District works to realign with education plan
The South-Western City School District is working to realign academic content standards as part of Governor Ted Strickland’s education reform plan.
Lois Rapp, assistant superintendent of curriculum, laid out the education plan at last week’s board of education meeting.
“The Ohio Department of Education has two years to phase in and phase out the new measure,” Rapp explained.
The goal of the realignment is to prepare students for success in life and in the careers of the 21st century. The state plan puts emphasis on creative, innovative and interpersonal skills. It also focuses on the development of critical thinking and problem solving.
Rapp said the governor’s plan is designed to allow students in Ohio to compete in the global market. She reported that it stresses computer, wellness and entrepreneur literacy.
The plan would add a life and career readiness course at the middle school level. The course would focus on life skills development and financial literacy. Rapp said that as a requirement of the course, students would create career and college plans.
Rapp reported that perhaps the biggest change would be to replace the Ohio Graduation Test with a four-part assessment to measure college and life readiness. The assessment would determine if the student was prepared to graduate. The four assessments include the ACT, or college exam that would measure competency in writing, science, math and language arts; an end-of-course exam in math, science, language arts and social studies; a service learning project; and a senior project.
Rapp said the district would likely have to create a class to address the senior capstone project. She also said she is not sure how they would determine a pass or fail grade on the ACT test.
“It’s much more subjective scoring,” said Rapp. “It has a lot of merit, but how do we get this to work in our system?”
Before the education reform takes place, the state superintendent must develop a plan to implement the academic standards and measure the curriculum.
District Superintendent Dr. Bill Wise said this plan has the potential to “change the way things work.”
“This would really ramp us up and allow our students to compete globally,” said Wise.
The superintendent said that the governor had laid out the framework for the plan, now it is up to district officials to participate in the implementation measure.