Deep in Governor Kasich’s budget bill (House Bill 64) on page 924 we can find language requiring the creation of an evaluation system that will cover all of Ohio’s school counselors (Ohio Counselor Evaluation System?; OCES?).  The overall framework and final evaluation ratings closely mirror the OTES structure, though the final pieces of the puzzle will ultimately be decided by the state board of education (led by two Kasich appointees).

The actual evaluation process is slated to begin in the 2016-17 school year and the legislation has many holes for the state board to fill, including the decision of “who” will actually be credentialed (and how) to evaluate counselors.  What would you like to bet that it’s either an additional credential that a principal will have to earn?  Or better yet, someone other than the principal that a district will have to hire just to evaluate counselors?

The full text of the legislation is posted below, but there are a couple of key items that we’d like to point out.

First, in addition to a school board adopting this yet-to-be-developed framework by September 30, 2016, the school district’s policy must include:

(b) Procedures for using the evaluation results, beginning in the 2017-2018 school year, for both of the following:
(i) Decisions regarding retention and promotion of school counselors;
(ii) Removal of poorly performing school counselors.

I’ll confess that I truly don’t know what it would mean to “promote” a school counselor, so feel free to weigh in with your thoughts in the comments section below.

The other key item to pay attention to is this:

(2) The state board shall consult with experts, school counselors and principals employed in public schools, and representatives of stakeholder groups in developing the standards and criteria required by division (B)(1) of this section.

As we learned during hearings on the “5 of 8” rule, the state school board doesn’t exactly have a good reputation for reaching out and listening to its constituents, so those who are interested in providing feedback on this framework should plan on being persistent in contacting the school board once this is finalized into law.

The overall statement about the OCES (remember you heard that acronym here first) simply states: “Requires school counselors to demonstrate their ability to produce positive student outcomes using metrics, including those from the school or school district’s report card…”

While there are many pieces that the state school board will need to create, the legislation is pretty straightforward.  We all know counselors (and other school personnel) have felt so left out by not being required to be evaluated <yes, that’s dripping with sarcasm>, so this will help to rectify that.  We also don’t think it will be long before the General Assembly starts to put in similar frameworks to evaluate all of the other “non-teaching” personnel not currently covered by OTES, so buckle down.

Here’s the full text from the newly-proposed section of Ohio Revised Code 3319.113 from HB64:

Sec. 3319.113. (A) Not later than May 31, 2016, the state board of education shall develop a standards-based state framework for the evaluation of school counselors. The state board may update the framework periodically by adoption of a resolution. The framework shall establish an evaluation system that does the following:

(1) Requires school counselors to demonstrate their ability to produce positive student outcomes using metrics, including those from the school or school district’s report card issued under section 3302.03 of the Revised Code when appropriate;
(2) Is aligned with the standards for school counselors adopted under section 3319.61 of the Revised Code and requires school counselors to demonstrate their ability in all the areas identified by those standards;
(3) Requires that all school counselors be evaluated annually, except as otherwise appropriate for high-performing school counselors;
(4) Assigns a rating on each evaluation in accordance with division (B) of this section;
(5) Designates the personnel that may conduct evaluations of school counselors in accordance with this framework;
(6) Requires that each school counselor be provided with a written report of the results of that school counselor’s evaluation;
(7) Provides for professional development to accelerate and continue school counselor growth and provide support to poorly performing school counselors.
(B)(1) The state board shall develop specific standards and criteria that distinguish between the following levels of performance for school counselors for the purposes of assigning ratings on the evaluations conducted under this section:
(a) Accomplished;
(b) Skilled;
(c) Developing;
(d) Ineffective.
(2) The state board shall consult with experts, school counselors and principals employed in public schools, and representatives of stakeholder groups in developing the standards and criteria required by division (B)(1) of this section.
(C)(1) Not later than September 30, 2016, each school district board of education shall adopt a standards-based school counselor evaluation policy that conforms with the framework for the evaluation of school counselors developed under this section. The policy shall become operative at the expiration of any collective bargaining agreement covering school counselors employed by the board that is in effect on the effective date of this section and shall be included in any renewal or extension of such an agreement.
(2) A district board shall include both of the following in its evaluation policy:
(a) The implementation of the framework for the evaluation of school counselors developed under this section beginning in the 2016-2017 school year;
(b) Procedures for using the evaluation results, beginning in the 2017-2018 school year, for both of the following:
(i) Decisions regarding retention and promotion of school counselors;
(ii) Removal of poorly performing school counselors. 
(D) Each district board shall annually submit a report to the department of education, in a form and manner prescribed by the department, regarding its implementation of division (C) of this section. At no time shall the department permit or require that the name or personally identifiable information of any school counselor be reported to the department under this division.
(E) Notwithstanding any provision to the contrary in Chapter 4117. of the Revised Code, the requirements of this section prevail over any conflicting provision of a collective bargaining agreement entered into on or after the effective date of this section.

 

 
  • wetsu

    How about job creation?
    All this fluff while people are still looking for employment. This is part window dressing for a presidential bid and his profound OCD fixation on punishing educators for not giving him the rest of their retirement money to blow when he was at Lehman Bros.

  • becca

    Bldg administrators don’t have enough people to evaluate, so we will add
    more to their plate. And exactly which test will be used to measure a
    guidance counselor’s effectiveness/?? How many students get into
    Harvard? Princeton?? Yale??

  • anastasjoy

    So it’s not that far-fetched that they will start evaluating the custodians?

    This is real crap considering how they’ve cut back on counselors and increased their workloads. In a high-poverty school where kids have greater needs, how many can they realistically help with the entire culture around them fighting their efforts?

    My high school college counselor was the worst. She stereotyped me and recommended schools I had no interest in so I found my own with the help of my parents. Should she have gotten credit? Our entire culture (upper-middle class, college-educated parents) was focused on college choice and 98 percent of us went – four boys from my class to Harvard. It wasn’t her doing.

    Also, because of the era I was in high school, she told every girl who walked through her door “Wherever you go to college, whatever you major in, take 18 hours of education in your senior year and you’ll be able to get a job wherever your husband is transferred.” She was not the first or last person I told “Teaching is not for me; it sounds like hell.” Alas, now it is hell even for those with the calling, which is sad.

  • wetsu

    That has been a point of contention for me since the days of pupil performance objectives and the rise of the testing culture. If these initiatives were so effective would we not be hearing about how many more doctors and scientists we have created due to the tests?

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