Waiver Wednesdays

Innovation in Action Video Chats

The onset of COVID-19 brought to light the need for tremendous innovation in education. Educational leaders and teachers around the world are hard at work creating new ways to engage young people’s minds and meet their unique academic and social/emotional needs via distance learning. In the short term, the US Department of Education and Ohio Department of Education are waiving hundreds of state and federal regulations to allow schools the flexibility they need to continuously adapt systems to support student learning. One unintended consequence is that schools and leaders are beginning to discover that having additional flexibility is allowing them to truly engage and support learners in new ways. Unfortunately, once the state of emergency ends, the flexibility will also end.

BUT … in Ohio, the flexibility does not have to end.

On March 30th, ODE released of this year’s application process for the Innovative Education Pilot Program which allows districts, community schools, ESCs and chartered non-public schools to apply for the state’s Innovation Waivers. The program is intended to provide flexibility to schools using innovative, and yet still rigorous, instructional approaches that may be more compatible with the educational programs or objectives of the applicants. Application deadline is May 18th @ 5pm.

Recently, the Department has only received 3-4 applications a year and they have almost exclusively focused on additional PD days.  The Department is encouraging schools, districts and ESCs to ‘think outside the box’ and consider requesting waivers that will allow you to truly innovate!  Dr. Scott Hunt, ODE Executive Director of Field Relations recently shared that one Ohio CTC is planning to submit a waiver application to pilot a shift from a 5-day school week to a 4-day school week.  This CTC wants to use Fridays differently for training and other activities, but currently ORC identifies a school week as five days.  Visit ODE’s Innovative Education Pilot Program webpage for more info on the application process.

As Ohio schools struggle to support all learners during the COVID-19 pandemic, innovation allowing schools and teachers to better serve children – now AND in the future – is more critical than ever. EnvisionEdPlus, is partnering with ODE to host a series of FREE video chats on innovation and exploration of how a school or district might gain additional flexibility by requesting to waive regulations that are barriers to innovation.

Join EnvisionEdPlus and ODE’s Dr. Scott Hunt for our upcoming free Waiver Wednesday (Innovation in Action) Video Chats – Wednesday in April  @ 3:30pm – 4:30pm. 

Click HERE to Register for any/all of these events.

As an FYI, if you want to submit a waiver application, but don’t have internal capacity right now to do the paperwork, EnvisionEdPlus is happy to assist. Just contact Michele Timmons (michele@envisionedplus.com or 614.893.7341).