MDE Guidance Relating to Evaluation Training Funds
Last week, the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) issued guidance on how funds for research, development and training related to educator evaluations will be awarded. This guidance is found on the MDE website, the tab entitled "Educator Services/Educator Evaluations."
Per the MDE, Section 95a of the Fiscal Year 2015 State School Aid Act set aside up to $12,100,000 for training. These funds will be awarded through state intermediate school districts (ISDs); the application is online and must be filed no later than April 29, 2016. The funds will be awarded with the May 20, 2016 State Aid payment. If an ISD chooses not to participate, then a district may participate through a neighboring ISD or a consortia of intermediate school districts.
The ISD must provide the required training to all teachers and school administrators within the local K-12 school districts and public school academies within its boundaries and/or in collaboration with other intermediate school districts or consortia of intermediate school districts.
As part of its application, the ISD must include: the tool being used by the local district and PSA in 2015-2016 and 2016-2017; the number of teachers and administrators to be trained; the student enrollment in the local districts and public school academies being served. As a result, we recommend that districts and public school academies work expeditiously to identify the tools they intend to use next year, and gather the data the ISD will need to timely submit an application for funding.
Once approved, funds may be applied to cover training that has already occurred this year, provided it occurred after July 1, 2015. Funds may be carried over if not used in the initial grant year, but it is uncertain whether funds will also be provided in the next State Aid Act.
The MDE has developed a FAQ section on its website. A service agreement between the ISD and its constituent districts must be developed and approved as part of the April 29 application. A sample service agreement, as well as a listing of the criteria to be included within the agreement, is described on the website.
Fiscal Agent for Research and Evaluation Activities
The MDE is also seeking applicants for a fiscal agent to engage in research and evaluation activities designed to enhance educator evaluations and student growth measures throughout the State of Michigan. A separate allocation of up to $1,900,000 has been established for these purposes. Local education agencies, intermediate school districts, RESAs or consortia of any of these agencies, are invited to apply.
The application form and FAQ are available on the website; applications are due April 11, 2016.
Given spring break schedules and the volume of activities in which our clients are involved at this time of the school year, we encourage interested applicants to work collaboratively and expeditiously to meet these timelines. Please let your Clark Hill Education Practice Group attorney know if we can be of any assistance in this important work.