The state announced 45 winners of Innovation Grants, a competitive program worth $16.2 million. The money is part of Ohio's $400 million Race to the Top award last year. The Akron Digital Academy, a charter school staffed and sponsored by Akron Public Schools, won $61,000 over three years to purchase a college-readiness system called AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination). Buckeye Local Schools in Medina County won $250,000 for the third year of developing Science Technology Engineering and Mathmatics (STEM) instruction. Jackson Local Schools in Stark County won $600,000 to work with the ASIA Society's International Studies School Network.
State's press release follows:
Columbus, OH – Students across Ohio will experience new opportunities for learning and challenges they have never experienced before starting this fall. Forty-five Innovative Grants have been awarded to school districts and community schools across Ohio from the Ohio Department of Education. This funding will be utilized in a variety of ways to significantly change the culture of many of these schools to the benefit of student success.
Governor John R. Kasich and State Board of Education President Debe Terhar announced the awards Wednesday in Columbus and were joined by many of the award recipient school superintendents, school board presidents and staff.
''To those schools that submitted the 45 winning projects, congratulations on your selection,'' Terhar said. ''This award is an opportunity for you to raise the academic expectations for all students and schools,'' Terhar said.
The $16.2 million is funding from the U.S. Department of Education from the $400 million in Race to the Top (RttT) funds awarded to the Ohio Department of Education last year. The projects were selected through a competitive application process. Applicants, all who are participating RttT Local Education Agencies, attended an Innovation Symposium on March 10, 2011 to learn more about the innovative reform models and the application process.
''The opportunity for Ohio schools to embark on ambitious and innovative reforms will ensure we are preparing our students to be highly successful in the future,'' said Stan Heffner, Interim Superintendent of Public Instruction in Ohio. ''What you will see in these programs is a commitment to transform the educational culture of a school building.''
Programs will focus on the following models: