant measures from the gifted education dashboard as developed in 2013-2014.”  The chart on page 42 of the waiver should be similarly modified.  Also, as a minor point of clarification, the resolution was adopted by the board in December, 2011 not November, 2011 as indicated in the application.

Explanation:  The ODE ESEA waiver application states  “New Indicators on Gifted Performance: In November 2011, the Ohio State Board of Education, in compliance with state law, adopted a resolution to create a report card indicator reflecting services to and performance of students identified as gifted. The indicator will include three components: percentage of students that have been identified as gifted; the percentage of students receiving gifted services; and the performance of identified students in mathematics and reading on statewide tests. These indicators will be included for the first time on the 2012-2013 Local Report Card.”

In fact, this statement only reflects the first year of the phase-in of the gifted performance indicator.  The chart on page 42 only reflects phase I as well.  The full phase-in requires that the state develop a measure an indicator that goes much further than this.  The application needs to reflect the full extent of the resolution which ultimately includes a value-added growth measure, a gifted dashboard, and which by 2014-2015 will contribute the district’s rating – not merely serve as a report only measure. OAGC worked in good faith with both the State Board of Education and the Ohio Department of Education on this resolution. Without the full extent of what is required added to the application, it sends the message to districts, the Ohio General Assembly and the USDOE, that the indicator is report only and of no consequence. The lack of accountability (and funding) for gifted students has led to a near catastrophic decline in services to gifted students over the last few years.

Issue 2 -- Page 38 and 39 – The waiver speaks to the possibility of increasing weights for accelerated and advanced levels which could lead to unintended consequences.

OAGC Request: Until such time as the OAA and OGT cut scores are raised and the assessments are sufficiently rigorous, the language to increase the weights for accelerated and advanced levels should be removed from the application.

Explanation: The application indicates that, “[I]n order to focus greater attention on preparing students to be college and career ready and internationally competitive, Ohio may change the point value assigned to each test performance level to add more weight to the highest categories, currently Advanced and Accelerated.” As OAGC has shared with ODE staff many times, there are unintended consequences of having increased weights on the advanced and accelerated categories. Districts often wishing to increase their performance index are loath to accelerate gifted students in the belief that their OAA and OGT scores will decline. Gifted students are often not allowed to go beyond the curriculum at all in order to ensure that they get the highest OAA scores possible.  Research shows that acceleration is one of the most educationally effective and economically efficient ways to serve gifted children. Despite this research, based on the latest data from ODE from 2010/2011, fewer than 600 students are accelerated in approximately 100 districts state-wide. 

The fact is that the cut scores for accelerated and in some areas even advanced levels are very low. Despite Superintendent Heffner’s acknowledgment of this fact, there is nothing in the application that indicates that the scores will be raised.  Should ODE increase the reward to districts for students who are deemed “accelerated” based on a test score of 58%? It would be better to reward districts who are accelerating gifted students with additional weights rather than giving additional weights on tests that many gifted students could pass the first week of the school year. Any new accountability system should provide incentives to accelerate gifted students rather than provide artificial barriers that serve as disincentives for districts to do the right thing for students.

Issue 3 – The application does not reflect the State Board of Education ESEA platform request to allow for above-grade level state assessments.

Request -- OAGC requests that ODE staff incorporates the request to allow students to be assessed using above grade level assessments in the waiver application.

Explanation: The gifted community has long sought the ability to allow for above-grade level assessment for those students who are accelerated or whose growth is poorly reflected due to ceiling effects of the state assessments. The State Board added this request in the ESEA platform in December, 2011. If the Ohio Department of Education truly wishes to accurately measure the progress of gifted students in the accountability system, flexibility around the assessment of these students is a critical aspect. The state already allows students from STEM schools to access the OGT as they are ready, so it makes no sense that students in non-STEM schools do not have the same flexibility.

Issue 4 -- Page 25 – The application contains inaccuracies in the description of curricula supports for diverse learners including gifted. 

Request – OAGC requests that the language should be changed to properly reflect that the supports for gifted are not developed yet. 

Explanation: While the application indicates that 774 curricula model units have been developed and that “[e]very model curricula unit contains strategies and resources for educators who support students with disabilities, students identified as gifted and English Language Learners.”  In fact, each unit provides a link to the same 1.5 page document providing generic advice on how lessons can be differentiated for gifted students with absolutely no support on how to implement the strategies for the specific lesson.  The document includes such support as “[P]rovide options for resources in addition to textbooks. Gifted students often have broad knowledge and a desire to learn in great depth.” Each unit also provides links to UDL (Universal Design for Learning) and CAST learning model sites, which do nothing to support gifted student differentiation. In effect, the “supports” for the model curriculum for gifted are akin to telling a new swimmer to read a diagram about how to do a swimming stroke and telling them to jump in the water.  OAGC is concerned that districts and policymakers will interpret the description of support for gifted students in this application as evidence that fewer resources for gifted are needed, when in fact the opposite is true.