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

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Update: February 8th, 2017

Greetings to all of you!
I hope that your second semester is off to a smooth start!  This email included reminders and important notices with regards to Advanced Opportunities.
Portal Updates
·         Exam Submission Dates: Many of you will have students that will take exams during the month of May.  For this reason, the SDE has pushed the exam submission date to May 26th.  Courses will still need to be submitted by May 5th.  However, exams can be held after these test dates have passed.
·         Repeated Courses: Please remember that the AO statute prohibits payment for any repeated or remedial coursework.  You may find that courses were pushed back by SDE staff during the approval process last semester because they were “repeated”. If this is the case, please make sure they are removed from the list before you get ready to submit to the SDE again.
·         Webinar Posted: Visit the following link to view the webinar on Portal Updates 2.1.
·         Naming Convention: Please be sure to use the correct naming convention for all dual credit courses entered into the portal (i.e., ENGL 101 Writing Composition). Please note that if you have courses entered in another format, you will be (or have been) contacted by our team and asked to re-enter those requests.
·         Summer Dates: We are in the process of negotiating summer deadlines. We will have these to you by the end of the month.
·         New Students: If you are not finding the a specific student who may have requested an account, please make sure to check the previous years: 2015, and 2016 at the top of your screen. Additionally, you can check the box to view previously denied students if they need their account activated.
·         Disable Feature: Please be thoughtful prior to using the disable feature in the portal. The disable feature should only be used if a student had a previously active account and no longer has access to the email address with which the account was created.  When a student account is disabled they will need to recreate a brand new account. Upon verification of the EDU-ID, the new account will merge with activity from the old account.
Tax Forms
·         1098-T Forms: Several colleges and universities have sent out  many 1098-T tax forms to students which reflect payments that were made to their college/university accounts. Parents or students may come to you with questions.  Please note that the SDE is not in a position to provide tax guidance and recommend that they talk to their CPA. That being said, here is a link to the IRS website.  Question 19 addresses concerns that parents may have.
·         Roadshow N’ More: The Advanced Opportunities Roadshow is tentatively scheduled for the following dates. This year will include a full day  in-depth workshop from 8:30-3:30 for administrators, counselors, and career advisors around implementation practices for AO and College/Career Readiness. Please save the date, more information will be provided in the near future. We look forward to visiting your neck of the wood and hearing your feedback on program implementation.
o   Region 1: Coeur d’Alene, Monday, May 22nd
o   Region 2: Moscow, Tuesday, May 23rd
o   Region 3: Boise, Thursday, May 25th
o   Region 4: Twin Falls, Tuesday, May 30th
o   Region 5: Pocatello, Wednesday, May 31st
o   Region 6: Idaho Falls, Thursday, June 1st
·         Parent Nights: Our team is willing to host a parent night concurrently with the roadshow, if you feel this would be beneficial for your region, please let us know and we will work with you to organize the event while we are in your region of the state.
·         Conference: The Advanced Opportunities conference is currently scheduled for September 7-8 in Boise, with pre-conferences on Sept. 6th.  We hope that all of you will be able to join us as we bring in experts from around the country for some dynamic professional development. More information will be provided soon!
Thank you for your continued commitment to Idaho students.  Please contact our support team if you have any questions.
Tina Polishchuk

Friday, January 20, 2017

Webinar: Advanced Ops Portal Updates

Good Afternoon to all of you!

I know that many of you are prepare (or already have) begun your second term, and this has been a busy time.  As always, I would like to reiterate the fact that your work is genuinely appreciated here at the Department. Thank you for being the voice of Advanced Opportunities around the state!

Here is a link to the webinar that was hosted last week:

It includes information on the various updates that are in the portal for School and District Users.  Also, here are the deadlines for the remaining terms:

Student Access/ Data Entry Window
District Submission Deadline
Spring 2017
January 11th
February 24th
May 5th, 2017
Trimester 2
November 9th
December 23rd
May 5th, 2017
Trimester 3
February 1st
March 31st
May 5th, 2017

Please let us know if you have any questions!

Tina Polishchuk

Friday, December 30, 2016

Update: December 30th, 2016

Greetings to all School/District AO Users!


I hope that all of you had a lovely and relaxing holiday weekend! As we approach the second semester, there are a variety of developments here at the SDE that I’d like you to be aware of. I realize that this email is lengthy, however please bear with me as it includes critical information for the upcoming weeks.


AO Portal Updates:

·         Build Your Menu: If you have not already, this is the time that you should build the drop-down menu of courses for Semester 2. This can be done by the District Manager user. In the portal, select the Administration tab, then select Course Assignments. Use the drop downs to select the institution through which the course is provided. Select Populate Grid and a catalogue from the institution will populate. Use the filters to find the course.  Click on Disallow and change the cell to Allow in the appropriate term.

·         Tips & Tricks: In this link, you will find a helpful timeline and cheat sheet for all of the most common concerns for the portal. Please take a look at the timeline to better understand the expectations, various “windows” and processes. This also includes a snapshot of activities that should be occurring at your school related to Advanced Opportunities during certain times of the semester.

·         Spring Deadlines: In the spring semester, the student access and data entry window will be January 2, 2017- February 24, 2017. This means that ALL eligible data for the spring semester course must be entered by February 24th. Please note that any corrections or edits to data made after this date cause significant delays, and issues for course providers, counties and the SDE. Entries after that date are reserved for corrections; only with permission by the course providers.


Payments & Data:

·         Payments Sent: All payments for Fall semester and Trimester 1 have been sent to our finance department for processing. Your district should expect to see this payment within a week or so. If you need a receipt of where funds should be applied, District Managers can find this under the Reimbursements tab in Billing Statements.

·         ACTION REQUESTED: During our verification process there were a handful of courses that were denied by the SDE for various reasons. Prior to entering/approving new data, please look through any data in the Courses Awaiting SDE Submission that may belong to previous terms (i.e., Summer, Fall or Tri 1).  When you select the course, you will find the reason for the denial in the notes section. Please read notes carefully and act accordingly:



·         Portal Webinar: Wednesday, January 11, 2017, 9:30-10:30 (MST). There have been a number of updates to the portal recently.  I will be hosting a live webinar to go over these updates. During this time we will go over new features, share shortcuts, and take questions about various functions of the portal. An invitation for this event will be sent out in the near future.

·         Advanced Opportunities Conference: Save the date for the 2nd annual Advanced Opportunities Conference on September 7-8, 2017 with pre-conferenced on September 6th. The event will be at Boise State University in the Student Union Building. More information to come!


Advanced Placement (AP) Info:

·         Advanced Placement Fee Reduction Program:  Due to changes from NCLB to ESSA, the federal grant for AP free reduction will no longer be available.  Instead, these funds will be distributed directly to district through Title 4A which includes funding for curriculum enrichment, college/career readiness, safe schools, and technology. Each school district can choose to mirror the federal program with these funds. However, because it is a small amount, most will choose simply to use Advanced Opportunities funding instead. College Board has agreed to continue offering a discount of $31.00 to low-income students, bringing the cost to $62.00. In these cases they also ask that schools contribute by forgoing their $9 rebate, bringing the exam cost to $53.00. In short, regular AP exams should be charged to Fast Forward accounts at $93.00, and exams for low-income students should be charged at $53.00.

·         AP Teacher Grants: College Board is also offering grants for teachers to become AP credentialed. If you are looking to increase the number of AP offerings at your school, please let me know and I will connect you and your teachers to the proper channels to begin this process.


Graduation Requirements:

·         Updated Document: In the link, you will find the updated version of the High School Graduation Requirements, which includes that civics test. We are in process of getting the Spanish version of this document updated as well and will post it to our website.

·         Algebra 1 Requirement:  During our last round of College and Career Readiness trainings a question came about eighth grade students who are taking Algebra 1 and whether or not the student must re-take it in high school if they choose not to have it transcribed in eighth grade, and I informed folks that I would include this guidance in this update. In such cases that student does NOT need to take Algebra 1 a second time. IDAPA code states that: A student will have met the high school content and credit area requirement for any high school if…

o   the student completes it with a C or higher

o   the course meets the same content standards

o   the course is taught by a teacher who is credentialed to teach the high school equivalent course

If the student chooses not to transcribe the Algebra 1 credits in eighth grade, they need not retake Algebra 1 in high school, however they still must earn six math credits while in high school.


I hope that this information is helpful to all of you as you enter another busy time of year.  If you have any questions, please remember that our support team is available to help. On behalf of the Superintendent and the Advanced Opportunities team, I would like to say thank you for your work and dedication to Idaho’s kids!


Tina Polishchuk
Coordinator of Advanced Opportunities