Posts Tagged "SBOE"

Districts Get New Title I Flexibility: Learning List Can Help

[Source: TEA]

[Source: TEA]

Recently, Texas Commissioner of Education, Michael Williams advised districts:

Texas school districts are no longer required to set aside 20 percent of their Title I federal dollars to provide Supplemental Educational Services (SES) for students at low-performing campuses. A district is now free to use those funds on academic intervention programs it deems most effective for its students.

Learning List’s detailed alignment reports help districts easily identify supplemental products that will meet their students’ academic needs.

Our detailed alignment reports verify the publisher’s correlation, identifying multiple citations (e.g., pages, lessons, videos, etc…) that are aligned to each student expectation and the citations in the publisher’s correlation that Learning List found not to be aligned. Moreover, for each non-aligned citation, Learning List’s alignment reports include a comment explaining the part of the student expectation (i.e., the content, context, or cognitive demand) the citation did not address.

[Source: HI. EDU]

[Source: HI. EDU]

If a school/district’s test scores across a class/grade level/subject show a pattern of low performance, the district’s IM – or the teacher’s use of the IM — may be the cause. Here’s how:

STEP 1: Are the district’s materials aligned to that (those) standard(s)?

Learning List’s alignment reports show whether the district’s IM is aligned to each student expectation. If the materials are not aligned to the standards the students missed on the test and the teachers did not know the material was not aligned, students likely were not taught the knowledge and skills required by that (those) standard(s).

STEP 2: Even if the materials are aligned to that/those standard(s), are there some citations in the publisher’s correlation that are not aligned to the standard(s)?

In many cases, Learning List’s alignment report reveals that some of the citations listed in the publishers’ correlation are aligned to a student expectation and others are not. If teachers were assigning the citations that are not aligned to the standard(s) the students missed on the test, students likely were not taught the knowledge and skills required by that (those) standard(s).

Moreover, if the district’s IM are not aligned to 100% of the TEKS standards in a grade/subject, Learning List’s “Fill-in-the-Gap” tool identifies other materials, both comprehensive and supplemental (including open education resources) that address the remaining standards.

As State Board of Education member Pat Hardy commented, “Learning List helps districts use their instructional materials instructionally.” Though Texas school districts must no longer set aside 20% of their Title I funding for SES, districts still have a legal and moral obligation to help all students learn what the standards require. Learning List helps districts choose and then also use their instructional materials effectively to help teachers teach and students learn what the State requires them to know and be able to do. Please click here to request a webinar or more information.

[All materials related to the state’s waiver request – including the latest letter from USDE – are available for viewing on the TEA website .]

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Three of the Five Largest Texas School Districts Subscribe to Learning List

[Source: IMCAT]

[Source: IMCAT]

Following the recent release of the State Board of Education’s adoption list, three of the five largest school districts in Texas have subscribed to Learning List for independent reviews of instructional materials. Learning List, the industry-leading instructional materials review service for schools and districts, has reviewed the state-adopted materials, as well as many other products not submitted for state adoption in all four core subjects. This announcement today was shared at the Instructional Materials Coordinators  Association of Texas (IMCAT) conference in Fort Worth, Texas (Learning List is at Booth 315).

“We need to make sure that we’re being good stewards of the taxpayer’s funds,” said Matt Tyner, Textbook Manager for Dallas Independent School District. “Learning List’s reviews provide our selection committees with the information they need to help them decide if a material will meet our students’ needs. We’ve told publishers that Dallas ISD won’t consider purchasing materials that are not either on the state-adopted list or reviewed by Learning List.”

Learning List reviews comprehensive as well as supplemental products which are designed for a specific niche. Three types of reviews are featured for each instructional material: a detailed alignment report to state standards; an editorial review and educator ratings and reviews.

“We must ensure that we are purchasing the best materials for our students. Learning List expands the selection of materials we can consider. Their reviews then help us narrow our choices so that teachers spend less time in selection committees and have more time to teach,” said Dr. Linda Mora, Deputy Superintendent for Curriculum & Instruction for Northside ISD.

Not only can subscribing districts access Learning List’s completed reviews, they can also request reviews of additional materials. In that way, Learning List becomes an extension of the district’s curriculum department.

Austin ISD was one of the first subscribing districts. According to Dr. Suzanne Burke, Associate Superintendent for Academics for Austin ISD, “Our district used Learning List last year and found the service to be well worth the subscription price. With so many product choices these days, we simply don’t have the staff or time to review materials as thoroughly as Learning List does. Their reviews provide a great starting point for our selection process and give us greater confidence in our purchasing decisions.”

Stretch-Your-BudgetVisit LearningList.com for more information about the service or schedule a free webinar to see the reviews/tools on the site and qualify for a free trial. Learning List is exhibiting at IMCAT on Monday, December 8th and Tuesday, December 9th. Jackie Lain, President of Learning List, will be presenting at 2:15PM on Tuesday, Dec. 9, at 2:15PM at the Omni Texas I conference room. The session is “Learn How to Project Your IMA & Strategies for Stretching Your IMA Funds.”

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Can a District Project Instructional Materials Funding?

[Source: TEA]

[Source: TEA]

Earlier this year, we published a blog post that described how the funds for instructional materials in Texas flow from their source to local school districts. In that post, we explained that the instructional materials allotment (IMA) begins at the Permanent School Fund (PSF)—a $30 billion endowment created expressly for the benefit of the public schools of Texas—and flows through the State Board of Education, the state legislature, and the Texas Education Agency before making its way to the local education agencies.

Shortly before the beginning of each biennial legislative session, the State Board of Education (SBOE) determines the annual distribution rate (commonly referred to as the payout) from the PSF for each of the subsequent two budget years. The SBOE sets aside half of this distribution for instructional materials. This is the first step in the process that determines the amount of the IMA that each school district will receive for the purchase of instructional materials.

On September 19, 2014, the SBOE voted to set the distribution rate at 3.5%. As a result, the annual payout from the PSF for the IMA for the 2015–2016 and 2016–2017 school years could be as high as $500 million per year. To divide the total payout among all school districts, the commissioner of education has, in previous years, determined each district’s IMA allocation based on the percentage of the total student population served by the district. If the same rationale is used in the coming school years, a district that serves 1% of the total student population of Texas could receive $5 million (1% of $500 million) each year.

[Source: viedu.org]

[Source: viedu.org]

Knowing the amount of its IMA allocation for upcoming years can help a district begin planning for its instructional materials purchases. However, in doing so, districts should be aware that the possible amount of the IMA for the 2015–2016 and 2016–2017 school years suggested in this post is, at this point, only a projection. There are still several steps yet to be taken in the process that determines the actual amount of the IMA: the SBOE can decide to change the distribution rate at its November 2014 meeting; from (but not limited to) the payout set aside by the SBOE, the state legislature must appropriate the money for the IMA; and, from the amount appropriated, the commissioner of education must determine the per-student allotment for each district.

The total amount of the IMA available to the commissioner and each district’s individual IMA allocation should be known shortly after the end of the legislative session in 2015.

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Where Does Funding for Instructional Materials Come From?

textbooks2Few states make a specific appropriation to districts for the purposes of purchasing instructional materials and/or technology. South Carolina, Florida, and Texas are among the states that do.

In Texas, the funds for the Instructional Materials Allotment (IMA) begin at the Permanent School Fund (PSF), which was created by the legislature in 1854 with a $2 million appropriation for the benefit of Texas public schools. By the end of the 2013 fiscal year, the market value of the PSF exceeded $33 billion.

Shortly before the beginning of each biannual legislative session, the State Board of Education (SBOE) determines the annual distribution (or “payout”) from the PSF to the Available School Fund (ASF) for each of the subsequent two budget years. The SBOE sets aside half of this distribution for the Instructional Materials Fund (IMF). The legislature determines the amount of the distribution that is ultimately appropriated for the IMF.

The money in the IMF is used for several different instructional materials-related expenses, such as the cost of shipping adopted instructional materials to districts. The largest portion of the IMF, though, goes to the Instructional Materials Allotment (IMA). The commissioner determines the amount of the annual, per-student allocation from the IMA based on the amount of money available in the IMF. For the 2014-2015 school year, approximately 96% of the IMF was used for the IMA.

The ability to trace the flow of IM funds from their source to the local education agencies (LEAs) not only makes for an informed electorate, but also allows those who depend on those funds to estimate future IM allotments and plan for upcoming IM purchases.

In estimating forthcoming allotments and planning for future purchases, however, LEAs should be bear in mind that as funds flow from their source, they pass through the capitol building, and, by the power of appropriation, the state legislature has the final word on the funding of instructional materials.

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Texas State Board of Education Releases State-Adopted List with 405 Science, Math and Technical Applications Products

The State Board of Education today adopted a list of 405 science, math and technical application instructional materials, 303 of which state review panels determined to be 100 percent aligned to the Texas Essential  Knowledge and Skills (TEKS).  The remaining 102 state-adopted products are aligned with between 50 and 100 percent of the TEKS.  Pearson’s Biology and Houghton Mifflin’s Environmental Systems materials were conditionally adopted, pending reconciliation of alleged factual errors. By subject, the state-adopted list contains:

  •  93 Grades K-8 math products;
  •  20 Grades K-5  Spanish math products;
  • 221 Grades K-12 science products;
  •  65 Grades K-5 Spanish science products; and,
  •  22 Grades K-12 technology application products.

Within each subject, the State Board adopted on average:

  •   8 math products per grade in grades K-5;
  • 15 math products per grade in grades 6-8;
  • 17 science products per grade in grades K-5;
  • 23 science products per grade in grades 6-8;
  • 5 IPC, 13 Physics, 18 Chemistry, and 9 Biology state-adopted products, as well as a few products in various other high school science courses;
  • 2 technology application products per grade for K-8 as well as in the adopted high school courses;

In most grade levels, a couple of state-adopted products are available in both print, blended and/or digital formats. All others are unique products. Districts must now review the available instructional materials to determine which (1) best meet students’ needs, (2) can be implemented effectively given the district’s technical infrastructure, and (3)  reflect the community’s values. An article in the January 2014 edition of TxASCD’s Leaders of Learners will highlight specific, researched-based criteria districts should consider during their review of instructional materials.

Learning List is a new service available to assist districts with the challenge of reviewing so many instructional materials. Like a type of Consumer Reports/Angie’s List for K-12 instructional materials and online courses, LearningList.com features three types of reviews for each product: (1) an independent alignment to the TEKS; (2) an editorial review that highlights the types of information to help educators determine which products are best suited to meet their students’ needs; and (3) subscriber ratings and reviews. Tools on LearningList.com promote a collaborative selection process among district employees and help the district document compliance with the “100 Percent Rule”.  Beyond the selection process, the alignment reports on LearningList.com help teachers develop TEKS-aligned lesson plans for each reviewed instructional material.  Contact info@LearningList.com to learn more about this new service.

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