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Science Help From Outside The District

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VietVet View Drop Down
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Joined: May 15 2008
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    Posted: Feb 16 2019 at 3:05pm
Journal story:

MIDDLETOWN —
A national partnership with a digital learning coalition brought out-of-town experts to work with Middletown schools teachers after the district beat out dozens of other schools across the nation for a grant.

A half-dozen instructors from the Digital Promise League of Innovative Schools, based in California and Washington D.C., spent last week in the Butler County school system meeting students and showing local teachers new ways to teach science.Middletown schools joined Pittsburgh and San Jose among the league’s 102 school district members in winning the $12,000 grant.
“Last week, Digital Promise visited the Middletown Middle School to observe our science classes and conduct student-focus groups,” said Elizabeth Beadle, spokeswoman for the city schools.

“As a district, we’re excited to see how engaged our students are with the challenge-based learning and we’re thrilled with the level of engagement and commitment our middle school community has with this new opportunity of learning,” said Beadle.“Our Middletown Middle School science teachers are collaborating with two other districts (San Jose and Pittsburgh) to create and implement innovative science lessons that will later be made freely available to teachers all around the world, and will serve as a model for other science learning materials,” she said.Middletown Schools has consistently been one of the lower-performing districts in southwest Ohio, but a series of academic reforms launched two years ago with the arrival of Superintendent Marlon Styles Jr. has seen academic progress in some subjects at some schools.

Anthony Baker, project director for Digital Promise, said his science instructors found Middletown’s students and teachers eager to learn.“Thus far we’re seeing shifts in teacher perception and practice in science, where teachers are working more as facilitators in the classroom by allowing students to generate questions about science ideas, and then giving them freedom to investigate those questions and address challenges in partnership with the teacher,” said Baker.“The teachers have been particularly focused on getting students to come up with their own questions about a science phenomena, making sure that every student participates,” said Baker.“This practice was new for many teachers and students, as students are typically in the role of providing answers and asking questions only if they are needing help. It’s important, in science and in life, to be able to generate questions that are worth pursuing,” he said.Middle School science teacher Katie Leist welcomed what she described as “an amazing opportunity for us teachers.”“We get to work with three other schools to take challenge based learning approach and mix it with the national (next generation) science standards,” said Leist.“This approach through Digital Promise has really given us the tools and knowledge to prepare lessons where students are taking what they’re interested in and they want to investigate and that is driving their instruction.”

From the article......

"Schools has(have) consistently been one of the lower-performing districts in southwest Ohio, but a series of academic reforms launched two years ago with the arrival of Superintendent Marlon Styles Jr. has seen academic progress in some subjects at some schools."

The lower performing district statement is correct but the "academic reforms launched two years ago under Styles is not. Under Styles leadership, the district has not seen any measurable upward movement. He has done nothing more than any other superintendent in the last twenty years other than get new schools built. Yes, that is an accomplishment. No, it means nothing if improvement is not seen in those new schools.

The data from the last district performance report indicates the district is still last in all categories compared to surrounding districts and has only met 1 of the 24 indicators as of this date which is a decrease from the 6 of 24 indicators met years ago. The school performance, by the numbers, tells us the district is regressing, not progressing.

That being the case, why do we taxpaying citizens of Middletown receive false data reports indicated in this article?

To use an analogy, the Middletown school district is like a nice looking pizza when the box is opened but tastes like the cardboard box it was delivered in. Surface fluff with no quality content......and you keep building new schools for them and approving their levies with this level of performance. Why not hold them accountable by withholding money from them until they improve using what they have in place now? They keep asking for your support and your money but don't deliver. New schools don't equate to a better outcome but rather just a nicer place for them to work and for the kids to go to school. Quality education is nowhere to be found in Middletown. It has been proven here in this district for years.
I'm so proud of my hometown and what it has become. Recall 'em all. Let's start over.
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buddhalite View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote buddhalite Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb 18 2019 at 4:27pm
I didn't see the article on the papers website....but an excellent find - and you are right - after reviewing all the recent numbers...it's not true to portray that there has been 

I think the answer lies in a couple of points:

First - there is an 'entitlement' in everyone's mind that every kid has the right to a free public education.

Second - most people are ignorant that all that glitters is not gold.

Third - it has been proven time and time again that school districts hold parents hostage when funding is inadequate.

Add all of those up and you have a recipe for disaster.

On the surface - everyone supports new schools.  I will admit - the high school is nice - it's overly nice and should have just been built bare-bones----but it is what it is now. We've unnecessarily spent millions, and sadly Vet, you are right.  There is no measurable progress.

Middletown schools were once the crown jewel of our city - now they lie in waste at the taxpayers feet - albeit in new facades. 

However - who is really at fault?  Could it be the importation of poverty into our town reflected in the educational statistics?  Could it be that parents just don't care?  Could it be the administration? Could it be that we have too much administration?  There's lots of things that it could be....

But....looking at the listing of all districts from the last report - its pretty clear to me that there's a direct correlation between household income and educational achievement....with the current state of our city, the results are not surprising.  

I noticed that now 4 of our elementary schools (on the 2019-2020 new list that was published last week) are voucher schools now - and that is just going to make things worse.
"Success usually comes to those who are too busy to be looking for it."—Henry David Thoreau
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