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Orange Schools Receive Conditional Approval on State Testing Waiver
Orange Schools Receive Conditional Approval on State Testing WaiverPEPPER PIKE, OH – April 7, 2015 – The Orange City School District announced today that its application for a five-year waiver on state mandated testing has received “conditional approval” by the Ohio Department of Education (ODE). This request is for the years 2015–2020 and is possible due to the District’s affiliation with the Ohio Innovation Lab Network (ILN). Orange is one of only a handful of school districts in Ohio eligible to apply for this waiver, which now has to be approved by the U.S. Department of Education (USDOE).

The Orange Schools will collaborate with the ODE and several other Ohio school districts who received “conditional approval” to prepare a proposal that will be reviewed by the USDOE. If federally approved, the Orange Schools will replace state assessments with authentic learning and performance based assessments. The intention of these waivers is to provide flexibility to ILN districts and STEM schools to use alternative assessments that may be more compatible with the educational programs of the applicants, while still maintaining a consistent level of rigor and accountability. It may take several months before the USDOE makes its final decision. In the meantime, Orange will continue its focus on project based and personalized learning so it will be ready once the federal decision is made.

“While it will take some additional work on our part and approval from the U.S. Department of Education, we are hopeful that the waiver will enable us to refine our testing procedures to better utilize local control of our educational program,” said Mrs. Karen Moore, Orange Schools Director of 21st Century Curriculum. “A special thank you goes to the school staff for their outstanding work on this waiver and their dedication to the students of Orange City Schools. This is the first step on our journey to a more balanced authentic system of assessments for our students. We have much work ahead of us and I am excited to embark on this journey with them.”

ILN’s purpose is to engage schools, districts and the ODE to work together to identify, test and implement new designs for public education that will empower each student to thrive as a productive learner, worker and citizen in a rapidly changing global economy. Orange has aligned with the six ILN principles and critical attributes: world-class knowledge and skills; comprehensive systems of support, personalized learning; performance-based learning; anytime, anywhere learning; and student ownership of learning.

Orange was one of the founding districts in Ohio’s Partnership of Next Generation Learning (NxGL) initiative in 2009, which has developed into ILN. Orange continues to challenge the status quo and is committed to providing a world-class education for our students.