DOE Reverses Decision: High School Testing Window Back to Dec.

DOE Reverses Decision: High School Testing Window Back to Dec.

Thank you Rep. Jimmie T. Smith!

On Friday I got some outstanding news regarding our school calendar for the 2012-2013 school year. The Florida Department of Education (DOE) issued a memo on Friday reversing its previous decision of requiring all schools to move to a January only testing window (click here to read memo).  Now they have returned to a December testing window.  Having a January testing window would have created a situation that likely would have drastically limited the number of dual enrollment college courses Citrus County High School student could take.  Having a “January only Testing Window” could  have also resulted in having a negative effect on student’s scores and caused additional financial stress on families future costs of college and post high school educational expenses.  Of the many reasons why this issue is so important, is that many high school students, under our current Citrus County blended high school system, a student can now finish one to two (or more) college semesters while in high school, therefore potentially saving tens of thousands of tuition dollars.

I met with our State Representative Jimmie T. Smith in late September 2011 and shared with him the issue and my concerns of its negative impact.  As a result he went right to work on helping encourage DOE to take a serious second look at the issue.  Rep. Smith sits on the all-important Education Committee.  At the October 2011 Education Committee meeting the new Florida Education Commissioner, Gerard Robinson, came to introduce himself to the committee and provide some updates.  It was at that meeting that Rep. Smith went off topic and agenda to address this important issue.

-Rep. Jimmie T. Smith to the new Florida Education Commissioner, Gerard Robinson

 “I hope you all will excuse me this is a little off topic. The Department of Education has informed school districts that there would be no December testing window only a January testing window. This will impact high performing schools districts such as Citrus County in which I represent.  Which starts two weeks earlier.   Because students will not be able to complete their semester schedule in December this will cause a real negative impact on students that are involved in dual enrolment. DOE has sent out surveys to districts who are being affected by this, my question is are there any updates beyond that?  And also is this an issue we can address this year by DOE and assist these school districts?”

 Thursday, October 6th, 2011 during committee meeting.

(Source: http://streams.leg.state.fl.us/archive/MBR/H_2591_2011_10_06_8984.asx  at 17:35 min./sec.)

There were many times during the process when some told us to “forget it”, “you wouldn’t get anything changed”, but neither I, nor Rep. Smith and his Aides, felt that way and so they continued to work at a solution.

I want to personally express my gratitude and thanks to Rep. Smith, his Legislative Aide, Chase Daniels, and District Aide, Dawn Faherty, for all their work on this issue for Citrus County School District and our students.

I also want to thank Patrick Simon, Citrus School’s Research and Accountability Director, who was diligently working with DOE’s staff and completed detailed surveys which further led to DOE’s decision to revise.

At the January 10th, 2012 Regular School Board meeting the Board will be voting on a final calendar for the 2012-2013 school year.

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