Wednesday, May 16, 2018

AO Conference: Accepting Proposals

The GEAR UP West/Advanced Opportunities Conference is scheduled for October 14th-16th at the Boise Center on the Grove!  We are excited to bring together national speakers and stakeholders from the College and Career Readiness community to the state of Idaho as we partner with GEAR UP West!   For the event, we would love to showcase some of Idaho’s best practices and progressive initiatives. If you have a presentation, workshop, idea or success story that you would like to present at the conference, please follow the link to the Presentation Proposal form.  Presentation proposals are due June 15th.  We look forward at bringing Idaho’s best to the conference!

 Topics of interest include, but are not limited to the following:
·         Advanced Opportunities
·         College Career Readiness
·         College Partnerships
·         Building resilience for students and practitioners
·         Apprenticeships and other postsecondary pathways
·         Cross-sector collaboration, partnerships, and collective impact
·         Equity and support for underrepresented populations (gender equity, ELL, students of color, youth who are in foster care and/or are experiencing homelessness)
·         Financial literacy
·         Family engagement
·         College transition, first-year experiences, summer melt, and persistence
·         Grant management
·         Growth mindset and non-cognitive skills
·         Evaluation results that demonstrate effective program practices
·         Data collection and analysis, strategies for demonstrating program success and identifying areas of  improvement
·         Research-based practices and strategies
·         Continuous improvement and sustainability
·         Advocacy in the school and community

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Update: May 15th, 2018

Dear Advanced Opportunities Users,


Today we have released the new and improved Advanced Opportunities Portal 3.0.  Our support team and developers have worked diligently to make the portal a little more user friendly, as you work to approve funding requests for students using their Fast Forward funds. This coming August, we will have portal trainings available to go over all of the features and also provide rights for school districts to use “mass upload” functions. Dates for these trainings will be sent out over the summer.

Here are a few other things to keep in mind:
  • The exam submission deadline for this school year is May 25th, 2018.  This will give you the opportunity to pull out any students who do not show up for their scheduled test.
  • June 30th is a very critical date: if you are planning on submitting any make-up requests for the FY18 school year, they must be in the portal by June 30th.  Statutorily, our department cannot fund any courses or exams that are not requested within the same fiscal year.  Please take time to look over student requests and make sure that a make-up requests are in the portal by the end of the fiscal year, which is June 30th
  • The summer request window is now open. Summer of 2018 is considered to be part of the 2018-2019 school year for purposes of Advanced Opportunities. Summer school requests must be in the portal by June 30th, 2018.
  • In FY19,  deadlines will adhere to a Semester structure.  Therefore, if you are a school that operates on Trimesters, Trimester 1 will adhere to Fall deadlines, and Trimesters 2 & 3 will adhere to Spring deadlines. We will have an extended entry window to accommodate for Trimester 3. However, you will not be required to submit Trimester 2 courses separately.
  • Below, you will see the dates for the Portal for FY19.

Please contact our support team if you have any questions.



Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Update: April 18th, 2018


Below you will find updates regarding Advanced Opportunities: 

AO Portal

·         Currently, we are in the “verification window.”  Course providers are verifying enrollments in the system.  As soon as your enrollments are match at 100%, please feel free to submit your summer date to the SDE.
·         The summer data-entry window for the AO portal will be May 12 through  August 17th. If you district would like to open the summer window sooner, you will need to submit your spring data first. At that point, please send me an email and I can open the summer window sooner.
·         FY19 dates for the portal will be sent out at the end of the month
·         In the middle of May, we will be launching the AO Portal 3.0, which will have a series of updates based on feedback from the field.  User manuals will be updated this summer, and AO portal trainings will be scheduled for August.
AO Technical Roadshow: We will be hosting six events around the state to go over all statute, rule, and policy changes related to Advanced Opportunities, Secondary schools, and College and Career Readiness. Exact locations will be sent out shortly. Click here to RSVP.
·         May 1st- Twin Falls
·         May 2nd- Idaho Falls
·         May 3rd- Pocatello
·         May 21st- Lewiston
·         May 22nd- Coeur d’Alene
·         May 30th- Boise

Advanced Ops Statute Changes: As many of you might already know, the legislature made some statutory changes to the AO statute for the upcoming school year.  They changes will take affect July 1st.  Click here to read the new AO statute.

Certificates of Residency: Please keep in mind that the deadline for COR’s is coming up on May 1st, 2018. If you live outside of a taxing district, please make sure your students get those to your county clerk (this does not apply to students of Ada, Bonneville, Canyon, Jerome, Kootenai, and Twin Falls counties).

Early Graduation Scholarships: If you have students who are graduating at least one year early, please have them log into their Advanced Opportunities account and request the scholarship.  If you are a district who enters requests on the behalf of students, you will need to have them create an account, activate it, and then  the student will be able to log in to receive the scholarship. Fund will be sent to their college of choice in August.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact our team. As always, thank you for your hard work and making these opportunities possible for Idaho students.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

AO Technical Roadshow

Greetings to all!

The Advanced Opportunities Support Team along with other colleagues from the SDE will be hosting an Advanced Opportunities Technical Roadshow in May of 2018.  This event will go over all technical changes and updates related to the following topics:
·         High School Graduation Requirements
·         Advanced Opportunities
·         Advanced Placement
·         College Advisors and Career Mentors
·         College Entrance Exams
·         STEM diploma
·         High School Credit for Middle School Students
·         Four Year Learning Plans
·         Dual Credit Transcription
·         College Course Transferability

At the event, guidance will be provided related to statutes and rule updates that will take effect for the 2018-2019 school year. This event is recommended for district administrators, secondary principals, secondary counselors, college advisors, career mentors, high school career advisors, registrars, and college personnel who work with high school students on a regular basis. One event will be hosted in each region of the state from 8:30am to 12:00pm on each of the following dates:
·         May 1st- Twin Falls
·         May 2nd- Idaho Falls
·         May 3rd- Pocatello
·         May 21st- Lewiston
·         May 22nd- Coeur d’Alene
·         May 30th- Boise

Please click here to RSVP. For any questions, feel free to contact me or others on our team.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Advanced Placement Fee Reduction

The College Board provides a $32 fee reduction per AP exam for students with financial need.  For each AP Exam taken with a fee reduction, the school forgoes its $9 rebate, resulting in a cost of $53 per exam.   For low-income students who qualify for the fee reduction, please charge only $53 for their AP exam in the AO portal. 

Announcing Student Readiness Symposiums

Registration for the Student Readiness Symposiums is now open.  We will be hosting four events around the state for College Advisors and Career Mentors. Areas of focus at this year’s event will include addressing the summer melt, scholarship searches, and also a tour of a CTE facilities.  Each event will only accommodate 70 people, so please register early. Click here to register.

Dates and location are as follows:
·         Boise: February 23rd
·         Coeur d’Alene: March 2nd
·         Pocatello: March 9th
·         Twin Falls: March 16th

Similar to last year, PD credit will be available once again. 

Friday, December 15, 2017

Update December 15, 2017

Dear Colleagues,

I wanted to take a few moments and give you some updates regarding Advanced Opportunities before you head out for your Christmas break. 

Fall Data has been Processed: Our office has finished processing the data for the Fall term. Please take a moment to view the “Courses Awaiting SDE submission” report for any items that have been sent back for review.  Any courses that we’ve sent back are in the status “School level received.” You can click on the course name and view comments that explain why the course or exam was sent back.

Payments: We have sent payment requests to our finance department.  Districts and colleges should see funds hit their accounts, or a check within the next week or so.  Please make sure your business office is apprised of the funds, and what they apply toward. All receipts are available in the “Billing Statements” reports in the portal. When clicking on the arrow, you will find a detailed breakdown of all payments.

Spring Request Window:  The window for entering spring funding requests will be January 8 through February 23th.  If for some reason you’d like to adjust your data entry window to open sooner, please contact me directly.

Professional Development:  Our team is constantly seeking to bring relevant and meaningful professional development opportunities to you in order to assist you in your work with students. Please take one minute to fill out this survey that will better inform our efforts this coming spring.

Symposium Events: This year our team will be hosting the Student Readiness Symposiums similar to last year. These will be day-long training events focused on best-practices around advising and College/Career Readiness. Please mark your calendars and save the dates for your region.
·         Region 3: February 23rd
·         Region 1/2: March 2nd
·         Region 5/6: March 9th
·         Region 4: March 16th
·         Region 3: March 20th

As always, please let us know if you have any questions.  I wish all of you and your families and very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Tina Polishchuk