Two state agencies have recently prepared new resources for school districts: The Ohio Department of Education (ODE) updated its truancy and attendance guidance, and the Ohio History Connection (OHC) added resources for properly managing local government records.
Truancy and discipline resources
House Bill (HB) 410, passed last year by the Ohio General Assembly, altered state attendance and truancy laws. Since the bill’s passage, ODE has compiled a comprehensive list of frequently asked questions on the HB 410 changes. This new document provides information on a variety of topics, including defining the new excessive absence categories.
For students who are absent too frequently, or for districts where many frequently absent students are enrolled, the FAQ addresses questions related to topics like the creation of absence intervention teams. These teams are designed to help frequently absent students attend school on a regular basis. The resources also address the issue of students with irregular schedules, including those in high schools who may have early release or late arrival plans, or who take classes through College Credit Plus (CCP). The resources also provide guidance for buildings without period- or block-based schedules, such as elementary schools, which may not record attendance every hour, as the new regulations stipulate.
The HB 410 changes also are likely to affect your district and board policies and procedures relating to attendance and discipline. OSBA addressed the HB 410 changes as they relate to board policy in the February 2017 issue of Policy Development Quarterly (PDQ) and is providing additional information in the upcoming November 2017 PDQ issue. Contact your board policy services provider with additional questions regarding necessary board policy changes as they relate to HB 410.
Government records management resources
Another resource your district may find helpful is the new Local Government Records Manual, which was compiled by the Ohio County Archivists and Records Managers Association (CARMA). Ohio law sets forth a number of requirements about management and storage of government records, which can be confusing to navigate. This manual condenses the laws that define what must be retained as public records, how long the records must be retained, and how they should be made accessible to the public. Please keep in mind that local board policies and records retention schedules dictate local requirements for records management, storage and retention. The Local Government Records Manual should be used as a reference, and as a companion, not substitute for those locally-adopted procedures.
The publication also outlines how various types of records, including images and electronic documents, must be maintained. It also provides guidance on how districts can create plans to manage records in a way that is more efficient and still legally compliant.
*OSBA wishes to thank Olentangy High School student and OSBA mentee Hayden Toftner for his contributions to this article.