Evaluation Station!

Frequently Asked Questions...

 

Your question:

"Should I focus on choosing curriculum that satisfies "COMMON CORE" requirements?"

My answer: An emphatic, "NO."

Read this important article on the "Common Core" to understand how important it is that we not follow after this huge educational mistake!

 

What are the legal options, according to state law, for having my child evaluated?

Each student must do one of the following each year:

1) Have educational progress evaluated by a teacher holding a valid regular Florida teaching certificate and selected by the parent. The evaluation must include review of a portfolio and discussion with the student;

2) Take any nationally normed student achievement test administered by a certified teacher;

3) Take “a state student assessment test used by the school district and administered by a certified teacher, at a location and under testing condition approved by the school district”;

4) Be evaluated by a Florida licensed psychologist or school psychologist; or

5) Be “evaluated with any other valid measurement tool as mutually agreed upon.”

 

Do students enrolled in FLVS need to be evaluated by a certified teacher?

This can be a pretty confusing issue depending on which county you live in and what level of education your child is currently in.

HSLDA (the Homeschool Legal Defense Association) advised me that if a student is completely enrolled in the FLVS, then s/he is considered to be a public school student. (Most counties agree this has to be a FULL CLASS LOAD of 6 classes.) Parents should contact FLVS and have them send the student's transcript directly to the Home Education office in their county of residence. (They often even accept a downloaded FLVS transcript mailed directly by the parent.)  They would not need to be separately evaluated by a certified teacher such as myself because they have been taught and graded (online) by certified teachers, carrying a full class load. HOWEVER... Hillsborough and Pasco Counties accept these FLVS transcripts as proof of evaluation, but the Pinellas County Home Education office does not (even if the student is enrolled in 6 classes.)  So, if your student is enrolled in FLVS and you live in Pinellas County, I will be happy to conduct an evaluation for you.


There are also other issues to consider when trying to determine whether or not you need an evaluation.  Whether a student is considered a "Homeschooler" or a "Publicly Schooled" student taking classes online at home can depend on their grade level, whether or not they are enrolled in an in-state or out-of-state umbrella school, or exactly which type of virtual school they are using. Contact your county Home Education liaison and they will let you know whether or not you need an evaluation by a certified teacher (like me!) or if you just need to have your child's records transferred from your umbrella or virtual school to their office.  


Rick Wolfe / Pinellas County Liaison:  727 588-6209
Aida Farrell / Hillsborough County Liaison:  813 609-6816
Theresa Springer / Valerie Grady/ Pasco County Liaison:  727 774-2782


If the student is only partially enrolled with FLVS (taking less than 6 classes) and is taking other coursework that is independent of FLVS, then they are considered a homeschooler and need to have an evaluation.  They may meet this requirement with standardized testing, an evaluation by a licensed psychologist, or a portfolio evaluation. (Every homeschooler is required to have a portfolio, so as I always say... Why not use it to meet that evaluation requirement!)


What items/paperwork need to be provided for the evaluation if the student is enrolled in FLVS?

Evaluations of FLVS students are a little different than your average homeschooler because all the records are online and kept by the county. (BE AWARE: Work samples are NO LONGER AVAILABLE on the FLVS website after the semester has ended. You need to download samples prior to that time.) Because the state regulations still have to be met, there are a few items you will need to provide for your evaluator:


-If you have it, I would like to see a current copy of the student's transcript showing their classes and grades.

Next, we are looking for a page (one per subject/ course) that can serve as a "Daily Log." This is the page that shows the date you submitted your assignments. It may be under, "My Grades" on the FLVS site- then go to  the "Summary."

-a list of any textbooks that were used in the online classes (if any). Most FLVS online classes do not utilize a textbook, so these may not be available. If not, we'll just list the curriculum as, "FLVS."


-a list of the pleasure books that were read during the year, (This is something you compile. A simple list will do!)

-work samples- For EACH subject, submit one sample from the beginning of the year, one from the middle of the year, and one from the end of the year. (Remember, I have to determine that your student is progressing!) You can also submit photos or videos of any special projects. It would be great to have some samples of essays.

Parents and older students NEED to set a date on your calendar as a reminder three times throughout the year so that you can download a sample of student work at that time and file it away (using one of the methods described in the center section of my Services page) in anticipation of your end of the year portfolio review. (All this organization is not expected to be perfect for the first evaluation.)

Once again... IT IS VERY IMPORTANT TO NOTE THAT ONCE A SEMESTER IS ENDED, SAMPLES OF YOUR STUDENT WORK WILL NO LONGER BE AVAILABLE FOR DOWNLOAD FROM FLVS. You MAY have downloaded assignments to a file on your computer, so please explore that possibility and provide what you can.



Do students in umbrella schools need to be evaluated by a certified teacher?

Ifthe umbrella school is registered as a private school with the Board of Education in Florida, those students do NOT need a separate evaluation.  If the umbrella school is registered out of state, then the student DOES need an evaluation by a FL certified teacher.

 

Your place or mine?

When it comes to getting your portfolio evaluated, I offer you several convenient options... We can meet at a Panera Bread Restaurant that is centrally located for both of us.  Comfortable atmosphere and great food, if you’d like to stay and have a meal.  What a great way to celebrate another successful year of homeschooling! OR, if you prefer to save gas, and aren't particularly excited about dragging your stuff all over town, make an appointment to meet with me ONLINE using Skype, FaceTime, or Google Hangouts. You won't even have to get out of your pajamas!  (I have served clients throughout the state in 23 counties so farfrom the panhandle all the way down to Miami-Dade. I even have two clients who live on boats and one client who I serve in Ecuador! For more info visit our "Services" and "Schedule" pages.) I have also been known to go to the homes of my clients as well, provided they are within range of St. Pete Beach, FL.

 

Does my child need to participate in the evaluation?

Yes. Part of the evaluation process is an interview with the student. Not to worry, however, the questions I ask are light-hearted and nothing the students can’t answer.  For example: What is your most favorite thing you did this year in homeschooling?  What would you like to do better next year?  What are you most proud of?  What kind of things would you like to study next year? If they are old enough, I have them read to me a bit from one of their favorite books! One of my young clients said I was, "1,000 percent nice" so no need to worry!

 

How long does a portfolio evaluation take?

If the parent is well organized, a normal portfolio evaluation usually takes 30-45 minutes.  (Hint: Want to be prepared for your evaluation?  Go to our “Services” page, watch the power-point called, "How to Prepare for a Portfolio Evaluation, without losing your mind!" and download the “Homeschool Portfolio Checklist”!) If your child is very talkative, it could take longer. I LOVE that enthusiasm, and would love to look at every piece of work, but in the interest of you being able to get on with your day, I will usually set a timer, just to keep us all on track. Sometimes a parent has to deal with several little ones during our meeting. This is understandable, but may cause the meeting time to be extended as necessary. This does not effect the cost of the evaluation.

 

 

Is it alright to bring my other children to the evaluation?

Yes, but please make sure all the children are well behaved and have some quiet activities to keep them occupied while we go through the portfolio.  (Even the student whose portfolio we are reviewing might become a bit fidgety so they should have something to do as well.)

 

 

What do I need to bring with me to the evaluation?

In terms of the evaluation itself,  you should have one (at the most two) three ring binders for each child you are having evaluated.  Remember, a portfolio is a SAMPLING of your homeschooling year.  I do not need to see everything you have done the entire year.  If you come to the meeting with boxes of materials that you intend to hunt through as we go through the checklist list, I will have to reschedule you. (Be prepared for your evaluation!Go to our “Services” page, watch the power-point called, "How to Prepare for a Portfolio Evaluation, without losing your mind!" and download the “Homeschool Portfolio Checklist.”) This is easier than you think! (Check our "Services" page for specific instructions if you are planning to have an ONLINE evaluation.)

 

If I'm doing an online/cyber evaluation, when should I send you my student's portfolio?

You may send it anytime. Please use one of the methods described in the center of my Services page. As I receive portfolios, I save them in files on my computer. I will need to have everything two days (or more) prior to the evaluation. IF it is my busy season (June, July, and August,) I will need more time due to heavy volume. Be sure to view our power-point, "How to Prepare for a Portfolio Evaluation, without losing your mind!" for the most current information and download our "Homeschool Portfolio Checklist" to get an idea of what you need to scan and email to me. These items are also on the Services page.


Will I get the Certificate of Review letter that I need to send in to the county right away, or will it be mailed to me?

I give/email the Certificate of Review to the parent and the county liaison immediately after a successful evaluation. 

 

Do I mail the Certificate of Review letter to the county or do you?

I will email the certificate directly to you AND your county liaison as soon as we have completed a successful evaluation. (Please make sure you provide me with the name and email contact of your current county liaison. These liaisons often change so please inform me if you have a new one in your county.) If we have an in-person evaluation, you will also receive a hard copy as well.

 

 

Should I make a copy of the Certificate of Review letter for my files?

Always a good idea!

 

How much are your portfolio evaluations and what form of payment do you accept?

My portfolio evaluations are $25 for an online/cyber eval, and $30 for an in-person evaluation- unless you drive to my home, then it is $25. (Evaluation fees in today's market range anywhere from $20 to $75.) You may pay (in person) by cash, or by a check made out to Carleen Galiardo, or instantly with VISA, MASTERCARD, or DISCOVER by using PayPal which may be found on our "Services" page. Payment is due at time of service for an in person eval. If you are using the online method, I need to get paid PRIOR to reviewing the portfolio.

  

When do I need to send in my evaluation to the county?

The date of your evaluation should coincide with the date you declared to the county that you were going to homeschool. If you sent the Letter of Intent to homeschool in September, then you need to send in your annual Certificate of Review in September.

 

If I was evaluated using a standardized test, do I send in the test results to the county along with the Certificate of Review? 

The HSLDA recommends that you send in ONLY the Certificate of Review issued to you by the certified teacher who conducted the testing. 


Do you provide references?

Yes! Please check the "Testimonies" page on this website. If you would like to speak to someone directly, please let me know and I will be happy to provide contact info for some of my clients who have indicated that they would be happy to speak with you about their personal experience with my services.