EdConnection

EdConnection

From the Superintendent

8/13/2013

Welcome back to school! I hope you are rested and ready for the 2013-2014 school year—one that I’m convinced will be pivotal for Ohio’s public education system.

Ohio’s New Learning Standards, the Ohio Teacher Evaluation System, the Third Grade Reading Guarantee and a new local report card system that gives schools a deeper look at their performance are all in place, and these should start giving us the traction we need to produce higher-achieving students.

I’ll talk more about each of these programs in future issues of EdConnection, but right now I have some good news for schools and districts that are open to even more innovative thinking. Governor Kasich and the Ohio General Assembly have agreed to set aside $250 million to fund new teaching and learning innovations in Ohio schools over the next two years. The competitive Straight A Fund will help pay for selected projects that improve student learning and save money. Education consortiums can apply for up to $15 million in grants to begin this school year.

Just as the business and technology sectors are doing, Ohio education needs to pick up the pace of innovation so we are graduating students that are fully prepared to succeed in today’s fast-changing world. We know there are good ideas out there among Ohio educators that never get off the ground because they lack funding. The Straight A Fund will provide seed money for these ideas and promote these result-getting innovations to other Ohio schools.

The Straight A Fund’s governing board will award grants only to game-changing ideas—those that improve teaching and learning or the way that a district does business.

The application period for Straight A Fund grants begins this fall. To receive updates on the Straight A

Fund, sign up here. We will post application materials and guidance by mid-September.

On another note, we have just launched a new online Principal’s Toolkit that will help school leaders communicate with their teachers and parents this year about the new learning standards, teacher evaluation system, Third Grade Reading Guarantee and school report cards. You also can tap into the toolkit for documents and messages for speaking engagements, community events and conversations with your local boards. As always, we offer abundant resources at education.ohio.gov to support school operations in these areas.

This year will be one of great opportunity for your district. I urge you to make it count. Thank you for all you will do for Ohio’s boys and girls.

Sincerely,

Dr. Richard A. Ross

State Superintendent of Public Instruction