THORNVILLE – Sheridan High School hosted State Superintendent Dr. Richard Ross, who visited Sheridan and Maysville Schools Sept. 25, to evaluate the schools’ progress implementing their shares of the state’s $250 million Straight A Fund.
Northern Local School District and Maysville are partners in a 27 school district Ohio Appalachian Collaborative. The Straight A Fund is designed to help schools try new approaches that meet the learning needs of its students, reduce the cost of running a school or school district, or drive more dollars to the classroom.
“It was a very successful visit,” said Northern Local Treasurer Liz Arnold. “(Ross) was very pleased with the progress that the collaborative has made thus far and the direction that we are headed.
“His time spent with our students was just wonderful,” Arnold said. “The positive interaction and true sense of interest that Dr. Ross had with our students was just awesome.”
Arnold said Ross spoke to students about their choices of careers, colleges, and even the classes that they should be taking now to prepare themselves for the future. “In the dual enrollment classes that he visited, he participated with our students in their new learning environments and questioned them to inquire if they were truly receiving an enhanced educational experience,” she said.
Previously, Arnold said Northern Local is one of 24 ‘Straight A’ grants that the Ohio Department of Education issued for innovative and sustainable programs. “We have partnered with 26 other districts and we are the lead district for the grant. Our grant brings dual credit and technological advancements into the buildings,” she said.
The Ohio Appalachian Collaborative was awarded the largest Straight A grant in this round at $14,999,128 for the 27 schools. Northern Local’s share is about $500,000.
Grant funds are utilized to upgrade district computers so distance-learning opportunities are more readily available to students. This new connectivity enables Northern Local students to enroll in “dual credit” courses, meaning courses that give them both high school and college credit. This opportunity will eventually allow students to graduate with an associate degree from high school and save thousands of dollars of college tuition in the process.
“The Ohio Appalachian Collaborative is an effective Straight A Fund project,” said Ross in an email Wednesday. “This collaborative has 27 school districts working together for the benefit of 48,000 students.” He said the fund is providing students with educational options that they wouldn’t have otherwise, including the opportunity to take college-level courses and earn college credits at no cost.
“The structure of this project at Sheridan and the other schools in the collaborative is very impressive; it’s saving dollars and allowing school districts to take that saved money and divert it back into the classroom, which was one the goals of this project,” Ross said. More importantly, he said the students at Sheridan and the other participating schools have educational opportunities that they otherwise would not have.
“We are impressed with what Sheridan High School and the collaborative have accomplished so far. We are anxious to see the results and will continue to work with collaborative members to help them be successful,” Ross said. “We believe Sheridan is doing a great job and encourage them to continue to increase the educational opportunities for students and recognize additional efficiencies that can be implemented.”
Ross said Sheridan is reflecting the way education is going to happen progressively and it’s a model of how it is going to happen in the future. “It is important that we not only expose students to technology but provide them with the skills to use technology,” he said. “Using technology in the classroom and providing students with hands on experience is the best way for them to learn.”