BEAVERCREEK — Ohio’s top educator toured a Beavercreek middle school on Friday to watch its Straight A Fund grant in action.
Richard A. Ross, Ed.D., the Ohio Department of Education’s superintendent of public instruction, visited Ankeney Middle School to see how the school is using its money to enhance student academic growth and achievement by blending curriculum, technology and 21st century learning skills to provide kindergarten through eighth grade students with more targeted, personalized instruction.
The program is one of 24 that received a grant from the Straight A Fund established in the most recent state budget.
The district used the $3.866 million grant to purchase iPads for every K-8 student, along with instructional software that assesses each student’s knowledge base and measures their achievement in mathematics and English Language Arts. The grant also allowed the district to partner with an educational technology firm that develops personalized curriculum aligned with Common Core state standards.
Ross was enthusiastic with Beavercreek’s project, indicating that the first round of Straight A Fund grant winners were implementing ideas that should reduce costs and transform learning across the state.
“Our world is changing rapidly, and schools must adapt to those changes to ensure that students are ready for college and the careers of the 21st century,” he said. “Beavercreek’s program offers an innovative approach, combining technological literacy with the individualized instruction that students need.”
The district launched a pilot version of this program in February at Ankeney and at Parkwood Elementary. Teachers in pilot classrooms combine iPad use with instruction in math and reading to provide a rigorous, individualized approach to enrichment and intervention.
Ross indicated that competition for the first round of Straight A grants was intense. Applications were first assessed to determine their fiscal sustainability, and were then evaluated on the basis of innovation; value; and lasting impact. Applications that met all of these criteria were then reviewed by grant advisors, who recommended the highest quality applications to the Straight A Fund Governing Board. This Board made the final recommendations for funding.
Beavercreek Superintendent Bill McGlothlin, Ed.D., was present for Ross’s visit to Ankeney, and gave students and teachers in pilot program classroom the opportunity to speak with Ross.
“We appreciate the interest Dr. Ross has shown in our program, and look forward to introducing it to all of our K-8 students in September 2014,” McGlothlin said.
The Beavercreek City School District is one of 14 districts statewide that earned all As and Bs in the new Ohio Department of Education report card evaluations and met 24 of 24 indicators of proficiency by grade level and subject matter despite a shift to more rigorous standards.