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Orange Schools Receive Straight A Grant to Support 21st Century Learning

Orange Schools Receive Straight A Grant to Support 21st Century Learning

Pepper Pike, OH – June 29, 2016 - The Orange City School District recently announced it has received a Straight A Grant from the Ohio Department of Education in the amount of $750,621 to support and further its efforts in 21st Century Learning. The grant focuses on a “Lead to Learn” initiative that includes innovation and design thinking through project based learning, engineering, and real world application of learning for students by providing access to a FabLab, MakerSpace, and other design resources throughout the school campus.

The initiative also provides for ongoing professional development for teachers through a train-the-trainer process spanning the five-year implementation. This will create experts within the district who can support the integration of design thinking into the standards based curriculum. In addition, the “Lead to Learn” initiative will contribute to local communities by providing opportunities for learning across generations and districts.

“It will be an amazing collaboration of school, community, and higher education to help us prepare our kids to be leaders in innovation and design,” said Darla Wagner, Assistant Principal of Brady Middle School. “It's exciting work and such a great opportunity for our students and our community.”

The grant includes:

  • District Wide Professional Development including Problem-Based Learning training, STEM curriculum development, and Design Thinking

  • Moreland Hills School Innovation Center & MakerSpace: Supplies, computers, 3D Printer, iPADs, Apple TV, furniture

  • Brady Middle School FabLab & Professional Learning Hub: Laser Cutters, 3D Printers, CNC Router, Vinyl Cutters, Tools and supplies, furniture

  • Orange High School Innovation Center & MakerSpace: Laser Cutter, 3D Printer, CNC Router, Vinyl Cutter, tools and supplies

  • The development of a Council of Advisors and external evaluation of our program and its impact on student outcomes

  • Scheduled time to allow for the Brady FabLab to be open to the community
An extensive collection of partnerships has been established with local community enterprises and higher education institutions that support the transformation of education to meet the needs of future employers and STEM professionals. Some of Orange’s many partners include TIES ( Teaching Institute for Excellence in Stem), Eaton Corporation, MIT, Cleveland State University and Kent State University.

“The Straight A grant will allow us to build upon the innovative work and project based learning students receive here at Orange Schools,” said Dr. Edwin Holland, Superintendent of Orange Schools. “Additionally, the collaboration between Orange, area educational organizations, and higher education institutions will support the academic needs of our students so they are prepared to succeed now and in the future.”

One of the most exciting aspects of the outlined work is developing a model program so that Orange City Schools serves as “Hub” of professional development for area districts, colleges, and businesses who wish to study deeper levels of critical thinking and collaboration as a means to higher achievement.

“The Straight A Fund encourages schools to get creative in the ways they prepare Ohio’s students for the global workplace,” said Dr. Lonny J. Rivera, interim superintendent of public instruction. “These grants jumpstart sustainable programs to transform our classrooms and meet the unique needs of all students.”

The grant application underwent review by independent scorers for both fiscal sustainability and to determine if proposals are innovative and have substantial value and lasting impact before being recommended by the governing board. The Straight A Fund Governing Board is comprised of nine members, including the state superintendent of public instruction, four members appointed by the governor, two members appointed by the speaker of the House of Representatives and two members appointed by the president of the Senate.

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