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City students, parents choose academic rigor - Canton, OH - CantonRep.com
City students, parents choose academic rigor

City students, parents choose academic rigor

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CantonRep.com/Michael S. Balash

Sixth grade students Chris Cline, Michael Barrett and Nathan Winter work with teacher Jason Board in the "Gateway To Technology" class held at Hartford Middle School (Steamm Academy) located at 1824 Third Street SE in Canton, Ohio. No Published Caption

Yellow Pages

By Adrienne O'Neill
Posted Sep 09, 2013 @ 07:00 AM
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Our nation has long supported education for all its children. But many people suggest that our quality of education for all has not been good enough, meaning that students are not college- and career-ready.

Ohio has responded by creating and expanding community schools and vouchers, adopting the Common Core standards, instituting the A-F grading system for individual districts and schools, implementing a Third Grade Reading Guarantee, participating in a federally funded coalition of states that is planning new tests to be field-tested during this school year, and selecting the PSAT as the college-readiness instrument for all 10th graders in the 2014-2015 school year. Teachers will be evaluated using value-added or growth in student test scores as one measure of their performance.

Time will tell if these reforms are consistent with the desired outcome of generating increased academic rigor in our schools. Because this set of reforms has been used in different forms twice before, some wonder how the results will be different.

While Ohio school districts must follow the state mandates, some think that school choice inside individual districts is a better, quicker and more lasting way to guarantee high student performance.

We have an urban example of this kind of choice right here, right now: Canton Early College High School. Through this program, high school students can take college courses and graduate with both a high school diploma and an associate degree.

EARLY COLLEGE SUCCESS

Every year since 2004, at the request of the Canton City School District and Stark State College, the Stark Education Partnership has compiled and published the performance results. These are the remarkable achievements calculated for all students who entered the Early College High School program beginning in 2004:

• Every year, 100 percent of the students have passed the Ohio Graduation Test.

• Every year, 95 percent have graduated from high school.

• Every year, 100 percent have successfully completed at least one college course, many have attained at least one semester of college credit, and many have earned associate degrees.

• Every year, most students go on to four-year colleges.

These are the results expected of highly successful suburban school districts.

Early College does not stand alone as a separate school but is a rigorous program choice that students can make after they choose either Timken or McKinley as their home high school. While Early College sits on the Timken campus, student scores are attributed to the home high school. Because the program does not limit selection to only high-achieving students from the middle schools, teachers and professors treat the students as a cohort and work together to provide support, making sure that all Early College students successfully achieve at very high levels in a college curriculum.

Our nation has long supported education for all its children. But many people suggest that our quality of education for all has not been good enough, meaning that students are not college- and career-ready.

Ohio has responded by creating and expanding community schools and vouchers, adopting the Common Core standards, instituting the A-F grading system for individual districts and schools, implementing a Third Grade Reading Guarantee, participating in a federally funded coalition of states that is planning new tests to be field-tested during this school year, and selecting the PSAT as the college-readiness instrument for all 10th graders in the 2014-2015 school year. Teachers will be evaluated using value-added or growth in student test scores as one measure of their performance.

Time will tell if these reforms are consistent with the desired outcome of generating increased academic rigor in our schools. Because this set of reforms has been used in different forms twice before, some wonder how the results will be different.

While Ohio school districts must follow the state mandates, some think that school choice inside individual districts is a better, quicker and more lasting way to guarantee high student performance.

We have an urban example of this kind of choice right here, right now: Canton Early College High School. Through this program, high school students can take college courses and graduate with both a high school diploma and an associate degree.

EARLY COLLEGE SUCCESS

Every year since 2004, at the request of the Canton City School District and Stark State College, the Stark Education Partnership has compiled and published the performance results. These are the remarkable achievements calculated for all students who entered the Early College High School program beginning in 2004:

• Every year, 100 percent of the students have passed the Ohio Graduation Test.

• Every year, 95 percent have graduated from high school.

• Every year, 100 percent have successfully completed at least one college course, many have attained at least one semester of college credit, and many have earned associate degrees.

• Every year, most students go on to four-year colleges.

These are the results expected of highly successful suburban school districts.

Early College does not stand alone as a separate school but is a rigorous program choice that students can make after they choose either Timken or McKinley as their home high school. While Early College sits on the Timken campus, student scores are attributed to the home high school. Because the program does not limit selection to only high-achieving students from the middle schools, teachers and professors treat the students as a cohort and work together to provide support, making sure that all Early College students successfully achieve at very high levels in a college curriculum.

NEW OPPORTUNITIES

Would you get the same high achievement results if you extended this idea of a college curriculum and gave middle-school students and parents the opportunity to choose academic rigor?

Canton City Schools began an Early College Academy for 171 seventh- and eighth-grade middle schools students in the 2011-2012 school year, and yes, the result was high student achievement.

This continued for the 220 seventh- and eighth-grade students who chose this option in the 2012-2013 school year.

The current school year opened Aug. 21 with 433 sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders enrolled at Early College Academy.

What will happen if you create a high-level curriculum and choice through areas of interest for all middle school students, grades 6 through 8? Starting with this school year, the “Brighter Tomorrow” plan for the Canton City Schools does just that.

The Altitude Academy at Crenshaw Middle School opened with 461 students using the lens of health and wellness, physical fitness and nutrition and the love of competition to get to high student achievement.

The STEAMM Academy at Hartford (383 students) focuses on science, technology, engineering, the arts, math and medicine.

The College and Career Readiness Academy at Lehman (668 students) has a classic grade 6-8 design where students will meet college and career opportunities with the skills to succeed.

Based upon data from previous in-district options in the Canton City Schools, the Stark Education Partnership expects that the achievement results will be excellent in all of the new middle-school choice schools.

The Stark Education Partnership was founded in 1989 by the Deuble, Hoover, Stark Community and Timken foundations as a nonprofit education reform support organization. It collaborates with educators, business, community and civic leaders from preschool through college.



Adrienne O’Neill, Ed.D, has been president of the Partnership since 2001. Formerly, she was chief education officer for the Canton City School District, president of the Academy of Business College in Phoenix and a school superintendent in New Jersey.


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