State Board Gets Second View of New Eval Regs, Hears About PARCC Field Test at May Board Meeting

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The State Board of Education’s May meeting included: a second discussion on newly proposed evaluation regulations, an initial approval of charter regulations, a presentation on the recent PARCC field test, a process for approval of the Core Curriculum Content Standards, and a reorganization of the Department’s ORG chart.  

The State Board of Education’s May meeting included: a second discussion on newly proposed evaluation regulations, an initial approval of charter regulations, a presentation on the recent PARCC field test, a process for approval of the Core Curriculum Content Standards, and a reorganization of the Department’s ORG chart. 

New Org Chart

The Board approved several changes in titles/responsibilities as well as the addition of Ms. Patricia Morgan as Ms. Susanna Guerrera’s replacement as Chief Legal and External Affairs Officer for the Department where she will oversee the Offices of Legislative Affairs, Controversies and Disputes, and School Ethics.  In addition, this office is in charge of the Division of Administration and Finance which comprises the Offices of Budget and Accounting and Grants Management, School Finance, School Facilities, and Fiscal Accountability and Compliance. The chart below details changes in title and assignment. 






Patricia Morgan

Chief Legal and External Affairs Officer

David C. Hespe, Acting Commissioner of Education

Amy Ruck

Deputy Chief Innovation Officer

Evo Popoff, Chief Innovation Officer

Harry Lee

Director, Office of Charter Schools

Amy Ruck, Deputy Chief Innovation Officer

Lorraine Clapper

Director, Office of Informational Technology

David Corso, Assistant Commissioner, Division of Administration and Finance

Dodi Price

Director, Office of Human Resources

David Corso, Assistant Commissioner, Division of Administration and Finance

The changes approved May 7 move the Regional Achievement Centers under the Chief Innovation Officer, Mr. Evo Popoff.  They also eliminate the old Chief School Improvement Officer and replace it with a new Assistant Commissioner for the Division of Field Services moving the Director of the Office of Fiscal Accountability and Compliance;  the County Offices, Quality Single Accountability Continuum (NJQSAC), Regionalization Consolidation and Shared Services; and Intervention Districts under the Division.  In addition, the state-operated districts now fall under the Chief of Staff.

Core Curriculum Content Standards Review

In addition, the Board unveiled the schedule for review of the Core Curriculum Content Standards 5 year review process which will kick off on May 22 at 2pm.  Public hearings will be held on June 4, 11, 12 with proposed initial presentment at the July Board meeting culminating in final re-adoption by the Board in October.

The New Jersey Core Curriculum Content Standards include Preschool Teaching and Learning Standards as well as K-12 standards for: Visual and Performing Arts; Comprehensive Health and Physical Education; Science; Social Studies; World Languages; Technology; and 21st-Century Life and Careers. Standards for Mathematics and Language Arts Literacy are part of the Common Core State Standards initiative coordinated by the Council of Chief States School Officers (CCSSO) and the National Governor’s Association (NGA) in partnership with other national organizations. New Jersey is one of 44 states, Washington, DC and the U.S. Virgin Islands to join the state-led Common Core State Standards initiative.

Update on PARCC Field Testing

The Board also received a presentation from the Department on the recent PARCC field test.  Included within the presentation were a sampling of the more than 544 comments the Department received either via twitter or online survey.  NJPSA conducted a similar survey in mid-April (NJPSA PARCC Survey Analysis, April 17, 2014).

NAEP – Grade 12 2013

The Board additionally received a presentation on the recent NAEP results that cmae out.  By and large New Jersey continues to out-pace the nation but has not shown extraordinary improvement in either achievement gap issues or improvement generally per the Department. 

Charter Schools

Moving to items for consideration, the Board approved the publication for purposes of re-adoption with amendments, the rules pertaining to charter schools proposed at N.J.A.C. 6A:11, pursuant to N.J.S.A. 18A:36A-18.  The chapter is scheduled to expire May 10, 2014.  The charter school rules were adopted in August 1997 and amended in May 1998, October 2000, October 2002, and most recently in August 2013. 

NJPSA weighed in the last round of changes in 2013 that sought to create a streamlined application process, allowed for the establishment of satellite campuses, created new tenure acquisition and revocation rules for charter teaching staff members, and allowed for broad Commissioner discretion in waiver of regulation (NJPSA testimony / NJPSA testimony on streamline tenure). 

NJPSA will be providing comment to the Department in coming days in light of the newly initiated Department changes as well as past adopted modifications. 

Educator Effectiveness

The Board had a second discussion on new regulations developed by the Department of Education in response to “lessons learned” in implementation of the new evaluation system.  In order to ensure passage of the regulations by the beginning of the coming school year, the regulations will bypass the second discussion stage of review by the Board.  Dubbed as “technical amendments” by the Chief Performance Officer Peter Shulman, the changes do not include “major changes” in order to allow districts to continue working toward full implementation by the next school year.   Among the changes proposed are:

·         Moving the date by which student growth objectives (SGO) need to be completed from October 15 to October 31 to allow school district personnel more time;

·         Allowing the filing of the SGOs once calculated versus once set;

·         Elimination of the December 1 deadline for completion of co-observation;

·         Allowing for the electronic filing of observation reports;

·         The creation of an internal appeals process for teachers to the superintendent and ultimately the board for procedural errors in evaluation; and

·         Moving regulations related to the evaluation of staff, other than teachers, principals, assistant principals and vice principals to a separate, distinct section of the code.           

NJPSA has had discussion with members of the Critical Issues Committee on the proposed changes and is in conversation with the Department.

School District Operations

Further, the Department had a first discussion on re-adoption of the School District Operation’s code in light of the sunset of the chapter.  The changes are minor and incorporate items required by the enactment of statute in recent years.

Rulemaking Changes

The Board additionally had a first discussion on several changes to their current rulemaking, codified at N.J.A.C. 6A:6, in light of changes to the Administrative Procedures Act enacted in January that become effective July 1. 

This chapter outlines State Board of Education’s and the Department’s procedures for promulgating and amending rules in Title 6A of the New Jersey Administrative Code and provides a procedure for an interested person to petition the State Board to create, amend, or repeal a rule. 

The changes increase the required use of electronic technologies in the rulemaking process.  Other amendments are proposed to bring the Chapter’s provisions in line with current State Board and Department practices or to reflect that Title 6 of New Jersey Administrative Code no longer contains education regulations.

Nominations & Schedules

The Board also began the process of selecting nominations for the leadership roles for the coming year.  State Board Members Ernie Lepore, Dorothy Strickland and Jack Fornaro were tasked with making recommendations.  The election will be held at the June Board meeting. 

In addition, the Board reviewed the Resolution to Establish the State Board Calendar of Meeting Dates for 2014-2015.  The resolution will also be adopted in June.

Certification of School Districts

Further the Board reviewed 38 reviews that were completed by the executive county superintendent since March 5: 35 full reviews (districts on the third round of a full review) and 3 interim reviews in districts that scored less than 80 percent in one or more of the district performance review (DPR) areas.  Appendix A (5-7-14) lists all of the districts and their DPR scores. 

Twenty-one districts scored 80 percent or above in all five DPR areas and were recommended for approval for certification for a period of three years.  Seventeen districts scored below 80% in one or more DPR areas and are required to develop and implement a QSAC improvement plan to address deficient indicators.  Following approval of the plan, the executive county superintendent will conduct an interim progress review.

Re-organization of Licensure

The  Reorganization of Chapter 9, Professional Licensure and Standards (skipped) – Looking to re-organize chapter 9 into sub-parts – 4

Other Business

Finally, the Board announced a multi-honoree Awards Ceremony for May 22 and recognized May as Physical Education and Sport Month with a Resolution presented to the New Jersey Association of Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (NJAPHERD).