Model schools are those that utilize successful “best practices” of other high achieving organizations (verifiable by research).
Model schools successfully weave academic rigor with relevant educational content as they implement the new common core state standards, prepare students to succeed on “next generation” assessments, teach 21st century skills beginning in kindergarten, and ensure all students graduate from high school ready for college and career.
“This digital content is replacing traditional textbooks and providing a catalyst for creating classroom environments that increase student achievement using best practices for 21st century teaching and learning,” explains Maumee’s Director of Curriculum Michelle Shafer who took a lead role in the project. “This work is more efficient than if each district was working independently. And, it is allowing us to share the expertise of many talented educators.”
The digital content was gathered, combined and artfully infused with technology young people love - social media, video, podcasts, interactive demonstrations, online assessment creators, presentations, and annotation tools, as examples. Additionally, the digital content is designed to allow for differentiated delivery and to motivate students to “demonstrate” knowledge and “apply” concepts.
“While the goal of this collaborative grant work is to increase student achievement, it is also having a positive financial impact for participating districts,” adds Maumee Superintendent of Schools Gregory Smith. “Maumee is expected to save $50,000 annually for the next five years by not purchasing traditional textbooks.”
Digital Content Creation Continues into Middle School
For many years, teachers in 6th, 7th, and 8th grade have relied on aging textbooks as the foundation for their teaching. The success of the recent high school digital content creation spurred area school districts to again collaborate, this time to produce digital content for middle school social studies and science.
Research shows that students respond to engaging resources that connect learning to real-world problems, using tools that are ever-present to them - social media, video, podcasts, interactive demonstrations, etc. The middle school-level work is being funding in part by a $15,000 grant from the Martha Holden Jennings Foundation.
This fall, project participants will formally present the units and resources to every middle school science and social studies teacher in all participating districts, impacting more than 50 classrooms and thousands of students. Once the units and resources are classroom tested, revised, and improved, additional collaboration and sharing will make this work available across the state.