The Reynoldsburg City School District is one of 61 national finalists for the U.S. Department of Education's 2012 Race to the Top-District school funding competition.
The U.S. Department of Education is expected to announce 15 to 25 winning applications by Dec. 31. Awards will range from $5 million to $40 million depending on the school district's size. With 6,200 K-12 students across 14 schools, Reynoldsburg would be awarded between $10 million and $20 million if chosen. The proposal is the culmination of the best thinking of national organizations including KnowledgeWorks, Battelle Memorial Institute and Education Elements.
“The combination of technical and social innovations evident in Reynoldsburg’s work offer transformative potential for more effective, personalized learning models for all students. Their proposal is illustrative of how we see the future of education in the U.S. moving forward,” said Lisa Duty, Ph.D., KnowledgeWorks Senior Director of Innovation.
EdWorks, a KnowledgeWorks subsidiary, has worked with the district for three years to transform learning across the district. With technical assistance from EDWorks, Reynoldsburg High School was transformed into four, college and career interest-based learning academies. The schools focus on real-world project learning that takes a personalized approach to student achievement. As EDWorks has been a partner in redesigning district middle and elementary schools including three STEM-focused schools of choice, Reynoldsburg has been building and expanding partnerships with local organizations including higher education, social services agencies, health providers and arts organizations.
“The fact that Reynoldsburg has emerged as a finalist for Race to the Top is an affirmation of the district’s commitment to real innovation,” said EDWorks Chief Innovation Officer Deborah Howard. "Deep, meaningful community engagement is an essential part of the everyday learning experience at the district’s high schools and its K-12 STEM schools"
Race to the Top funding would accelerate district wide change, particularly in the areas of blended learning and data analytics.
Through a design and implementation partnership with KnowledgeWorks, Ohio Education Matters and Education Elements, a mix of teacher-guided classroom learning and online instruction—blended learning— will become pervasive across the district. Students will have daily opportunities for individualized learning and teachers will have the opportunities, time, data and resources to differentiate small group and one-to-one instruction. In a move toward the next generation of blended learning, the partnership’s design will challenge the confinement of blended learning to classrooms, and connected learning to what has largely been the after-school domain.
The partnership creates an Oasis of learning by fusing blended learning and collective, community assets to provide a nexus point through which all providers of student experiences and supports can systematically connect, unlock, and reallocate existing resources on behalf of learners. This model shifts more learning between school and the community in a way that current blended learning models have not yet achieved, and current collective impact models have not yet realized.
"We are excited about our partnership with KnowledgeWorks and Reynoldsburg; the development of the Oasis model will push blended learning to the next level. Better student outcomes will result from providing access to standards-aligned data to the teams of educators who surround the student, rather than only the student's classroom teacher," said Anthony Kim, CEO and Founder of Education Elements.
Battelle Memorial Institute, the world’s largest independent research organization, will lead the effort to better understand the learning process through data-- the inputs, the outputs and the many contextual factors that contribute to student success. Over time, the system will generate data about the effectiveness of programs and learning both inside and outside of school. For the first time, powerful adaptive analytical models developed in health care and national defense industries will be leveraged for education.
With Race to the Top funding, the district's work in the areas would be accelerated from eight to 10 years, to just four years.
KnowledgeWorks, a Cincinnati-based social enterprise, is bringing the future of learning to America’s high schools and creating widespread, lasting change in the communities and states we serve. Our portfolio of high school approaches includes New Tech Network , and EDWorks Fast Track, New Start and STEMLab high schools. KnowledgeWorks subsidiary Strive is a national initiative that works to build the cradle to career civic infrastructure in communities to identify, sustain and scale what works for kids.
Ohio Education Matters connects the dots between great innovations and the people in local communities who can propel change. A nonpartisan public policy think tank, OEM acts as a catalyst of education transformation – providing research, advocacy, engagement and policy development that inspire others to create a new system of education for Ohio’s next generation.
Race to the Top-District is a competitive school funding program that supports locally developed plans to personalize and deepen student learning, directly improve student achievement and educator effectiveness, close achievement gaps and prepare every student for success in college and careers.