Parents and students can attend a 6-7 p.m. Parents Meeting in the elementary cafeteria to learn about work-based learning, career pathways, apprenticeships and job shadowing.
A 6:30-8 p.m. Jobs Fair in the elementary gym will allow students to connect with local employers, interview for jobs and talk to community college reps about opportunities.
Submitted by the West Liberty-Salem school district.
By Lucas Gonzalez, Springfield News-Sun Staff Writer
Graham Middle School has been recognized with a distinguished honor by a nonprofit organization that serves millions of PreK-12 students and teachers across the U.S.
Project Lead The Way (PLTW) helps students in all 50 states develop skills for an evolving world through pathways in computer science, engineering, and biomedical science, according to PLTW’S website.
“We have worked hard to provide intentional pre-pathway learning experiences for our students here at GMS. Not only is Project Lead The Way coursework an opportunity, but it is also an expectation for our students” said Middle School Assistant Principal Nick Guidera.
The nonprofit recognized Graham Middle School as a PLTW Distinguished School for “providing broad access to transformative learning opportunities through PLTW Gateway,” a press release says.
Graham Middle School is one of 148 middle schools across the country to receive this designation.
“We are thrilled at this honor, which represents the hard work and dedication of our students in the classroom, and the staff who help create and maintain a special culture here at Graham”, said superintendent Kirk Koennecke.
The PLTW Distinguished School recognition honors schools who have demonstrated a commitment to increasing student access, engagement, and achievement in their PLTW programs, according to the release.
To be eligible for the designation, Graham Middle School had to meet the following criteria for the 2017-18 school year, according to the release:
• Offer at least one PLTW Gateway unit at each grade level;
• Have at least 50 percent of the student body participating;
• Have 25 percent of students advancing to high school participate in two or more units during their middle school tenure.
Principle Chad Lensman said he is proud of Graham’s approach.
“To say that 100 percent of our students are taking PLTW coursework is something special. Very few schools nationwide can make that claim. We value the learning taking place in these programs and this coursework is a big piece of our STEM education here at Graham Middle School.”
The CEP continually updates content displayed on the 11 monitors – one at each of the five Champaign County high schools; one each at Urbana University, Ohio Hi-Point Career Center and in the CEP’s office window in the center of Urbana’s downtown business district; and one each in the windows of three downtown businesses in Mechanicsburg, North Lewisburg and St. Paris.
The project is being supported by Urbana University, Ohio Hi-Point, Dayton Power & Light, FASTLANE, Darby Dental Smiles, Urbana Dental Smiles, Berry Digital Solutions and Weidmann Electrical Technology, Inc.
CEP Director Marcia Bailey said the monitors help inform students, county residents and visitors about local economic and community development growth, job opportunities, and education and workforce training. The monitors, she added, complement CEP’s partnership with local schools and manufacturers to prepare students for local career opportunities. Job openings advertised on the monitors come from the CEP’s local job posting website, Community Job Connect.
“I’m a strong believer in the education-workforce ecosystem. And the CEP is leading the way to organizing education and employers, preparing talent to meet the needs of our employers,” Christopher Washington, Executive Vice President and CEO of Urbana University, a branch campus of Franklin University, said.
The monitors are the ideal way to deliver the information, he adds. “Kids today are digitally wired and pay attention to what’s on the screen.”
Kelsey Webb, Ohio Hi-Point Director of Communications and Marketing, said, “We’re participating because this is completely in our wheelhouse to prepare students for career or college. We’re excited to help spread the message that there are great opportunities here for students.”
Ten monitors will be placed in public areas – one each at the five Champaign County high schools; in the villages of Mechanicsburg, North Lewisburg and St. Paris; Urbana University; and Ohio Hi-Point. The monitors will be installed beginning in late August. Content shown on the monitors will be generated by the CEP.
Urbana University and Ohio Hi-Point Career Center are providing funds to purchase the monitors and associated equipment, while DP&L and FASTLANE are assisting with funding for ongoing media service to broadcast content on the monitors.
CEP Director Marcia Bailey added that Berry Digital Solutions is helping the CEP manage the project and that Weidmann Electrical Technology Inc. funded the original monitor at the CEP.
The purpose, she said, is to inform students and other county residents about local career opportunities and education and training available to prepare students for the workforce “I’m a strong believer in the education-workforce ecosystem. And the CEP is leading the way to organizing education and employers, preparing talent to meet the needs of our employers,” said Christopher Washington, executive vice president and CEO of Urbana University, a branch campus of Franklin University.
The monitors are the ideal way to deliver the information, he adds.
“Kids today are digitally wired and pay attention to what’s on the screen.”
Kelsey Webb, Ohio Hi-Point director of communications and marketing, said, “We’re participating because this is completely in our wheelhouse to prepare students for career or college. We’re excited to help spread the message that there are great opportunities here for students.”
By Christopher Selmek, Urbana Daily Citizen
ST. PARIS - When Kaitlyn VanHoose graduates from Graham High School on May 31, she already will be a college graduate. Because of the school’s College Credit Plus program, which VanHoose entered when she was a sophomore, she graduated from Edison State Community College, Piqua, this month.
Beginning in the fall, VanHoose plans on continuing her education at Wittenberg University, Springfield, which has a pre-dental biology program, then going to Ohio State. Her older sister, Laryssa, is finishing her third year studying education at Wittenberg, and they plan to live together on campus.
Kaitlyn’s mother, Christina, is a waitress at the Farmer’s Daughter restaurant in Urbana and attends Edison State Community College part time to study nursing. She encouraged her two older daughters to take advantage of the CCP program to cut down on their student loan debt, as well as younger daughter Olivia, who began going to college full time as a high school junior this year.
[Read More in the Saturday, May 12th edition of the Urbana Daily Citizen]
“What makes a STEM school? The answer lies in having a holistic approach to a rigorous culture, design learning and innovative practices that are integrated across classrooms and buildings,” said David Burns of Battelle, a private nonprofit applied science and technology development company headquartered in Columbus.
Graham’s staff worked for the past year to define and refine practices to address their application, according to GMS Assistant Principal Nick Guidera, who led the application team. “We’re excited to recognize our faculty and staff for their hard work. That’s what this is all about,” he said.
The ODE Committee remarked that leadership, faculty practices and student activities are all parts of the equation when they evaluate the programming impact on students and the local community.
Koennecke drew attention to the quality of his staff. “When people try to define academic excellence, we look, in addition to report grades and individual awards, at true cultural measures. This is about who we are, and the state called Graham’s elementary and middle schools role models. We are preparing future-ready citizens here for in-demand careers. Our culture is all about empowering learners. This is proof for anyone who wants to see quality education at work.”
Marilyn Stinson, Amanda Croson, Emily Shreve, Chad Miller, Chad Lensman and others worked with Guidera and Graham Coordinators Joe Jude and Adam Mowery to prep for the state’s rigorous and lengthy application process. “We could not be successful without our strategic partners, both local and across Ohio, for helping us with key activities annually that demonstrate problem-based learning,” said Graham Coordinator Adam Mowery.
Teachers will have an opportunity to celebrate soon as ODE will officially unveil STEM banners for both buildings – the only schools with such designations in the county – prior to the start of next school year. According to Koennecke, “These awards represent an opportunity to honor our staff and students both for so much more than raising the academic standing here. They are reminders that we are living our vision of success today, prepared for tomorrow, and creating a personalized, rigorous, and fun culture here or all.”
The Ohio Department of Education has designated only 55 schools as STEM leaders in the state since the early 2000s. ODE Elementary Coordinator Joe Jude emphasized the elite nature of these awards. “People who are excellent teachers lead a culture of exploration in their curriculum, take advantage of leadership opportunities and spend more time planning STEM than others. Graham has proven that it consistently demonstrates excellence in these areas.”
Although the designations do not carry any financial grants or dollars, Koennecke said he is excited to have Graham recognized for the efforts made to provide today’s students a “future ready” education.
The “future ready” slogan has been part of Graham’s mission for the past couple of years as the school has reshaped some of its approaches to modern education on a daily basis. The district has an earned income tax levy on the May 8 ballot.