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Practical Tips to Harness the Power of Student Engagement

By: Kimberly Monachino

GettyImages-877033978.jpgWe hear the term student engagement quite a bit, but what does that mean in the classroom and how is it done? Student engagement refers to the degree of attention, curiosity, interest, optimism and passion students show when they are learning or being taught. This extends to their levels of motivation to learn and progress in their education. To create high levels of student engagement, teachers craft lessons that focus on student-driven inquiry and create learning environments that challenge students to actively research, investigate and collaborate. Students have multiple options to demonstrate their mastery of both content and skills. Simply stated: the students are actively participating in their learning, not passive bystanders.

As Benjamin Franklin stated, “Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.” This quote speaks to the power of student engagement. We know that the more students are engaged, the more learning occurs. So, how do we create classrooms with high levels of student engagement?

Here are several ways to increase the amount of time students are engaged.

  1. Make the lesson meaningful and real. Have the students incorporate their experiences, interests and knowledge.
  2. Give students choice. Empower the students to make choices on their assignments (for example, tic-tac-toe style boards that offer choices of activities).
  3. Use the 10:2 method. For every 10 minutes of instruction, allow the students two minutes to process and respond to the instruction or reading material. This can be done in various ways: have them write about what they learned or read, have them ask or write down questions they have about what they read or learned, or have students discuss the lesson or reading material with partners.
  4. Incorporate movement into your lessons. Require students to respond to a question about a reading passage or lesson by moving to a certain spot in the room, writing on whiteboards or standing (or sitting) when they are done thinking about the question.
  5. Embrace collaborative learning. By teaching students to work together, they learn how to problem-solve, think critically, improve social interactions and develop communication skills.
  6. Allow students five to seven seconds of ‘think time’ when asking a question about a story or reading passage. At the end of the time, draw a random name to answer the question.
  7. At the end of a lesson, have students use the 3-2-1 method of summarizing. In this method, students record three things they learned, two interesting things and one question they have about what was taught or read. Allow time for them to share their findings with peers.
  8. Take a moment to pause. Periodically pause mid-sentence when teaching and require students to fill in the blanks.
  9. Establish positive teacher-student relationships. Students need to feel safe in their classrooms. They need to know they can take risks and make mistakes in their learning.
  10. Remember your role as a teacher. Remember that the goal of engagement in the classroom is to change from being a teacher who is the sage on the stage to one who is the guide on the side.
Kim Monachino is director of the Office for Exceptional Children for the Ohio Department of Education. You can learn more about Kim by clicking here.

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State Supt. Paolo DeMaria Visits Dayton Public Schools

By: Staff Blogger

  • Step One: Aspire to make a difference.
  • Step Two: Inspire everyone around you.
These intricate and visionary steps drive the educators in Dayton Public Schools. Their work to make a difference in the lives of students was on full display when State Board of Education Vice President Charlotte McGuire and State Superintendent Paolo DeMaria visited the district today. Dayton Superintendent Elizabeth Lolli and Treasurer Hiwot Abraha shared points of pride from every grade level during visits to Edison Elementary, River’s Edge Montessori, Stivers School for the Arts and Belmont High School. Superintendent DeMaria met with teachers and students to learn about the variety of dynamic teaching and learning experiences the district offers. Check out highlights from Superintendent DeMaria’s Twitter feed below!  

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State Supt. Paolo DeMaria Visits Centerville City Schools

By: Staff Blogger

It was a teaching and learning showcase today in Centerville City Schools. State Superintendent Paolo DeMaria joined State Board of Education Vice President Charlotte McGuire to visit learning communities in the Montgomery County district. During the visit, Superintendent DeMaria connected with educators, staff and students at Primary Village North Elementary and Centerville High School.

Primary Village North Elementary earned the State Board of Education’s Overall A Award, which recognizes high performing schools and their efforts to earn this grade on the Ohio School Report Card. Principal Mindy Cline and her education team highlighted the many ways their school promotes building character among its learners. The school emphasizes care plus a commitment to preparing all students for success.

“Superb,” “high-energy” and “dynamic” describe Centerville High School social studies teacher Jason Whited. Mr. Whited is the 2019 Teacher of the Year for State Board of Education District 3. Superintendent DeMaria and State Board Vice President McGuire observed his class and listened to students’ rich discussion of the events leading up to World War II. While at Centerville High School, Superintendent DeMaria interviewed a group of learners to hear how the district includes student insights and viewpoints to strengthen its decision-making and whole child focus.

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State Supt. Paolo DeMaria Celebrates Career Tech Month

By: Staff Blogger

Every Ohio student is on a unique path to greatness. One of the key strategies in Each Child, Our Future – Ohio’s Strategic Plan for Education – details the importance of a rich and meaningful high school experience. This strategy discusses giving students multiple ways to demonstrate the knowledge and skills needed for every avenue after high school. Ohio’s career and technical education programs are essential to providing these hands-on learning experiences for students. State Superintendent Paolo DeMaria celebrated Career Tech Month with visits to three Career Tech centers on Feb. 22 — Swiss Hills Career Center, Belmont-Harrison Career Center and C-TEC of Licking County. Each stop featured exemplary educators, excited and engaged learners and impactful business and industry partners. At C-TEC, Superintendent DeMaria moderated a panel discussion with students and a teacher to hear success stories of how the school prepares students for college, advanced training and the workforce. Follow along below with highlights from Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

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Superintendent for a Day… Leader for a Lifetime!

By: Staff Blogger

As students prepare for the next steps on their learning journeys, Ohio Department of Education staff members are always thrilled to hear how these plans will help others, positively impact their peers and shape the future of our state. One central Ohio student’s career aspirations will certainly shape education, but from a position that may not be on typical high school senior’s radar. Andrew Knox’s goal is to become the state superintendent of public instruction.

Andrew reached out to State Superintendent Paolo DeMaria to share that the Department was a planned stop on his career path, so he may fill Ohio’s top seat in education and one day become the state superintendent. On Feb. 20, Andrew took one step closer to his ultimate career goal when he reported for duty at the Ohio Department of Education and assumed the ceremonial role of state superintendent for the day.

Andrew’s resume certainly is not limited to his single day tenure as state superintendent. As a student at the Ohio School for the Deaf, Andrew already has made a profound impact to address the challenges faced by Deaf Ohioans and is an advocate for shaping the ways in which these areas can be addressed. Prior to serving as Ohio’s state schools chief, Andrew helped change the course of state history with his contributing efforts to support the passage of legislation in 2017 to declare Ohio Deaf History Month (March 13-April 15).

Much like Superintendent DeMaria encounters daily, Andrew kept a full calendar of connections with partners to continue strengthening the learning opportunities for Ohio’s 1.7 million K-12 students. From meetings with other state agency directors and members of the governor’s cabinet to sharing his positions on policy during a mock interview with a Columbus Dispatch reporter to lobbying for additional funding for early literacy education for Deaf students, Andrew’s critical thinking, creativity and collaboration skills were on full display.

Our team extends gratitude to Andrew for sharing his ideas, inspiring our work and spending the day with us at the Ohio Department of Education. Follow Andrew’s entire day below through Superintendent DeMaria’s Twitter feed!

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State Supt. Paolo DeMaria Celebrates Presidents’ Day

By: Staff Blogger

Hail to the (state education) chief! Presidents’ Day is the perfect day to take a step back in time and celebrate Ohio’s connection to our country’s highest office. State Superintendent Paolo DeMaria did just that through the eyes of Rutherford B. Hayes. Visiting locations throughout central Ohio with historical significance to the 19th president, Superintendent DeMaria reprised the role of Hayes to recognize the contributions of the former commander in chief, congressman and Ohio governor. From visits to the Ohio Statehouse to The Ohio State University, follow along with Superintendent DeMaria as he lives history!

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State Supt. Paolo DeMaria Visits Upper Valley Career Center

By: Staff Blogger

Ohio’s career and technical education programs give students incredible options for college and rewarding careers. As part of Career Tech Month, State Superintendent Paolo DeMaria joined State Board member Mike Toal to visit the Upper Valley Career Center in Piqua. Passion for career tech was paramount from parents, students and educators during the visit. Students are prepared for success in college, advanced training and the workforce thanks to the Upper Valley instructional team.

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State Supt. Paolo DeMaria Visits the Dayton Regional STEM School

By: Staff Blogger

A sign hanging in the Dayton Regional STEM School says, “The Real World Starts Here.” This approach to teaching and preparing students for success in a global economy is what drives the school’s culture of continuous improvement and innovative educational experiences. Two Dayton STEM students led State Board of Education Vice President Charlotte McGuire and State Superintendent Paolo DeMaria on a tour of their dynamic teaching and learning community. Students are empowered to take ownership of their learning through the principles of STEM education, engaging instructional strategies, project-based learning and career exploration.

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Educator Talent and Experience… Why It Matters and How to Build Upon It

By: Julia Simmerer

Editor’s Note: Cheryl Krohn helped author this blog. Cheryl is the strategic administrator in the Department’s Center for Teaching, Leading and Learning. You can contact Cheryl here.

GettyImages-476719889.jpgImagine a student who, year after year, has teachers in their first year of teaching. Novice teachers often are less effective than their more experienced peers, which can negatively impact outcomes for students. This impact compounds when students repeatedly have inexperienced teachers. Ohio’s students of color and economically disadvantaged students are twice as likely as other students to have first- or second-year teachers. This is one example of the inequity that many Ohio students experience and the Department addresses in Ohio’s 2015 Educator Equity Plan.

Ohio’s strategic plan for education, Each Child, Our Future, defines equity as ensuring “each child has access to relevant and challenging academic experiences and educational resources necessary for success across race, gender, ethnicity, language, disability, family background and/or income.” Every school day, we want students throughout Ohio to have educators who challenge, prepare and empower them. All school staff members have the ability to positively impact students’ learning experiences, but — as the strategic plan notes — “highly effective teachers and instructional practices are at the heart of student learning.”

To help schools and districts address equity gaps and other challenges, Each Child, Our Future emphasizes a shift in policy and practice to focus on supports and services for students. One key to ensuring each child has equitable access to excellent educators is to systematically change the way we engage in human capital management. Human capital is the value employees bring to an organization because of their knowledge, skills, abilities and experiences. Schools and districts need to reimagine human capital practices to help build the educator talent in schools to meet each student’s needs. This requires recognizing that the responsibility for human capital in schools goes beyond the human resources office to seeing it as a central function of the system at many levels. It also means moving beyond the isolated policies and actions to a comprehensive approach of attracting and keeping educator talent. The Center for Teaching, Leading and Learning is deepening its support to schools and districts in this area by launching a new website, The Human Capital Resource Center.

Resources to attract, hire and support excellent educators in Ohio
The Human Capital Resource Center website helps schools and districts establish comprehensive approaches to human capital management and includes a variety of tools to help schools make decisions about attracting, hiring and supporting excellent educators. To explore the resources and learn more, visit
The Ohio Human Capital Resource Center highlights four key areas:

  1. Attract & Prepare helps fill Ohio’s pipeline of future educators with people who are properly prepared for the realities and rewards of the profession. There is a focus on exploring careers in education.
  2. Recruit & Hire refines schools’ and districts’ recruitment and hiring practices to address current and future staffing needs, so each child in Ohio has excellent educators. Here the focus is on educator recruitment.
  3. Support & Grow recommends ways that school and district leaders can develop and manage talent. The focus is on mentoring for all educators and supporting educator professional conduct.
  4. Engage & Reward shares strategies for establishing a culture that engages stakeholder voices, maintains transparency, fosters collaboration and recognizes exemplary service — all of which improve recruitment and retention. Here the focus is on educator recognition.

The Human Capital Resource Center will continue to expand and evolve to provide more resources that support schools’ and districts’ efforts to ensure each child has access to excellent educators.

Julia Simmerer is senior executive director of the Center for the Teaching, Leading and Learning at the Ohio Department of Education. You can learn more about Julia by clicking here.

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State Supt. Paolo DeMaria Attends OETC

By: Staff Blogger

Tech marks the spot at this year’s Ohio Educational Technology Conference. Each year thousands of education technology professionals, teachers and curriculum directors attend the conference, known as OETC, to advance the teaching and learning in Ohio’s classrooms. Using technology as a tool to enhance and differentiate instruction, attendees learn new ways to help students explore, think critically and meet their learning goals. State Superintendent Paolo DeMaria provided welcoming remarks on day 2 of the three-day event, and connected with attendees and education partners.

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Last Modified: 5/17/2019 3:20:37 PM