State Superintendent Visits Milford Schools

Posted on: September 25, 2014
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On Thursday, September 25, Dr. Richard Ross, Ohio’s Superintendent of Public Instruction, visited Milford School District to see the district’s Straight A grant in action.  The district held an assembly at Milford Junior High School to showcase all the activities that students participated in as part of this grant.  Seventh graders were invited to the assembly because as sixth graders last year they were a part of this program developed and implemented by Partnership for Innovation in Education (PIE), as well as, Milford teachers and administrators.


Milford School District was one of the 24 inaugural Straight A grants awarded in December of 2013 as part of a consortium that included all of the Milford elementary schools sixth graders and Cincinnati Public Schools. The other non-profit partners were: Partnership for Innovation in Education (PIE), Smarter Schools, Mayerson Academy, and Northern Kentucky University.  Mary Welsh Schlueter, PIE; Andy Benson, Smarter Schools; Chris Rider, NKU and Don Barnes, 3M were also present for Dr. Ross’ visit.


Milford’s pilot project funded by the Straight A grant officially kicked off in March of 2014 and focused on using case-based teaching strategy similar to the approach used in medical and business schools.  It places the student in a decision-making role, and they are presented with a real world problem accompanied by relevant events and facts. Educators encourage discussion and debate as students use analytical and technological tools to support their decision.


At the assembly, Charles Smith and Cassie Dorl, Meadowview 6th grade teachers, shared details about the case-based teaching in action and the real-world project students worked on for 3M corporation. Milford sixth graders tackled a case for the local operation of 3M, a leading developer and manufacturer of assorted health support products for the ankle, knee, wrist and other joints. The 3M staff challenged Milford’s sixth graders with finding the best and least expensive material with the ability to transfer moisture away from the body. Students evaluated multiple materials along with cost and other factors and presented their findings to 3M in May.


“You became owners of what happened. It was successful because you were in charge and became independent. We were just there as resources,” Mr. Smith said.


Don Barnes, our partner from 3M, spoke more about his company’s collaboration with the program and said, “Your work and research helped us. We used your results and thought it was great that you helped us. We want to continue to work with students.”


In the next phase of the grant, students then worked with NKU to develop Apps. Chris Rider, NKU, showcased the Apps developed by Meadowview and McCormick 6th graders.  Rider visited the 6th grade classrooms in May of 2014 and talked to students about games and what makes games fun. After brainstorming ideas, students then developed wireframes to better define their ideas for the software development. Rider shared two of the apps developed by his team from the Milford students’ ideas.


“I am excited about what I have seen. I am hugely ecstatic about seeing your collaboration with a company like 3M and higher learning through NKU,” Dr. Ross said at the end of his visit.


During the assembly, students were able to vote in real time via their personal electronic devices to share how they felt about the project and the impact of case-based scenario on their learning. Students responded favorably that they liked case-based learning and felt their input was heard during the project.