Eight area school districts will share more than $1 million in grants from the Ohio Department of Education that will be used to develop programs to improve student and teacher achievement and increase efficiency.
The grants, which are to be announced today in Columbus, will come from the department's Straight A Fund, which was included in the fiscal years 2014 and 2015 budget signed into law by Gov. John Kasich this summer.
Ohio Superintendent of Public Instruction Richard Ross is scheduled to visit some of the local recipient schools on Tuesday. The districts will use the grant money in collaboration with Bowling Green State University.
Oregon City Schools will receive $200,431 to provide training for teachers to produce high quality assessments for measuring student growth. “We’re excited about the possibilities,” said Oregon Superintendent Lonny Rivera.
The area’s other seven grant winners filed a joint application and will work together in conjunction with Lake Erie West Educational Service Center as well as BGSU. They are the Otsego, Springfield, Eastwood, Perrysburg, Rossford, Maumee, and Anthony Wayne districts. Their grant, worth $855,583, will be used to develop online materials to replace textbooks.
“Basically, what we are going to do is eliminate the need in selective courses for the purchase of textbooks,” explained Perrysburg Superintendent Tom Hosler. Otsego Superintendent Adam Koch, whose school system was the lead applicant for the group, described the joint project as “a true collaboration among the districts.”
Dawn Henry, the Oregon district’s director of teaching and learning, said her school system’s project “will instruct teachers how to create high-quality assessments. Once they can create these, they can create assessments to measure student growth.”
Mrs. Henry said the Oregon teachers then will “pilot” the assessments with their students, and the BGSU College of Education’s Center for Evaluation will test the results to ensure their validity. “Once this is done, the assessments will be made available for the whole state to use,” she said, because they will be put online.
Mr. Hosler said his group’s project holds the potential to save districts money by sparing them the expense of buying textbooks.
Online learning materials, he added, could be quickly revised to reflect new discoveries, breakthroughs, and events.