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Area districts win federal school reform grants

By admin Published: June 30, 2011

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:

  • AVID  - Advancement Via Individual Determination

    • A proven college-readiness system designed to increase the number of students who enroll and persist in four-year colleges or universities.


  • STEM – Science, Technology, Engineering and Math

    • The Ohio STEM Learning Network (OSLN) is a privately-supported, non-profit initiative that works with regional, state-level and national stakeholders to enhance STEM education.


  • New Tech – The New Technology Network

    • Since 1996, The New Technology Network has worked with districts and states to develop 62 schools that have implemented an innovative model to transform secondary teaching and learning.


  • Asia Society

    • Since 2003, Asia Society has worked in partnership with school districts and charter authorities to create the International Studies School Network (ISSN), a national network of design-driven schools designed to ensure college and career ready, globally competent high school graduates. 


  • Early College High Schools

    • Early College High Schools make postsecondary education an achievable goal for all students through a rigorous curriculum program that provides students up to 60 hours of dual-credit opportunities over a four-year high school experience.


  • Other Proven Models

o     The school must state how the selected innovation is researched-based and list strategies for school improvement.  The model must meet the needs of elementary/middle/high school students or any combination thereof.  Each school will justify the characteristics of the program selected and define how innovation will be embedded into the existing mission, vision, and culture of the school/district.



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