From the Superintendent



On Wednesday we will take a major step toward launching Ohio’s new Straight A Fund for education innovation when the governing board for the grant program holds its first meeting. We expect that documents outlining how to apply for the first round of funding will be made available soon after the meeting.

The new state budget created the $250 million fund to support sustainable, innovative, local ideas and programs to help transform and modernize our education system. Straight A Fund grants will provide seed money for ideas that raise student achievement, reduce spending and get more resources to the classroom.

If you are thinking about applying, I urge you to study these documents as soon as they become available on the Straight A Fund website here. You will receive a separate email when the items are posted online. Also, be on the lookout for several webinars later this month that will provide more guidance about the application process.

Joining me as members of the Straight A Fund Governing Board are:

  • Alex R. Fischer of Columbus. Mr. Fischer is the president and CEO of the Columbus Partnership;
  • Kristina L. Phillips-Schwartz of Loveland. She is the director of education initiatives for the Cincinnati Business Committee;
  • Rep. Gerald Stebelton, chairman of the House Education Committee;
  • Colleen Grady, education policy advisor, Ohio House of Representatives; and
  • John Scheu, superintendent of Sidney City Schools.

I want to emphasize the importance of understanding the underlying grant goals and philosophy. The documents that we will publish will give a good overview of the goals of the Straight A Fund. I can tell you that we will be looking for programs that break the mold, not those that prop up the status quo.  

The Straight A Fund is the best opportunity we’ve had in a long time to put dollars behind the good ideas of local educators, and I’m excited to see the innovations that will be described in the applications we receive. I am hoping you seriously consider this rare opportunity, talk with partners and put together a proposal.

Third Grade Reading Guarantee Update

I know that many of you are actively involved in implementing Ohio’s new Third Grade Reading Guarantee, which is designed to ensure that all Ohio’s students are reading at grade level by the end of third grade. Last week, the department posted additional guidance that addresses many of the questions we have been asked recently. You can find the information here on our Third Grade Reading Guarantee page.

Thank you for all you do for the boys and girls of Ohio.


Dr. Richard A. Ross

State Superintendent of Public Instruction