Wisconsin students won’t be taking any standardized state tests for the remainder of the school year, the DPI has announced. That includes the Forward Exam, or Dynamic Learning Maps exam for students with significant cognitive disabilities, and the ACT Aspire. While most regular ACT tests have already been administered, the DPI said it is working to provide an additional exam opportunity. This was one of several items WEAC recommended to state leaders in the wake of school closings.
Here are some other recent updates for educators as of March 27, 2020:
Instructional Minutes Waiver
Due to the health crisis, school district administrators can now submit requests for a waiver of instructional minutes. WEAC advocated for the waivers, and the DPI has confirmed it will grant waivers to any district, but a blanket waiver for the whole state can’t be issued. Waivers must be submitted by the end of the school year and a public hearing must be held, which can be in a virtual format.
The decision to complete a teacher’s 2019-20 EE cycle now or to carry it over to 2020-21 is a joint decision to be made collaboratively between the educator and the evaluator. WEAC advocated on behalf of members to make sure educators have a say in this decision.
Schools in Need of Improvement
The DPI has asked that all schools currently in comprehensive or targeted support for the 2019-20 school year be carried over into the 2020-21 school year. This would include the funding associated with the support. No new schools would be identified in 2019-20.
State Report Cards
The DPI has asked for a waiver of state report card requirements.
Schools will not be required to report attendance during the period of the current health emergency, regardless of whether or not schools are offering instruction. Schools can make the local decision to take student attendance, however that information will not need to be reported to the DPI.
School Lunch Waivers
Wisconsin has received waivers that allow children who qualify for free and reduced lunch to be served 2 meals in a non-congregate (outside of school) setting. Schools can provide up to one week worth of lunches at a time. However, many are providing 2 days at a time. For schools with over 50% free and reduced lunch numbers all students, regardless of eligibility for free and reduced lunch, now qualify for out-of-school free meals under this waiver. Many schools with less than 50% free and reduced lunch rate are providing meals to all students so as to not identify who does or does not qualify for free or reduced lunch.
Civics Exam Waiver
Wisconsin statute requires that students graduating from a Wisconsin high school pass a civics test comprised of 100 questions that are identical to the 100 questions asked of an individual applying for U.S. citizenship. Some students may not have passed the graduation requirement before Wisconsin schools were closed which may prohibit their ability to graduate in 2020. The DPI has provided both a waiver and an online testing option for high school seniors. Also related to seniors: many high school social studies teachers work with their 18-year olds or soon to be 18 year olds to register to vote. WEAC encourages high school teachers in this circumstance to personally reach out to these students and have them register to vote and request absentee ballots at myvote.wi.gov.
WEAC Coronavirus Resource Page
At www.weac.org/coronavirus, you will find the WEAC Frequently Asked Questions. WEAC members with questions not addressed there can submit it using the secure online form at www.weac.org/coronavirus. Any inquiry about your specific circumstances should be referred to your WEAC region office.