Afternoon Update:

Rich Boettner is Technology Director for Hilliard City Schools, a district in suburban Columbus.  Hilliard is  a member of the Ohio Blended Learning Network. He was interviewed by T.H.E. Journal discussing the district’s vision of using 1:1 computing to fully implement blended learning.  Superintendent Dr. John Marchhausen brought his vision from Loveland to Hilliard.  He gave invaluable service on the state’s Digital Learning Task Force back in 2011-2012.

Good morning sports fans,

As regular readers of The Harlow Report know, the State of Ohio launched an innovative Straight A Fund, a grant competition to bring forth innovations in public education.  In some ways it mirrored Race To The Top, although with considerably fewer mandates.  Some innovations were meant for the classroom, some innovations were meant to make operations more efficient, with resultant savings able to be re-purposed for the classroom.  The State of Ohio, as part of the operating budget passed in June of 2013, included $250,000,000 for the Straight A Fund.  In December 2013, the governing board overseeing the Fund issued its first round of funds for 24 successful grants.  In June 2014, the board issued funds for the second round of grants, funding 36 in all this time. 

Today, I get to tell you about two projects from round one.  Courtesy of the Enquirer, a guest editorial advocating for early STEM education from two practitioners (full disclosure: I did work for this grant) whose Straight A Fund grant focused on STEM learning projects in middle school and late elementary schools in Cincinnati and Milford.  

The Columbus Dispatch updates us with a Central Ohio-based program that ensures students graduating high school have a viable work credential as well. As most of my readers would know, all too often, graduating high school does little more than prepare one for college (and it may not even do that very well, since about 40% of Ohio graduates require one or more remedial courses).  

The Straight A Fund has been an interest of mine ever since its launch and I did some writing on it before the first round. I am so glad to see the investment paying off for students and schools alike.  If you know of any other Straight A Fund success stories (or stories of something less than success) please drop me a line 

BONUS LINK: from the archives, news from 1984 about a revolutionary computer camp on a farm in Okarche, OK.  Some of the technology has changed, but the challenges facing educators have not.