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Thursday, July 7th, 2011

Schools will copy curricula

Mississinawa Valley, New Knoxville and Ansonia schools to create STEM program

By William Kincaid
FORT RECOVERY - The science and math curriculums at New Bremen and Fort Recovery schools will be emulated at three other schools as part of an Ohio Department of Education grant.
The five schools, which include Ansonia, Mississinawa Valley and New Knoxville, were collectively awarded a $250,000 grant last week togo toward a Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) curricula.
The grant was part of a $16.2 million Innovate Grant package awarded to 45 educational entities through Ohio's Race to the Top Initiative, according to a press release from ODE.
"One of our goals is to expand the already successful STEM programs of Fort Recovery and New Bremen to Ansonia, Mississinawa Valley and New Knoxville; thus creating a solid foundation for more students to become innovators and inventors, self-reliant and logical thinkers, and technologically literate problem solvers," the schools' application states.
The grant funds will be used to replicate the Fort Recovery and New Bremen programs at the three other schools, along with allowing Fort Recovery and New Bremen to enhance their curriculums and invest further in professional development. The schools also will be able to purchase materials, Fort Recovery superintendent Shelly Vaughn said.
"I think this is just the beginning of a long partnership," Vaughn said about the consortium called Mercer, Auglaize, Darke Counties (MAD) for STEM, explaining the five districts will learn from each other.
New Bremen superintendent Ann Harvey said participating administrators spent an intensive amount of time working on the application.
She said school officials are very excited about continuing to enhance student opportunities through the grant.
"I think sometimes you learn best by sharing," she said about the new consortium.
STEM, an engineering-based program, focuses on critical thinking, problem solving, innovation, team building and communication. The local programs initially were introduced to high school students only but have been expanded to the younger grades.
Fort Recovery, New Bremen and St. Henry schools received grant funding in 2008 to begin STEM programs. The latest grant awarded to New Bremen and Fort Recovery required applicants to be participating districts in the federal Race to the Top program, of which St. Henry is not.
Prior to the latest grant, St. Henry, Fort Recovery and New Bremen had been awarded nearly $900,000 in state and local funding for STEM.
Vaughn said the five schools awarded the latest grant attended an Innovation Symposium in March, which was held to learn more about innovative reform models and the application process.
"The opportunity for Ohio schools to embark on ambitious and innovative reforms will ensure we are preparing our students to be highly successful in the future," Stan Heffner, interim superintendent of public instruction in Ohio, said in a press release. "What you will see in these programs is a commitment to transform the educational culture of a school building."
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