NEA President visits CCS schools

National Education Association President Dennis Van Roekel stopped in Columbus on Wednesday, Aug. 25, as part of his week-long, multi-city, back-to-school tour. The veteran high school math teacher arrived at West HS at 6:20 a.m. on the first day of the new school year to meet and greet the staff.

West HS is one of seven CCS Priority Schools designated by the Ohio Department of Education. The seven schools could receive a total of $20 million in additional federal funding over the next three years as recipients of School Improvement Grants (SIGs). President Van Roekel spoke with teachers and administrators of West’s Innovation Team tasked with using SIG monies to facilitate the transformation of teaching and learning at the school.

NEA President Dennis Van Roekel, OEA President Patricia Frost-Brooks and CEA President Rhonda Johnson traveled from West HS to join Gov. Ted Strickland, Supt. Gene Harris and other dignitaries at South Mifflin STEM Academy to announce the award of a $550,000 service learning grant from the federal government.

Awarded by the Corporation for National and Community Service, the “Bringing Learning to Life” grant partners include NEA, OEA, CEA, CCS and The Ohio State University College of Education and Human Ecology.

“Teachers will receive professional development to help them create more effective hands-on learning opportunities for students,” stated Van Roekel. “We look forward to seeing the work that comes out of this project; it is our hope that we will be able to replicate it in other places.”

“The grant is vital to the Columbus community,” agreed President Johnson. “It will allow the members of the Columbus Education Association to receive professional development that will help them continue to lead the way in restoring schools to their traditional roles as community hubs.”

After a tour of South Mifflin STEM Academy, Van Roekel, Frost-Brooks and Johnson traveled to Champion MS. The visit to Champion MS illustrated NEA’s Positive Agenda and Priority Schools principles. Teachers recruited to staff this high-needs school are paid an extra $4,000 a year.

 After having lunch with the staff, Van Roekel departed for Austin, Texas.

Delegates represent CEA members at national urban council

Delegates from the Columbus Education Association (CEA) attended the 2010 Summer Meeting of the National Council of Urban Education Associations (NCUEA) in New Orleans from June 26-29. CEA has been a member of the council for many years. Ohio members of NCUEA include CEA, the Dayton Education Association and the South-Western Education Association.

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Seven CCS schools receive $20 million in SIG funds

“Eraser finished with cleaning chalkboard” from Flickr user frozenchipmunk.

The Ohio Department of Education (ODE) announced that 42 Ohio schools will receive $95 million in School Improvement Grant (SIG) monies over the next three years. A total of seven of the 42 schools are from the Columbus City School district.

SIG grants differ from the Race to the Top program. Rather than entire school districts receiving SIG funds, specific school buildings will receive federal monies.  According to the US Department of Education, SIG grants are used to improve student achievement in Title I schools identified for improvement, corrective action, or restructuring so as to enable those schools to make Adequate Yearly Progress and exit improvement status.

Federal grant guidelines defined the eligibility of schools to apply for SIG monies. All eligible schools in states that applied for SIG funds were put in one of three Tiers. Tier I schools were defined by the federal government as the lowest achieving five percent of schools receiving Title I funds and were in school improvement. Secondary schools receiving Title I funds that had a five year graduation rate of less than 60 percent were also in this category. The National Education Association, Ohio Education Association and Columbus Education Association define these institutions as “Priority Schools”.

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