Pasco Schools ELL Parent Newsletter

VOL III - April 2021

Questions about this Newsletter?

Please contact Luisa Ojeda Vera, Pasco County ELL Parent and Community Engagement Coach at (English - Spanish).

Emergency Order from the Florida Department of Education regarding Promotion and Graduation Requirements

“I wholeheartedly support Commissioner Corcoran’s announcement today. It is in the best interest of students, educators, and parents, and will provide us with the testing data we need to move forward without unfairly penalizing students and schools who have struggled due to the unprecedented circumstances of the past year. I strongly urge parents to ensure that their students participate in testing this year. The testing data will be invaluable to us for identifying the students who need additional support. Pasco students and teachers can count on our school district, and decision-makers in Tallahassee, to work together to promote student success.”

Pasco School Superintendent Kurt Browning.

Here is more information.

The Florida Department of Education (FDOE) issued Emergency Order 2021-EO-02. This order builds on previous FDOE Orders 2020-EO-06 and 2020-EO-07, which created conditions for the successful reopening of all the state’s public schools, and 2021-EO-01, which expanded the statewide testing windows to ensure that every student can safely complete their state assessments.

“Over the past year and beyond, Florida has led on prioritizing the education and wellbeing of our state’s students,” said Governor Ron DeSantis. “This emergency order will empower students, families, and teachers with data on students’ progress and growth and provide them with the necessary tools to create the best educational experience for each individual.”

“Similar to last year, this Emergency Order protects our high school seniors and empowers local school districts and schools to make the important decisions on graduation, promotion, and whether to opt-in to school grades and improvement ratings,” said Commissioner of Education Richard Corcoran. “This is the ultimate flexibility and reinforces the compassion and grace we have used throughout this pandemic in making these decisions. I also want to thank our courageous and dedicated educators and school leaders who have made this school year so successful for our students and local communities.”

FDOE Emergency Order 2021-EO-02 provides the following:

* Districts and schools can opt-in, at their discretion, on a case-by-case basis, to school grades or improvement ratings for each individual school.

* Calculation of learning gains and middle school acceleration for school grades will be based on the growth of two school years, rather than one, due to the cancellation of tests in Spring 2020.

* For districts and schools not opting in, school grades and school improvement ratings would not be automatically calculated and released for the 2020-2021 school year.

* Allows districts and schools flexibility to determine on a case-by-case basis if a senior’s high school record demonstrates a comparable level of achievement to state assessments.

* Allows districts and schools local discretion to determine promotion and course grade decisions, including courses that require end-of-course (EOC) exams.

* Provides two types of compassion and grace to high school seniors who are on track, but have yet to earn a Bright Futures Florida Academic Scholars, Florida Medallion Scholars, Florida Gold Seal Vocational Scholars, or Florida Gold Seal CAPE Scholars award:

* Extends deadlines to earn qualifying test scores to December 1, 2021 (ACT, SAT and PERT for Florida Gold Seal Vocational Scholars); and

* Forgives volunteer hour requirements for students who intended to complete the service hours prior to graduation, but through no fault of their own had a lack of access to volunteer opportunities.

* Allows local districts to make decisions regarding the optional use of VAM data as part of the “performance of students” component in a teacher’s evaluation.

* Provides permission for early learning coalitions to use unspent funds, which would otherwise normally exceed the statutory thresholds allowed for non-direct services, to be utilized as long as these funds are used to provide direct supports to early learning childcare providers.

* Allows VPK providers, especially school districts with shortened summer periods, to provide no less than 200 hours of summer VPK, suspending the law requiring 300 hours.

In addition, FDOE submitted its request for a waiver from federal requirements resulting from ongoing challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic. On February 22, the United States Department of Education (USED) invited states to request waivers of certain provisions of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, as amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act, for the 2020-2021 school year.

On March 17, 2021, FDOE posted a draft waiver and accepted public comment through March 31. During that time, 777 emails and 11 letters of support were received, with most addressing the waiver indicating favorable support. The State Board of Education, at its March 17, 2021, meeting, expressed support for the waiver, and the Florida Association of District School Superintendents also voiced its collective support for the waiver.

“This waiver application, as well as this Emergency Order, puts the interests of Florida students, educators, and schools first and foremost,” said Pinellas County Schools Superintendent Dr. Michael Grego. “Thank you to Governor DeSantis and Commissioner Corcoran and the Department of Education for the ongoing collaboration and seeking the advice and guidance from our state’s superintendents.”

Specifically, if approved, Florida would not be required to:

* Implement and report the results of the state’s accountability system;

* Calculate progress toward long-term goals and measurements of interim progress or indicators;

* Meaningfully differentiate among public schools using data from the 2020-2021 school year;

* Account for an assessment participation rate below 95 percent; and

* Identify schools for comprehensive support and improvement, targeted support and improvement, and additional targeted support and improvement based on data from the 2020-2021 school year.

Florida would still be required to:

* Continue to support previously identified schools in the 2021-2022 school year;

* Resume school identification in the fall of 2022; and

* Publically report the percentage of students, by subgroup, not assessed and the percentage chronically absent.

Tips for a successful Parent-Teacher conference

What is a parent-teacher conference?
A parent-teacher conference is a meeting between you and your child's teacher to discuss your child's progress in school. Parent-teachers conferences happen in elementary, middle, and high schools. This meeting may take place as part of the regularly scheduled conferences held by the school each year, or your child's teacher may contact you to schedule a meeting at any other time. You can also request a conference with your child's teacher if you have questions or concerns about your child. Contact the teacher to set up a meeting at any time during the school year.

Why is it important to go to a parent-teacher conference?

In the U.S. educational system, teachers believe that a strong partnership between the home and school will help children succeed in school. If your child's teacher schedules a meeting with you, it does not necessarily mean that your child is in trouble. Teachers welcome input from the parents about their children, such as information about what the child likes to do or what they are good at. Teachers also understand that each student is different and learns differently and that no one knows your child better than you do. You may provide some insight that will help the teacher work more effectively with your child at school.

Before the Conference...

The conference with your child's teacher will be more efficient and productive if you do some preparation beforehand. To prepare for the conference the following is recommended:

  1. Notify the school if you would like to have a translator during the conference.
  2. Talk with your child
  3. Prepare a list of notes
  4. Prepare a list of questions

The following questions are examples that will help you learn more about your child's progress in school:

  1. What is my child expected to learn this year?
  2. How will this be evaluated?
  3. What are my child's strongest and weakest subjects?
  4. What are some examples of these strengths and weaknesses?
  5. Does my child hand homework in on time?
  6. What types of tests and evaluations will my child have to take this year?
  7. How are my child's test-taking skills?
  8. Is my child participating in class discussions and activities?
  9. How are my child's social skills?
  10. Does my child seem happy at school?
  11. Have you noticed any unusual behaviors?
  12. Has my child missed any classes other than his/her excused absences?
  13. Do you think my child is reaching his/her highest potential?
  14. What can I do at home to help support his/her academic progress?

    If your child receives special services (gifted programs, special education, speech or occupational therapy, or support for a learning disability), ask about the frequency of these services and about your child's progress with them.

    Let's learn more about ESOL

    EQUAL ACCESS FOR IMMIGRANT STUDENTS (via Florida Consent Decree)

    The Florida Department of Education monitors guidelines and standards to ensure that refugee and other immigrant limited English proficient (LEP), racial and national origin minority students are provided free, equal, and unhindered access to an appropriate education in the State of Florida.

    These standards provide that school districts cannot:

    1. Classify undocumented, or other immigrant students based on their federal immigration status or inquire into an individual student's or their parent's immigration status as such for any educational purpose.
    2. Ask, compile, nor maintain lists of students with alien registration numbers and those without.
    3. Ask, compile, or maintain any individual student's immigration status.
    4. Refer or report to the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Services (INS) current or future students for any reason before or after admission.
    5. Require students to have or obtain a federal social security number as a precondition or condition after admission or as a prerequisite for service under any federally funded program unless that program's statute and regulations specifically require such an exclusion.
    6. Deny any federally funded educational services unless that program's statutes and regulations specifically require such exclusion. No eligible student shall be denied services under any state or locally funded program.

    To learn more about the Florida Consent Decree, please click on the link below ⬇️

    Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports

    Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) is an evidence-based three-tiered framework for improving and integrating all of the data, systems, and practices affecting student outcomes every day. It is a way to support everyone – especially students with disabilities – to create the kinds of schools where all students are successful.
    Big picture
    Big picture

    The Parent Leadership Council is looking for new members now!

    The ESOL Parent Leadership Council is a district-wide forum for English Language Learners (ELL) parents and interested community members to help the District identify ELL students' educational needs and priorities.

    Interested? Contact our ELL Parent and Community Engagement Coach!

    Did you know?

    It's never too late to learn! Pasco County Schools offers adult education at two convenient campuses for students seeking job training or their GED. See how you can take the next step for your future. Click on the image to learn more.

    Did you miss our last meeting?

    Do not worry! Click here to find all the information we shared with parents.

    Do you want to learn English? Click here!

    Marchman Technical College offers ESOL courses for basic interpersonal communication skills for adults. Their curriculum is based on reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills, with in-person and online classes. Click for more information!

    ESOL School Staff in the Spotlight - Gloryvee Ortiz

    What is your role in Pasco County? ​I am an ESOL Instructional Assistant at Anclote High School.

    How do you support ELL students at AHS? ​I support our Multi-Language Learners in their classrooms as a liaison with the teacher and a support system with daily assignments. I also support them in various aspects of their lives, applying for colleges, jobs, and often a parent figure.

    What is your favorite thing about working with ELL students? ​Their eagerness to learn and being able to learn about other cultures/countries. It's great to see kids who are what I once was, a student trying to learn English and be successful. My absolute favorite moment is when they "get it" and will tell you "I understand what I have to do". Watching them graduate and receiving those emails after the fact telling me they are graduating from college makes your spirit happy and you know you had a small part in that.

    We want to hear from you!

    Please follow us on social media, and contact us if you have questions or concerns regarding your student's ESOL services.
    Have concerns?

    Please let us know how we can help you and your ESOL student succeed in school.

    Click here to give us your feedback

    Let us know how ESOL services have helped you or your student.