Local schools receive portion of state grant

By Frank Lewis

December 10, 2013

Frank Lewis

PDT Staff Writer

The Portsmouth City School District is the lead district in a consortium of eight schools, among 24 schools and consortiums in Ohio awarded a total $88.7 million in the first round of education grants from Ohio’s new Straight A Fund.

According to the office of Ohio Governor John Kasich, that consortium, which also includes Northwest, Portsmouth West, Minford, Green Local, Clay, New Boston and Ohio Valley Local schools, as well as Shawnee State University, will receive $447,861 for dual enrollment access in mathematics using the flipped format to increase student achievement.

“The focus is math and math instruction,” Scott Dutey, superintendent of Portsmouth City Schools, said. “What each of the eight districts is going to be doing is working with Shawnee State University and providing high school math teachers to the university to receive training, and take some courses.”

Dutey said some of the teachers in the districts already had their math masters degree, and some who did not.

“Those who didn’t will have the opportunity to pursue and receive their masters in math,” Dutey said. “Once you get that, those instructors will be able to teach a college level course in their high school. And students will be able to get college credit for that course free of charge.”

“It’s a great opportunity,” Dutey said. “I know each of the districts had people identified as we wrote the grant, who will be taking these courses with Shawnee State University professors. So we’re excited about it.”

Dutey said over 650 districts filed applications with the state for the grants.

“The fact that we were one of only 24 to receive it, I think speaks very highly of our proposal and what we’re trying to do,” Dutey said. “We’re trying to get our high school students access to college level courses without having to leave the building, and to be able to do so free of charge is just an added benefit.”

Dutey said they are also hoping to utilize tutors through SSU to come into the schools and work with the students as well.

The Bloom-Vernon, a part of a separate consortium, is another one of the 24 districts in the state to receive the grant. Bloom-Vernon Schools, in partnership with the Ohio Appalachian Collaborative Personalized Learning Network (OACPLN), received one of the 24 state grants from the Ohio Department of Education Straight A Fund competition to support personalized learning and help more students be successful in technical, two and/or four-year post-secondary education.

“I think it will be a great opportunity for our kids,” Bloom-Vernon Superintendent Rick Carrington said. “We’re real excited about it.”

Carrington was asked if post-secondary is the new high school diploma.

“I don’t think that’s an overstatement for the majority of kids,” Carrington said. “I think training beyond high school is almost for everybody. It’s the new standard.”

Ohio’s Straight A Fund is a $250 million program that promotes innovative local ideas and programs to help transform and modernize Ohio’s education system. Straight A Fund grants provide seed money for the most creative and forward-thinking ideas coming from educators and their partners in the public and private sectors.

Local goals include:

  • Significant advancement in raising student achievement
  • Significant advancement in reducing spending
  • Significant advancement in targeting more resources to the classroom

Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 252, or at flewis@civitasmedia.com. For breaking news, follow Frank on Twitter @FrankLewisPDT.