2018 Makeover for Pat Bruns’

Re-Election Campaign!

In the meantime….Here is what I have been doing on behalf of Ohio’s students

as your elected member of the State Board of Education!



In reviewing my work in 2017 and the over 8000 miles logged meeting with my constituents, I am honored to be able to continue to serve as your District 4 State Board member. With the end of the No Child Left Behind era of repressive testing and regulations, we have an opportunity with ESSA to reinvent ODE as a service-based partner with our school districts. We have laid the groundwork for such reform this past year. I remain committed to policies that will further strengthen our public schools and give them the resources they need, make charter schools accountable for public tax dollars, reduce/eliminate state-mandated testing, expand career-tech, problem-based learning and arts opportunities for all students. I will continue to encourage innovative and challenging educational environments that place high-quality teaching and learning at their center.

Respectfully submitted,

January, 2018


A New Year and a New Day at the Ohio State Board of Education!

We welcomed ten new board members, some elected and some appointed, but all with an interest to speak as one voice for all of Ohio students. Superintendent Paolo DeMaria continues reorganizing the department, getting to know board members through weekly updates and monthly individual phone conferences, and visiting seemingly every stakeholder in Ohio.

I am particularly proud of the board’s dialogue with Superintendent DeMaria to develop his 2018 goals. I believe it illustrates our shared interests and emphasis on inclusion and the educational improvements for which we are striving together. In particular, Paolo is committed to:

  • Nurture strong, positive relationships with Board members, members of the legislature, associations and advocacy groups, educators, and other stakeholders.
  • Create opportunities for focused stakeholder engagement on key educational topics – particularly for parents and students.
  • Strengthen and focus the Department’s efforts to support school improvement including the implementation of the school improvement features of the state’s ESSA application and research and dissemination of evidence based practices in closing achievement gaps.
  • Drive policy improvement work on the following:
  1. Graduation requirements
  2. Teacher Evaluations and the enactment and implementation of Board approved recommendations
  3. Report Cards and opportunities to improve clarity, fairness and meaning
  4. Assessments and opportunities to appropriately reduce testing, and the exploration of alternative modes of assessment

Refreshing, right? But what have we accomplished in 2017? Well, from my perspective….


We began by tackling the Graduating Class of 2018 Crisis through a workgroup that included myself, key stakeholders from education, business and community. Our recommendations were included in our biennial budget recommendations and were adopted by the legislature.

Important topics emerged from this workgroup that have framed much of our discussion throughout the year. Topics included alternative assessments to demonstrate competency, real world problem-based and integrated curriculum, career-technology paths and importance of 21st century and social-emotional skills.

The Superintendents Assessment Advisory Workgroup then made further assessment recommendations to reduce state-mandated testing. To date, the board has recommended to the legislature to eliminate English language arts and WorkKeys and will vote to recommend that the Class of 2018 Options be extended to 2019 and 2020 graduating classes.  UPDATE:  BOARD VOTED TO EXTEND AT JANUARY MEETING.  RECOMENDATIONS NOW GO TO LEGISLATURE FOR CONSIDERATION.


In March, we began work on a 5-year ODE Strategic Plan process with a SBOE Retreat to establish the board’s core priorities. I sit on the ODE SP Steering Committee and the Excellent Educators & Instructional Practices Workgroup. Attracting and retaining high-quality educators has been at the heart of our research and concern. Four other workgroups also include a majority of educators: Student Supports & School Climate and Culture; High School Success & Post secondary Connections; Standards, Assessments, and Accountability; and Early Learning & Literacy. We hope to adopt a final draft this spring. http://education.ohio.gov/Miscellaneous/Search-Results?q=strategic%20planning%20ohio%20department%20of%20education

FYI: https://knowledgeworks.org/resources/future-learning-redefining-readiness/
(We reviewed this report to jumpstart out-of-box thinking to begin each of our workgroups)

As a member of SBOE’s Professional Development Workgroup, I discussed and approved our Policies & Procedures Manual revisions.


As a member of the board, I approved the Educator Standards Board recommendations to streamline the Teacher Evaluation process (OTES) and the Resident Educator Program.

In February, Ohio Every Student Succeeds (ESSA) Plan was submitted to the federal government for review. I worked closely with the Ohio Alliance for Arts Education to include “well-rounded education” in six sections that will continue to position the arts in education as an important component of a child’s overall education. ESSA also offers more opportunities to target resources for our most vulnerable students: the homeless, economically-disadvantaged, and our youngest scholars.



The board unanimously voted to support ECOT’s repayment of $60 million for inability to verify 2015-16 enrollment. Legal challenges about the ruling from ECOT remain as well as ECOT’s interest in moving to a dropout recovery school. Questions about accurate enrollment data persist for the 2016-17 school year. Related Sponsor Evaluation Review at


As a member of the Achievement and Graduation Committee, I reviewed and adopted the English Language Arts, Math and Technology Ohio Learning Standards. Science, Social Studies, and Financial Literacy Ohio Standards have been under our review and we expect to adopt them at our January 2018 meeting.

I enthusiastically supported adding the Ohio Seal of Biliteracy as an option for graduates.

OhioMeansJobs Readiness Seal is also one of the nine options available as part of the non-career tech alternative graduation option for the Class of 2018.


ODE rolled out a $2 Million Grant opportunity that encourages integrated curriculum. You can count on me to continue to enthusiastically advocate for increasing opportunities for educators to collaborate, especially with their arts colleagues to create important connections across curriculum for deeper student learning!   https://education.ohio.gov/Topics/New-Skills-for-Youth

Online Professional Learning Module for Gifted Training: As you know, I supported the recently approved changes to the gifted rules to require general education teachers who are designated providers of gifted education services to receive high-quality professional development in gifted education. This professional development must meet eight gifted education competencies and include a minimum of 30 clock hours during year one and a minimum of 30 clock hours during year two with additional clock hours in subsequent years. These teachers also receive ongoing support from an educator with gifted licensure or endorsement. To help Ohio school districts meet these requirements, the Ohio Leadership Advisory Council (OLAC) is creating free professional learning resources. Developed by nationally-recognized experts in gifted education, these resources can be used by districts for individual or group-based learning. The first 30 hours is now available.  There is no cost for these modules, but they must be supported by a trained facilitator. More information can be found here. The OLAC website is: http://www.ohioleadership.org

As a member of the Accountability Committee, I voted to modify the newly revamped 22+ Adult High School Diploma program so that individuals working will have their best chance to receive a high school diploma and hopefully continue to gain employable skills.

We reviewed ESSA Section G: 21st Century Community Learning Centers and Section I: Education for Homeless Children and Youth Program and McKinley-Vento Homeless Assistance Act. My board colleague, Meryl Johnson, gave us an overview of best practices in trauma-informed interventions critical for students affected by adverse childhood experiences (ACES) and reaffirmed a critical need for more counselors and social workers in our schools.



Dustin Weaver, an English teacher at Chillicothe High School, represented us well as the 2017 Ohio Teacher of the Year. I am confident that Powell’s Liberty Tree Elementary art teacher, Jonathan Juravich, will also prove to be an outstanding ambassador as the 2018 Ohio Teacher of the Year! Working with my districts to nominate excellent educators for this prestigious award is my favorite part of the job! http://education.ohio.gov/Miscellaneous/Search-Results?q=ohio%20teacher%20of%20the%20year


At our January 2018 meeting, we will discuss a resolution to appoint a working group to review and recommend changes to improve understanding and usability of the State Report Card.
I see this as a logical component for review as part of the implementation of our ODE Strategic and Ohio ESSA Plan.  UPDATE:  TABLED UNTIL FEBRUARY MEETING.

Paper vs Computer Testing  questions persist in regard to whether the tests are developmentally appropriate and whether these tests measure knowledge or computer skills.

End-of-Course State Testing has some wanting us to continue to administer the Social Studies EOC test because they are concerned that the Founding Fathers Documents will not be taught otherwise. I have found that this is completely contrary to what is happening in schools. A reliance of memorizing amendments, etc. to pass a test has nothing to do with gaining an understanding of the important of these documents through authentic learning experiences that teachers no longer have time to implement because of testing!

State Report Card data collection re: Chronic Absenteeism and End-of-Course Test Retakes continue to be controversial.

The New Academic Distress Commission, that was added to HB 70 in 2015
in the eleventh hour, remains besieged by numerous legal challenges in Youngstown City Schools. Lorain City School District has become the second district to fall under terms of HB 70, which reduces the elected board of education to an advisory role and replaces the superintendent with a CEO. Also, after the first report card a district receives under HB 70, the CEO has the power to reconstitute any school in the district. As part of that change, principals and administrative staff can be replaced. A majority of the school’s staff, including teaching and non-teaching employees, can also be replaced. The CEO can hire a nonprofit or for-profit organization to manage operations of the school. Schools can be re-opened as a community school, a STEM school, or even permanently closed.  https://www.lsc.ohio.gov/


We developed required legislative policy in response to HB 410 Chronic Absenteeism.

Speaker’s Task Force on Education and Poverty

Senate Bill 85 (Senator Huffman) To create the Opportunity Scholarship Program: https://www.legislature.ohio.gov/download?key=6844&format=pdf

House Bill 200 (Representative Koehler) To create the Opportunity Scholarship Program:

Senate Bill 197 BULLYING (Williams) To require a tiered disciplinary procedure for harassment, intimidation, or bullying in school; to require annual student instruction about preventing such acts; and to create the offense of aggravated bullying as a third-degree misdemeanor. 1st Hearing, Sponsor testimony.
House Bill 170 COMPUTER SCIENCE (Carfagna, Duffey) With regard to academic content standards and curriculum requirements for computer science; to revise educator qualifications regarding computer science; and to authorize public schools to establish computer science and technology funds. 3rd Hearing, All testimony.

Senate Bill 216 (Huffman) includes:

Educational aide permits and educational paraprofessional licenses:
Removes requirement for licensure for non-teaching employees working as an educational aide in non-federally funded programs. (ORC 3319.088)
Removes all qualifications for educational aide licensure besides an initial background check. (ORC 3319.088)

Non-teaching employees as substitute educational aides:
Allows non-teaching employees to serve as substitute educational aides without holding a permit or license. (ORC 3319.088)

Educator license grade bands:
Sets educator license grade bands as only K-8 or 6-12. (ORC 3319.22)

Educator licenses for substitute teaching:
Requires the State Board to establish new standards and requirements for obtaining an educator license for substitute teaching. Prohibits the new standards from (1) requiring an applicant to hold a postsecondary degree in any specified subject area and (2) restricting the number of school days that the holder of the license may work. (ORC 3319.226)

Teacher employment outside of licensure area:
Permits a school district superintendent to employ a licensed teacher to teach a subject area or grade level for which the person is not licensed. (ORC 3319.361)

Go to Ohio Legislative Service Commission for summaries at https://www.lsc.ohio.gov/


SBOE meetings can now be viewed

on The Ohio Channel at



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