Straight A Fund Award Winners Announced at Paulding for Local Education

Education gets a boost at the local level. Proposals came about from the communities and not handed down from the top.

Dr. Ross listens to the students at Paulding High School about their education and future.

Dr. Ross listens to the students at Paulding High School about their education and future.

Ohio’s Superintendent of Public Instruction, Dr. Richard Ross, arrived in Paulding to announce the approval of the grant application of $1,577,780.00 in collaboration with Paulding Exempted Village Schools, Wayne Trace Local Schools, Crestview Local Schools, Lincolview Local Schools, Western Buckeye Educational Service Center, Northwest Ohio Educational Technology Foundation, Paulding County Carnegie Library, Vantage, Northwest State Community College, Paulding County Economic Development, Van Wert Economic Advisory Group, and Van Wert Chamber of Commerce.

Dr. Ross specifically mentioned these improvements for the schools must be sustainable. It cannot be just for a couple of years and then it’s over. Improvements in education are not always instantaneous. The improvements needed take time and must be able to be sustained to ensure the betterments are not short-lived.

The plan Paulding and it’s group put forth proposed, “Beyond the Classroom is designed to provide a continuum of online learning opportunities for students in grades 7-12. The goals are to increase student achievement and provide a greater share of resources directly in the classroom; provide professional development for teachers on flipped- classroom/blended learning strategies through direct professional development instruction and professional learning communities; and hold a Business Symposium to bridge the gap between local businesses and schools by providing a forum and website to establish internships and shadowing experiences in the community. Beyond the Classroom will reduce spending on instructional resources by retaining post-secondary, online learners and credit recovery students, and by reducing major capital expenditures in the next five years.”

Superintendent William Hanak with Curriculum Coordinator Courtney Rethmel.

Superintendent William Hanak with Curriculum Coordinator Courtney Rethmel.

PEVS Superintendent, William Hanak, stated it was a fantastic group who put this all together. He specifically mentioned Courtney Rethmel, Paulding’s new Curriculum Coordinator who headed the authoring of the proposal. Courtney said it was a lot of work to put this together, taking most of October, but her group worked well toward the goal. She believed it could be done here in Paulding and it obviously worked!

Mr. Hanak also said these alloted funds would go through a 3-tiered system. The first would be every student receiving a laptop to use for school. The second would be for students to be able to recover credits digitally. The third would be Jumpstart with Northwest State Community College and allowing students to earn dual credits for both high school and college at the same time.

Fayette Local Schools, of which Antwerp Local School was in cooperation with, also received moneys in the amount of $3,402,120.00. Their proposal included: “This proposal will provide opportunities for student achievement through shared instructional services among consortium members. Spending reductions will occur as administrative duties transfer from administration to instructional staff and resources replace textbook purchases. Instruction will be accessible for all students across multiple districts.”

The Ohio Controlling Board approved 24 grant applications involving more than 150 school districts and other partners that were recommended as part of Ohio’s new Straight A Fund to encourage innovation in classrooms.

More information about the new fund from Ohio Department of Education:

The $250 million Straight A Fund was created in the new state budget signed this summer by Gov. John R. Kasich. In all, 420 organizations submitted 570 applications to be considered for funds to improve achievement and increase efficiency. The Straight A Fund is part of a $1.6 billion increase in state funding for education over the next two years.

The grants include broad-based plans to increase student access to high-tech manufacturing skills, expand postsecondary class offerings in Appalachia and expand the use of digital technology in classrooms.

“I am extremely proud of our 24 inaugural Straight A Fund winners and the more than 150 entities that partnered on these proposals,” said Dr. Richard A. Ross, superintendent of public instruction. “This is a tremendous achievement. These winners rose to the top of a competitive field of applicants seeking $868 million. There was tremendous competition to receive a Straight A grant.”

The approved applications, recommended by the Straight A Fund Governing Board, represent more than 150 individual partner entities that will together share $88.6 million in funding.

“This first round of Straight A Fund grant opportunities and the others we’ll award next year can be the catalyst for change to help improve our schools,” Ross added. “What’s more, each award-winning project can be a model for other districts to follow. We can spread these fresh ideas to school districts all around the state.”

Of the $100 million awarded this year, legislators earmarked $11.4 million (HB 59) for projects including Kids Unlimited of Toledo for quality after-school tutoring and mentoring; for Cleveland Municipal School District for the implementation of the Cleveland Plan; and for qualifying districts to improve the efficiency of pupil transportation.

Dr. Richard Ross became the Superintendent of Education in Ohio in March of 2013. He is not foreign to this area of Ohio. He grew up in Farmer and graduated from Fairview. He mentioned how there was a teacher that specifically impacted him to go to college and how important it was to help teachers turn the young people in the right direction today just as he was. He truly believes this will enable educators to guide the next generation in the right direction.