Jason Flatt Act Suicide Prevention Law Effective March 22, 2013

Governor John Kasich signed HB 543, also known as the “Jason Flatt Act,” into law on December 20, 2012. The bill, originally sponsored by the mother of a suicide victim, requires school districts to provide in service training in youth suicide awareness and prevention to all teachers, nurses, counselors, school psychologists and administrators. Districts may also provide training to any other personnel deemed appropriate.

Each district is required to either adopt or adapt the curriculum developed by the Department of Education or develop its own curriculum in consultation with public or private agencies or persons involved in youth suicide awareness and prevention programs. The training will count toward professional development required by districts and may be accomplished through self-review of suitable prevention materials approved by the board.

The bill is named for a Tennessee student who committed suicide in 1997. His father has championed the Jason Foundation, Inc. since his son’s death and numerous other states have adopted similar versions of HB 543 as a result of the foundation’s lobbying efforts.  The law goes into effect on March 22, 2013.

The full text of the law can be viewd at: http://www.legislature.state.oh.us/bills.cfm?ID=129_HB_543

Changes to Student Growth Measures in HB 555

We have recently reported on House Bill 555 which was signed into law by Governor Kasich on December 20, 2012.  Certain provisions of the Bill modify the method in which the value-added progress dimension or student academic growth measure must be used to evaluate teachers.

Under continuing law, the State Board must adopt a framework for teacher evaluations which provide for multiple evaluation factors.  One such factor addressed by the Bill is student academic growth.  Student academic growth should for fifty percent of each evaluation.  The Bill provides that when applicable to the grade level or subject area taught by a teacher, the value-added progress dimension or an alternative student academic progress measure, if adopted, shall be used in the student academic growth portion of an evaluation in proportion to the part of a teacher’s schedule of courses or subjects for which the value-added progress dimension is applicable.

The Bill further provides that if a teacher’s schedule is comprised only of courses or subjects for which the value-added progress dimension is applicable, one of the following applies:

  • Beginning with the effective date of this Bill (90 days from passage) until June 30, 2014, the majority of the student academic growth factor of the evaluation shall be based on the value-added progress dimension.
  • On or after July 1, 2014, the entire student academic growth factor of the evaluation shall be based on the value-added progress dimension. (In calculating student academic growth for an evaluation, a student shall not be included if the student has sixty or more unexcused absences for the school year).

The Bill also exempts substitutes and adult education instructors from the requirements of the evaluation law. We will keep you posted with any further developments.  The text of the bill can be viewed at: