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  • 1. Martha Holden Jennings FoundationP ro Excellentia SPRING 2009 Skillful Reading Riverside Local Schools has adopted the Wilson Reading Program to help students who have fallen behind in reading due to their decoding skills. The interactive program is being used throughout the district in grades 3-12. Students involved have made significant gains and teachers like the systematic, multi- sensory approach. (see story pgs. 2-3)
  • 2. Mastering Decoding Skills Leads to Gains in Reading Research-Based Techniques Curriculum Coordinator for the District, To close the achievement gap for which is located 30 miles east of struggling readers, Riverside Local Cleveland and serves approximately 4,700 Schools is providing targeted instruction students. “If this continues, the achieve- to at-risk students through the Wilson ment gap will only widen as these stu- Reading Program. The program will dents move through their education.” improve literacy by providing targeted The majority of these students, she The purpose of the Martha Holden Jennings instruction and teacher professional devel- explains, have a core deficit in theirFoundation is “to foster the development of opment. phonological or decoding skills. Theyoung people to the maximum extent through “We had to address the achieve- “An analysis of the district’s reading Wilson Reading Program is a researched-improving the quality of teaching in secular ment gap. It would only widen as assessments revealed approximately 16 based technique that provides direct,elementary and secondary schools these students moved through their percent of the students are considered ‘at structured, multisensory instruction andin Ohio.” Pro Excellentia is published to education.” risk,’ reading significantly below grade gives students the decoding skills theydescribe a sampling of those efforts in six Vickie Loncar, Elementary Curriculum level,” says Vickie Loncar, Elementary lack. The instruction is cumulative andkey areas: Coordinator, Riverside Local Schools leads to successful fluent readers. This is the second year the Wilson Mathematics, Science & Technology Reading Program has been used within the Riverside district. Once a student begins Language Literacy the program, he/she needs to be followed Arts Education through to completion. On average, it takes a student two to three years to Educator Development complete. For this reason, explains Mrs. Leadership Skills for Loncar, Wilson has been established Administrators throughout all buildings in the district. This Other Student Services allows for consistency of instruction as the students move from elementary to middle to high school. A 12-Step Process We ask that you please share this copy Linda Clayton works “Wilson is a 12-step program that reallywith colleagues who may gain valuable informa- with a student using teaches students the structure of our lan-tion and ideas from articles covered in this tile boards in a guage,” explains Mrs. Loncar, adding thatpublication. one-on-one tutoring it is not only for those with learning dis- session.Editor: Mary Kay Binder abilities. “It’s for students who really strug-www.mhjf.org gle with reading, who are reading two grade levels below and really need specific decoding skills.”M A R T H A H O L D E N J E N N I N G S F O U N D AT I O N 2
  • 3. Riverside Local Schools Students who participate in Wilson are “Wilson is very interactive,” she “The program is all spelled out foridentified using the Dynamic Indicators of continues. “You are diagnosing you,” adds Jean Jones, a SLD teacherBasic Early Literacy Skills (DIBELS). throughout the whole lesson, so you who is also being trained in Level II. “It’s can see right away if a student is all right here,” she remarks pointing to the not getting it.” large binder that contains the step by step “We do a standardized assess- procedures the teachers follow. “It’s veryment to see where their strengths Professional Development easy to use. Once you start doing it, it justand weaknesses are,” explains A significant part of the Wilson Reading makes sense.”Mrs. Loncar. “This program is not Program is the education of teachers. Mrs. Jones worked with a fifth gradefor everybody. It’s not something For the past two years, teams of Riverside student last year who could read andyou would instruct on in the teachers have been trained in the pro- decode at his grade level but struggled gram’s strategies with funding from a grant with spelling. The student made significantclassroom. It’s a small group, from the Martha Holden Jennings progress and she is confident that he willintensive program for identified Foundation. During 2007-2008, 12 teach- continue to improve because he isstudents who would benefit from it.” ers were certified in Wilson Level I, which participating in Wilson in the middle involves 90 hours of online instruction and school this year. Wilson begins in grade three and is a 60-lesson practicum as well as demon- Other teachers at Riverside have alsooffered to students through high school. strations and continuous feedback from a noted positive results thus far. StudentsStudents work either one-on-one or in Wilson trainer. This year, six teachers are who were part of the practicum last yearsmall groups with certified Wilson teachers being trained in Level I and four in Level II, showed an average two grade leveland follow a very structured, hands-on, 12- which involves learning advanced strate- increase in both their decoding and com-step program. Elementary and high school gies for multi-sensory instruction, group prehension skills. They are more confidentstudents follow the exact same process. study practicum, and advanced word on attacking an assignment that includesStudents must master each step of the study. The teachers are given all the mate- reading and have a stronger grasp of theprogram before they can move on to the rials and supplies needed for instruction. foundation of reading for use across thenext level. Teachers track each student’s “I thought the training was excellent,” curricula.progress by charting the results of every explains Linda Clayton, a 33-year specialtutoring session. needs teaching veteran, who is currently For more information: Mrs. Vickie Loncar, Riverside Local Schools “We are really starting back at the undergoing Level II certification. Last year, 585 Riverside Drive, Painesville, Ohio 44077beginning” says Mrs. Loncar, explaining Mrs. Clayton worked one-on-one with a pa_loncar@lgca.orgthat the Wilson Program starts off with third grade student who she says “blos-intense review of vowel sounds, consonant somed” as she advanced through the firstsounds, and welded sounds. “We really four levels of the program. Mrs. Claytonwant to give them a solid foundation. In tutored the student for 45 minutes either Students in the Wilson Reading Programthe past, I think the regular class was mov- before or after school three days a week. work in small groups and quiz each othering on and these students didn’t quite get using sound cards. “It’s intensive,” she comments, “but theywhat they needed. need it, and it has paid off.” PRO EXCELLENTIA • SPRING 2009 3
  • 4. The Business of Learning Junior Achievement of Greater Cleveland Junior Achievement (JA) of Greater InspirationCleveland has been working to make eco- JA recruits a diverse group of businessnomics and business come alive for stu- volunteers from a range of industries.dents in 270 schools and organizations These men and women serve as mentorsthroughout Cuyahoga, Lake, Geauga, and and role models who help today’s childrenLorain counties through creative, hands- grow into tomorrow’s success stories,on curricula. explains Ms. Kinsey. JA provides an ori- Programs are presented by business entation program for both the volunteersvolunteers who visit classrooms in grades and teachers who participate in the pro-K-12. They focus on seven key content gram. At each level, they are given aareas: citizenship, economics, entrepre- packet of materials that contains lessonneurship, ethics, character, financial litera- plans, hands-on activities, and discussioncy, and career development. All lessons topics to use in each week’s program.have been tested, meet state standards, Often, volunteers establish a relation-and are updated in response to comments ship with a particular teacher, and return Businessman Kevin Frey teaches a lesson on “needs and wants” to first graders at Fairfaxfrom teachers, students, and volunteers. to that same teacher’s classroom year Elementary School in Cleveland Heights. The children are identifying places on a floor map that families go to in their community to get their needs and wants satisfied.Together the curricula and the volunteers after year. Kevin Frey, Internal Auditwork to raise students’ educational and Manager at Airgas, has volunteered incareer aspirations, teach economics and Stacey Cohen’s first grade classroom atfinancial knowledge, and develop job- Fairfax Elementary School in Clevelandrelated skills. Heights for the past three years. He says Mr. Frey says the students he works accomplish goals so they can become “Our mission is to inspire and prepare he always got along well with children and with come from a variety of backgrounds successful.young people to succeed in the global enjoys being with them. and he enjoys their different perspectives. Ms. Kinsey adds that students who areeconomy,” explains Wendy Kinsey, Mr. Frey recently visited Ms. Cohen’s He views his “guest appearances” as a exposed to JA programs throughout theirPresident, Junior Achievement of Greater classroom to present the first grade JA break in the school day’s more structured 13 years of education will meet a varietyCleveland. curriculum, which covers the role of fami- learning and hopes the students have fun of business professionals who will This year, JA Cleveland was able to lies in the local economy. Over five sepa- learning with him. “This is a different way acquaint them with all sorts of differentexpand the number of programs it offers rate sessions, he and the students dis- to learn,” he says. “It’s a little more inter- job possibilities and inspire them toto students in several inner ring suburbs -- cussed a variety of topics including the active than they may be used to.” achieve their own dreams.Cleveland Heights-University Heights, interdependence of family members; the In the long run, he hopes his effortsBrookpark, Maple Heights, and South difference between a family’s needs and help to educate students about the variety For more information: Ms. Wendy Kinsey, Junior Achievement ofEuclid-Lyndhurst -- through a grant from wants; and how jobs provide income to of possibilities that are available to them Greater Cleveland, 1422 Euclid Avenue,the Martha Holden Jennings Foundation. pay for both. and to encourage them to set and Suite 525, Cleveland, Ohio 44115M A R T H A H O L D E N J E N N I N G S F O U N D AT I O N 4
  • 5. Global Awareness Sparks Student Activism Wolf Creek Local School DistrictA Global Perspective such as landmine eradication, the lack about things that are going on in the world At Waterford High School in of drinking water in many parts of the every day, which they may not see, butAppalachia’s Wolf Creek Local School globe, and the extent of poverty in third that are happening. We want them toDistrict, a school-wide project is educating world countries. They also heard from know that they can become part of a solu-students about serious global issues representatives of organizations intent on tion for these events,” explains Mrs. Miller.and empowering them to get involved. providing relief to those experiencing “This has been eye opening,” says oneThrough Interactive Video Distance these problems. senior who was deeply touched by theLearning (IVDL) and guest speakers, stu- accounts of a woman who works withdents are learning directly from those “This is a very small, very rural, orphans in Honduras. “We just don’t real-who have been victims of disasters such and very agricultural community, ize how bad it is in other countries. Weas genocide, poverty, and world hunger. and the students’ experi- have such great privileges here and weThey are also hearing from organizations ences are very limit- can take care of each other. But wherewho work to alleviate the suffering from ed,” explains Mrs. there is no money and everyone is poor –these events, such as the Peace Corps, Miller. “They just it’s just such a shocker.”Doctors Without Borders, and Habitat can’t believe how Mrs. Miller says that the entire projectfor Humanity. other people live – presentations, interviews, IVDLs -- is “We are such a small school in a because it’s not in being documented by students in thesecluded area and we want our students their experiences.” school’s tech class and will eventually beto have access to what is going on in the available as podcasts.global community,” explains Kelly Miller, For more information:who teaches Language Arts at Waterford. Empowerment Mrs. Kelly Miller, Waterford High SchoolShe is the coordinator for a year-long Mrs. Miller stresses that the project’s P.O. Box 67, Waterford, Ohio 45786project called “Beyond Boundaries: intent is to empower students to becomeStudent Activism from Waterford to the actively involved in alleviating some ofWorld” for the school’s 200 students. “But these pressing global problems. Afterwe want them not just to know what is studying and making presentations aboutgoing on, we want them to understand several relief and social service organiza-how they can become a part of a solution tions, the student body chose one -- Kidsthrough student activism and service.” Against Hunger – to be the recipient of a With a grant from the Martha Holden major, school-wide fundraiser. The schoolJennings Foundation, educators arranged also hosted a “service fair” in which 30 Through Interactive Distance Learning, students atfor speakers to visit the school, some in exhibitors from local to global organiza- Waterford High School are learning about otherperson others via distance learning, to tell tions talked with students about the mis- people’s lives and considering how they might havetheir personal experiences. The students sion of their groups and opportunities for an impact on global issues.heard from Holocaust survivors, the Lost volunteers.Boys of Sudan, and a survivor of the “We want to empower the students byKhmer Rouge. They learned about issues teaching them that they can do something PRO EXCELLENTIA • SPRING 2009 5
  • 6. Art Competition Rewards Effort and Talent Cuyahoga County Regional Scholastic Art Competition and Exhibition Engaging Students Each year, CIA invites more than 300 in Their World art teachers in the county to submit In January, 2009, The Cleveland student work to the adjudicated event. Institute of Art (CIA) hosted the opening Art teachers note that through Scholastics, reception of a very special exhibit. On daily art lessons are applied to a “real life” display in the Reinberger Galleries were situation in which artwork is judged by 282 pieces of award-winning artwork impartial jurors based on its merits. Each created by junior high and high school teacher can enter up to 15 pieces of their students in Cuyahoga County. These students’ art, so they serve as the first pieces were among 1,522 samples of round judges in the process. student work entered into the Cuyahoga “I look for work that goes beyond – County Regional Scholastic Art Competition something that is a little more personal, and Exhibition. A group of professional more expressive,” says David King, a artists and art professors judged each for teacher of two-dimensional art at Chagrin its originality, technicality, and personal Falls High School. Mr. King has been sub- vision. Exceptional pieces received an mitting student work to the Scholastics Honorable Mention, Silver Key, Gold Key, competition throughout his 25 years of or American Vision award and were teaching. mounted and displayed in the Reinberger Galleries for three weeks in January. Top “I think competition is a normal place American Vision and Gold Key win- process in the art world. The stu- ners were then forwarded to a national dents compete with others their own competition in New York City. age; it’s just a good experience to For 29 years, CIA has sponsored the go through.” Scholastics competition to encourage cre- ativity in young people and to recognize Daniel Whitely, who teaches advanced outstanding achievement in the visual arts. drawing, honors painting, and portfolio Open to Cuyahoga County students in workshop at Shaker Heights High School grades 7-12, it is the most prestigious agrees. When selecting work to enter intoShaker Heights High School student Emily McCandless, who won a Gold Key for these juried visual arts competition for young the competition, he looks for well-designedpaintings in her portfolio, says students should have fun with the competition and “do” artists in Greater Cleveland. It offers stu- pieces that clearly convey the artist’swhat they like: “Everything that I paint is something that I love, that’s meaningful to me -- dents exposure to professional artists, intent, has challenged the student andeven the vegetables.” contact with other top student artists in pushed the artist to think. “They learn their the county, a look at the work the other own creative process through this experi- students are producing, and an opportuni- ence,” he remarks. “There are different ty to see their work displayed in a profes- ways of approaching things and they need sionally mounted gallery exhibition. to know what it takes -- from beginningM A R T H A H O L D E N J E N N I N G S F O U N D AT I O N 6
  • 7. to end -- to [create] a piece of art that is of challenging, competitive, and rewardingexhibition worthy.” experience more broadly available to teens involved in athletics.Award Winners Organizing the event is a substantial Mr. Whitely submitted 10-12 student undertaking. Artwork is dropped off at CIA Andrewportfolios (which consist of eight art one day in December and within 20 hours Weaver ofpieces, an artist’s statement, a letter of Chagrin Falls it is adjudicated by a group of professional High Schoolrecommendation, and the students’ tran- artists and art teachers. The pieces are won a Goldscript) in this year’s competition. Three first divided into 19 different categories, Key and anwon Gold Key awards. Shaker students which include painting, photography, Honorablealso competed in jewelry design, graphics, model design, product design, and Mention atfine arts, and ceramics. video/film among others. the 2009 The Scholastics competition has provid- “The judging is intense,” says Richard Competition.ed thousands of students who apply Maxwell, Assistant Director of Continuingthemselves in the visual arts with the kind Education & Community Outreach at the Institute. He adds that CIA looks for jurors who work outside of the county to ensure impartiality in the judging process. While not every student wins an award “I really enjoy looking around at the competition, Mr. Maxwell hopes all at the Exhibition at other peoples students who participate will continue to work -- seeing what they come pursue their passion for art. “I hope the up with and getting inspiration for students learn that they should not give up what I could possibly do in the and that they should continue to create,” he future.” says. “It helps increase their learning in other avenues as well.” Courtney Gill, Shaker Heights High School Mr. King recognizes that value, too. Gold Key Award Winner Shaker Heights “The students are not entering the competi- for Portfolio High School tion just to win an art show,” he remarks. student Joe “They’re doing it because they love art and Schorgl won a they love sharing it with other people.” Gold Key for his comic book For more information: illustrations. Mr. Richard Maxwell The Cleveland Institute of Art 11141 East Boulevard, Cleveland, Ohio 44106 rmaxwell@cia.edu PRO EXCELLENTIA • SPRING 2009 7
  • 8. On-line Classes Enhance Gifted ProgramVirtual Learning Coordinator, Clermont County Educational schools, proved the idea could have phe- break it apart, to get the best resources, Gifted students from four districts in Service Center. “We couldn’t really have nomenal results. Students in the different to align it to the standards, to considerClermont County are learning through a classes of three students here and four districts read the same novels, analyzed learning styles and interests,” saysseries of on-line courses in several subject students there,” she remarks. The educa- historical documents, and shared their Heather Frost-Hauk, who teaches giftedareas. The virtual classes, which are tors realized, however, that if the county thoughts and comments on-line. Each students in grades 6,7, and 8 in thebeing developed by their teachers, allow offered courses on-line, students could week teachers provided through-provok- Bethel-Tate district. “The great thing isthese small, rural districts to efficiently select classes specific to their areas of ing prompts and students were able to that we all work together to compile andserve their gifted populations. The courses passion – whether in science, social stud- discuss issues that went well above typi- pool resources, brainstorm ideas, andbuild on the state standards but go more ies, language arts, or math -- and the dis- cal grade-level conversations. At the end map the units. Then, the [teacher] respon-in-depth and involve critical thinking skills tricts could share gifted personnel among of each quarter, students met face-to-face sible for the unit fine tunes things.and lots of creativity. all the schools. for live debates and discussions and the “There is so much to consider;” she Gifted students and gifted teachers are A pilot project last year in the districts opportunity to meet their counterparts adds, “I love the challenge though.”sprinkled around the county at many dif- of Bethel-Tate, Clermont Northeastern, from other districts. Mrs. Frost-Hauk says her passion is inferent schools, explains Amy Bain, Gifted Felicity-Franklin, and Williamsburg local language arts so she concentrates on that The Program Expands subject and leaves science and social With a grant from the Martha Holden studies to other teachers. Titles of courses Jennings Foundation, the county expand- she developed include Oh Rats! (Mrs. ed the program in 2008-2009 to include Frisby and the Rats of NIMH); Basics of gifted students in grades 3-8 and to Writing; My Kind of Research; Creative increase the number of virtual course Writing and Poetry; and Dracula. offerings. Last spring gifted teachers from all four districts along with Mrs. Bain met to “The on-line develop the courses. While most are inter- courses have disciplinary, the focus of each is science, challenged me social studies, or language arts. Currently, to re-think the almost 350 students are enrolled in the way I view As a culminating activity classes. education and for the class on Ancient “Once we decided to offer on-line service options for Egypt, students use the courses, we were surprised with the lack gifted students,” comments scientific method to deter- mine the best substances of available resources,” explains Mrs. Renee King, who teaches gifted for mummifying squid. Bain. “We discovered that we needed to students in grades 3-8 at Felicity- create the classes ourselves. This was Franklin School. “I no longer have exciting in that we could develop the a ‘one size fits all’ service -- I courses with the gifted students’ needs in have options! I find myself looking mind.” at individual student needs more “It takes a long time to map it out, to than ever.”M A R T H A H O L D E N J E N N I N G S F O U N D AT I O N 8
  • 9. Clermont County Educational Service CenterCourse Selections Students typically have three classesor more to choose from each quarter. Foreach course, students meet weekly with agifted teacher and then have weekly virtu-al activities that can be completed on-line.They are encouraged to work at their ownpace, provided they meet required dead-lines. Students come to the face-to-faceclasses armed with information they have Gifted students at Felicity-learned during the week. Throughout the Franklin Elementary School workcourse, the students share their findings in the computer lab on anand comments with gifted students in the Immigration project. Theirother schools. Each course includes a cul- teacher, Renee King, suggestedminating project or activity where the stu- a variety of Web sites they could explore to gather informa-dents from the different schools get tion they will share at theirtogether. This project serves as the weekly face-to-face meeting.course assessment and allows students toset goals that drive learning during theprior eight weeks. “Students love being able to choosewhat they study,” says Mrs. Bain. “Thosegifted in science no longer are grouped courses allow students and teachers and can incorporate their interest in their For more information:with other gifted students in a reading access to the class at any hour of the day, course selections,” she says. Mrs. Amy Bain Clermont County Educational Service Centerclass. Now they can take courses such as any day of the week. And if students are 2400 Clermont Center Drive, Suite 202Anatomy, Cells, Flight and Rockets, particularly interested in a topic, they can “It’s important for teachers to Batavia, Ohio 45103-1957Amazing Animals, or Chemistry. share what they have learned with other realize that on-line education is aDeveloping courses that match the areas students via forums or discussion boards. valuable tool that can be very pow-of identification has been a wonderful Mrs. Frost-Hauk says she likes the fact erful in impacting student achieve-advantage of the program. that students get a whole package: “They ment,” stresses Mrs. King. “It is “This is not a ‘canned’ program,” she learn to be responsible for their learning; not a class without a teacher. Wecontinues. “The courses are updated and improve their skills when it comes to tech- make face-to-face weekly meetingstweaked for each group of students. We nology; learn ‘real-life’ skills – as on-line a core component of the virtualreally look at what the students are doing, courses are becoming the future of col- classes. We are constantly in com-what they might need.” lege courses; learn to respond construc- munication with students on-line or Mrs. King believes the program’s tively to their fellow students in the way of face-to-face to ensure qualitybiggest benefit is its flexibility. On-line forums and wikis; work at their own pace; results.” PRO EXCELLENTIA • SPRING 2009 9
  • 10. Students Manufacture Alternative Fuel North Fork Local School District Agriculture students at Utica HighSchool are planning to produce 100gallons of biodiesel fuel each week fromrecycled cooking oil and market it to areafarmers for use throughout the growingseason. The students will handle allaspects of production from collecting oilfrom a local restaurant to operating abiodiesel fuel processor to distributing thefinal product. Prior to making their firstgallon, the students researched allaspects of biodiesel fuel technology. They Students are filtering the recycled cooking oil that Students are adding pre-measured methanol to thestudied the chemistry behind the fuel, the will be used to make the biodiesel fuel. biodiesel fuel processor.cost effectiveness of production, and itspotential environmental impact. Instructors Jeff Hindel, IndustrialTechnology, and Steve Priest, AgricultrualEducation, conceived the idea in thespring of 2008 when diesel fuel prices User Friendly Processor Agriculture program made their first 50- tion highlighting the environmental andwere rising dramatically. With a grant from the Jennings gallon batch in mid-March. financial benefits of “buying” their school- “The fuel crisis spearheaded this proj- Foundation, the teachers purchased a grown product and will use it as a market-ect,” says Mr. Hindel, explaining that Utica self-contained biodiesel fuel processor “It’s nice that we know how to ing tool when talking to community groupsis a small farming community and stu- that is easy to operate and requires little make an alternative energy source,” this spring.dents at the school live on and work those maintenance. It is set up in a walled-off says one student. “This will be a big “This is a wonderful experience forfarms. “When diesel fuel was over $4.00 a area of the Ag shop. All chemicals needed part of energy in the future, and us,” remarks another student. “It gives usgallon last May we got together to think to make the fuel come pre-measured; stu- maybe one of us can head up a com- an idea of how to run our own businessabout how we could help our community, dents simply pour in the oil and chemi- pany that will make biodiesel fuel and also allows us an opportunity to helpand this is what we decided to do.” cals, push the start button, and let the and introduce it to all of America.” our community.” In addition to providing the community machine do the work. Twenty-four hours For more information:with a less expensive fuel, Mr. Priest notes later they drain off glycerin, a by-product The students’ plan is to produce the Mr. Jeff Hindel, Mr. Steve Priestthat biodiesel fuel burns cleaner and is of the production process, and start the fuel for local farmers who would con- Utica High Schoolless corrosive to engines than fossil fuel final wash. In another 24 hours, the fuel is tribute a donation to the school’s 260 N. Jefferson Streetand its emissions are less harmful to the ready to use. Agriculture program in return. They have Utica, Ohio 43080atmosphere than standard emissions. A small group of seniors in the produced a detailed PowerPoint presenta-M A R T H A H O L D E N J E N N I N G S F O U N D AT I O N 10
  • 11. Walking in Their Moccasins The Lake County Historical Society Children who live along the southern based program to teach students how the these Native Americans lived in the area,shore of Lake Erie are getting a unique Whittlesey focus people used their envi- the students examine a variety of “arti-opportunity to learn about the Native ronment and technology to create a better facts,” discuss them, and match themAmericans who once walked in their back- way of life. with real artifacts held in display cases.yards. Through a program called, ”Walking The students’ job is to identify the objectsin Their Moccasins,” designed by educa- Environment and Technology as tools, weapons, or decorative piecestors at The Lake County Historical Society, The Historical Society is fortunate to by using observations and informationchildren in grades 3-5 learn about the cul- have a site that offers a unique environ- included in a written field guide.ture, art, technology, and lifestyles of the ment for conducting an interactive pro- Outdoors, the students have an eightpre-historic people known as the gram – a combination classroom and out- acre wooded environment in which toWhittlesey* focus people. door setting where students can learn learn through experience. A group of high “School children who live in this area both through direct instruction and hands- school students assisted in creating a vil-learn everything they need to know about on discovery. In creating “Walking in Their lage that includes a long house; wigwam;eastern woodland tribes, southern mound Moccasins,” Ms. Purmal drew upon native garden; and cooking, tool-makingbuilders, even the Alaskan Native decades of success the Historical Society and clay pot area. Using materials foundAmericans, but they learn nothing about has had with the popular Pioneer School – in the environment, students role play thethe Native Americans who once walked where students learn about early American Whittlesey people solving problems asso-through their backyards,” says Kathie life in an authentic environment where ciated with obtaining food, shelter, andPurmal, Executive Director, The Lake they actually haul wood, cook over an clothing. They make tools out of stone,County Historical Society. Their history, open fire, and attend school in a one room wood, and bone. They grind corn with aculture, and disappearance are an integral school house. mortar and pestle and use deer antlers topart of the history of Lake County and sur- “We saw how the proper environment work in the garden. A museum display of the Whittlesey peoplerounding areas and local teachers know really lit the imagination,” says Ms. “The lesson we want them to learn is teaches students how they survived invery little about them. how these people used their environment their natural environment. Purmal. “And with the imagination, of With a grant from the Martha Holden course, comes the learning.” and technology to create a better way ofJennings Foundation and the expertise of The three-hour Native American pro- living,” says Ms. Purmal. “And througha previous youth education director, the gram is divided into indoor and outdoor that, we hope will grow a respect for theHistorical Society developed a standards- sessions. Students enter “Professor Native Americans that once walked the Whittlesey’s” laboratory inside the muse- southern shores of Lake Erie.” um to learn more about the lifestyles of For more information: these prehistoric peoples. The classroom Ms. Kathie Purmal*The name Whittlesey comes from Charles is set up as a Whittlesey campsite with a The Lake County Historical SocietyWhittlesey, an archaeologist who explored wigwam surrounded by “rock cliffs.” To 8610 Mentor Road, Kirtland Hills, Ohio 44060Lake County in the 1830’s and uncoveredremnants of primitive life in the area. learn about the different time periods PRO EXCELLENTIA • SPRING 2009 11
  • 12. Top Educator AwardsJennifer McCalla Mrs. McCalla, who holds a master’s to make it better.” will benefit from the computers, which are Jennifer McCalla believes it is extreme- degree in education technology, used the A 10-year teaching veteran, Mrs. stored on a portable cart and can bely important for teachers to stay current award to establish a mobile graphing calcu- McCalla enjoys working with kids and moved from room to room.with trends in technology. A mathematics lator lab that is being used by nine teachers “seeing their expressions when they get “The range of activities and skills thateducator at Normandy High School in in classes from Algebra Topics to AP it – when they have that ‘aha moment.’ we are going to be able to do is going toParma and the 2008 recipient of the Calculus in the mathematics department at “With some kids it may take a little bit be a lot more extensive,” says Mrs.George B. Chapman, Jr. Teacher Award Normandy. The lab consists of a set of 30 longer,” she adds, “but that’s what it’s all Ptasznik, who says her teaching style willfor Excellence in Mathematics Education, TI-Nspire graphing calculators, a PC Video about.” change a lot due to the immersion of theMrs. McCalla says using graphing calcula- projector, and a laptop installed with TI- technology in her lesson plans.tors and computer software gives stu- SmartView Emulator software. Using the cal- Casey Ptasznikdents the best chance to understand the culators, students can see multiple repre- Casey Ptasznik aims to recapture the “We do a lot of skills-basedmath they are learning, as opposed to just sentations – tabular, graphical, and numeri- enthusiasm a kindergartner has for learn- learning,” she adds. “While thememorizing rules and formulas. cal -- of the same problem on one screen. ing and instill it in her high school stu- students are learning a concept “I’m slowly getting teachers to under- dents. With funds from the 2008 Master within world history there is also “My own experiences in learning stand all these calculators can do,” says Teacher Award, she is working to bring her at least one skill connected tohigher mathematics have convinced Mrs. McCalla, who is providing in-service world history classes to life. She pur- every activity, and the computersme that tools that allow students to for teachers in the department in hopes chased 13 laptop computers that she will play into that.‘explore’ and ‘play with’ various that all will incorporate them in their les- envisions ninth grade students at Chardonideas foster fundamental under- sons. She believes effective teachers High School will use to make multimedia “It’s going to force me to learn too,”standing of the ‘why’ of mathemat- need to be open to try new things. “They and PowerPoint presentations, conduct she admits, remarking on the variety ofics in addition to the ‘how,’ ” she need to be adventurous,” she says. “If research, assemble timelines, and create new software programs that will be avail-remarks. you try something and it doesn’t work political advertisements and cartoons. able for teachers to use. you can adapt it, or change it, or edit it Actually, she says, the whole department Jennifer McCalla in her classroom at Normandy High School.M A R T H A H O L D E N J E N N I N G S F O U N D AT I O N 12
  • 13. educator excellence students.” From iPods to text messages, he adds, their connection with information technology is continuous and second nature; he would like to take advantage of that interest and turn it to an instructional purpose. With three decades of experience behind him, Mr. Stork jokes that he is still learning how to do his job. Yet, he does Casey Ptasznik have some advice for new teachers: instructs a group of world history students “It’s really all about the students. at Chardon That’s the deal. The whole focus High School. has got to be getting to know them,” he says. “And that’s the fun of it. So enjoy your students – that would be my advice.” Mrs. Ptasznik has been teaching high Thomas Stork dents’ connection to information technolo-school social studies for 13 years. Her “It is the students who do the learning gy and apply it to their investigation oforiginal plan was to go to law school and and if they are not directly engaged with force and motion in ninth grade physicsfocus on educational law, but a semester the content then they are not effectively lessons.of student teaching changed her mind. learning,” says Thomas Stork, who has Using technology purchased with“I have really enjoyed the kids,” she taught science at Athens High School for award funds, students work in teamsremarks, adding that teaching is never the past 30 years. “They have got to be using wireless data gathering devices toboring because the students are constant- directly engaged, they have got to be con- measure force, acceleration, and positionly changing. “I can take the same course necting the ideas to their experiences in as they engage in a variety of activities.and teach it three times a day and it is so the real world. And it is the teacher who They download and analyze this data ondifferent class to class.” arranges for that to happen.” computers, record their activities using Mrs. Ptasznik believes one of the most In courses ranging from Integrated video cameras, and will eventually createimportant qualities in a master teacher is Science to AP Physics, he encourages podcast presentations to share what theyhaving the ability to assess what students students to investigate the world around have learned with elementary students.need and provide it for them, which, she them and then incorporate that knowledge “I have worked to try to incorporateconcedes, is easier said than done. She into a coherent world view. As the 2008 students’ direct experience through avail-also believes it is important to offer guid- recipient of the Arthur S. Holden Teacher able technology all my career,” Mr. Stork Thomas Stork, Science Teacher at Athens High School.ance and emotional support outside of the Award for Excellence in Science remarks. “As engaged as I am, I recognizeclassroom. Education, Mr. Stork aims to tap the stu- that I am not nearly as plugged in as my PRO EXCELLENTIA • SPRING 2009 13
  • 14. Technology Creates Interest in Saturday School Marietta Middle School “All of these are technologies ing rules for not using this [technology], I that engage the reluctant learner,” think we need to start really brainstorming says Ms. Depue. “I truly believe how to make it practical and useful in the that’s part of the enthusiasm that classroom. We’re not teaching [students] keeps the kids coming.” the technology, we’re using the technolo- gy as a tool to teach the academic out- The intervention sessions ran for sever- comes.” al weeks prior to the state testing in April. Participants were identified through a pre- Student Teaching assessment test given in January. Those A second purpose of the Saturday Club invited to the “club” exhibited weaknesses is to give Marietta College students who in several learning outcomes. Results of are earning a teaching degree through the these tests also indicated to the teachers CORE (Developing Core Teachers in Ohio’s Students in Saturday the skills students were lacking, and they Appalachian Region) Program an opportu- Club use a variety of designed activities to meet those needs. nity to practice their classroom skills. technological tools The Saturday sessions began at 11:30, These students are professionals in mathe- that interest them in learning. allowing the students the ability to “sleep matics and science-oriented fields and in.” They started the afternoons with a have chosen to pursue teaching as an pizza lunch, which were followed by four, alternative career. The college students hour-long academic sessions. The large helped design as well as teach the group was broken into smaller groups of Saturday lessons. 6-10, which rotated through the different “The [student teachers] learned a lot asTeachers Embrace Technology ultimate goal is to improve the perform- activities. The activities varied each week far as getting that experience to teach,” Saturday Club was a popular spot for ance of these students on the Ohio and included such tasks as dissecting a says Ms. Depue, who is an instructor inseventh graders at Marietta Middle School. Achievement tests in the areas of mathe- fetal pig, designing a scavenger hunt using the CORE Program.More than 50 pre-teens attended the aca- matics, science, technology, and language hand held GPS devices, and creating pod- “They enjoyed working with the targetdemic program to the envy of classmates arts. casts that can be viewed on the class group, they enjoyed working with eachwho remained on the waiting list. The teachers believe the secret to their Web site. other, and they’ve had lots of great expo- “It’s all about making learning fun,” success is the integration of technology. Ms. Depue firmly believes that integrat- sure to all kinds of classroom tools. Nowsays seventh grade teacher Kimberly With a grant from the Martha Holden ing technology in the curriculum is a signif- they’ve seen [the technology] in use. IDepue, who developed the weekend pro- Jennings Foundation, they purchased a icant motivator. “Every time new technolo- think that’s given them valuable informa-gram with her colleague, Kathy Finley. variety of technological tools, such as gies come out we want to ban them,” says tion as well.”The teachers set out to engage reluctant handheld GPS units, iPods, Vernier probes, Ms. Depue referring to devices such as For more information:learners in activities they don’t get to do and graphing calculators, which totally cell phones and iPods. Ms. Kimberly Depue, Marietta Middle Schoolduring the usual school day. Their engage students in the learning process. “Instead of spending a lot of time mak- 242 7th Street, Marietta, Ohio 45750M A R T H A H O L D E N J E N N I N G S F O U N D AT I O N 14
  • 15. Financial Literacy Workshops Ashland University In December 2006, the Ohio legisla- Jennings Science Workshops2009 ture passed Senate Bill 311, which Grades 5-8 • June 22-25Financial requires the integration of financial literacy Grades 2-4 • July 6-9Literacy into the high school curriculum for stu-Workshops dents entering high school beginning in 2010. Each school district can determine Jennings Mathematics at what grade level it will teach the con- Workshop tent, in which course, and by whom. Grades 6-8 • July 27-30June 22-23 To help teachers get up to speed onThe Youngstown Club teaching personal finance and assist dis- Jennings Educators’ RetreatYoungstown, Ohio tricts with the implementation, the Ohio July 30-31 Centers for Economic Education worked Those who attend the Teachers Academy with the Ohio Department of Education to receive a box filled with materials andJune 22-July 24 create a program called “The Teachers supplies they can use in their classroomOn-Line to teach financial literacy. Academy for Personal Finance.” The pro- gram, which is funded in part by a grant from the Martha Holden JenningsJune 24 - 25Polaris Career Center Foundation, provides classroom-ready, ments, an on-line version is also available.Middleburg Heights, interactive resources to deliver the If a district has not developed an imple-Ohio required instruction and helps support an mentation plan, a teacher or curriculum implementation plan. The Teachers director can attend the program and then Academy covers six content modules: assist the district in the design of its plan.July 1-2 Each program can be taken for either twoAshland University 1. Financial Decision-making semester hours of graduate level creditColumbus Center 2. Working and Earning from Ashland University or 12 professionalColumbus, Ohio 3. Budgeting, Banking, Saving, and development contact hours. Philanthropy For workshop registration forms, 4. Effective Use of Credit please visit the Ashland University webAugust 17-18Mansfield Chamber 5. Wealth Creation and Investing site: www.ashland.edu/econedcentersof Commerce 6. Risk Management Teachers enjoy learning together at the For more information: Jennings summer workshops.Mansfield, Ohio Mrs. Paula Aveni, Director Economic Education The two-day course will be offered at EconomicsAmerica, Cleveland Center several locations throughout Ohio this of Ashland University summer. For teachers struggling to bal- www.ashland.edu/econedcenters ance professional and personal commit- PRO EXCELLENTIA • SPRING 2009 15
  • 16. Martha Holden Jennings Foundation Non-profit Organization The Halle Building 1228 Euclid Avenue, Suite 710 U.S. POSTAGE PAID Cleveland, Ohio 44115 Cleveland, Ohio Permit No. 2282PRO EXCELLENTIAHelping Teachers and StudentsHelp Themselves Art Competition page 6 Top Educators Junior page 12 Acheivement page 4