Bellefontaine Examiner

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Bellefontaine City Schools selected to pilot online learning and data system

Bellefontaine City School District is one of 10 districts and community schools in Ohio to pilot a new state-of-the-art instructional inprovement system that allows teachers to store and analyze student achievement data.

“It has never been more important for educators to use modern technology to give students customized learning options based upon real data that identifies student needs,” said Michael Sawyers, acting superintendent of public instruction. “We appreciate Bellefontaine City Schools agreeing to help us in creating a statewide instructional improvement system that is truly the beginning of a new era in Ohio education.”

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“We’re really excited about it,” Bellefontaine Superintendent Beth Harman said.

She noted the district will learn more about the program in the next week and through a series of webinars.

“It’s my understanding that it will help to track student performance and develop digital files that follow the students from grade to grade,” she said. “Hopefully it will identify areas a student is proficient in so there won’t be as much duplication from grade-to-grade.”

Ohio and Massachuetts are the first two states to participate in the program, Ms. Harman noted, and it is honor for Bellefontaine to picked out of all the qualifying schools in Ohio.

Just a few classes across the district’s grades will be participate in the pilot program, she said.

According to Ohio Department of Education, IIS will enable teachers to accelerate and personalize the education experience by providing the following features:

• online access to curriculum and standards;

• curriculum customization;

• easy to use paper, online and clicker test administration options that teachers can use to determine what progress students have made and in what areas they need help; and

• a portfolio of every student’s work.

Pilot participants are a cross section of Ohio’s schools based on size, location, type of school and type of student information systems already being used.

The district will work closely with the ODE and IIS developer Thinkgate LLC to ensure the system meets core state requirements and works well with other state and local information systems before it is rolled out to other districts.

Other districts and schools selected for the pilot include: Buckeye On-Line School for Success, Hamilton City Schools, Madison-Plains Local Schools, Morgan Local Schools, Oregon City Schools, South Euclid-Lyndhurst City Schools, Toledo City Schools, Union-Scioto Local Schools and Youngstown Community School.

Under the contract, the Thinkgate IIS will be available to all Race to the Top schools funded by the ODE using the RttT grant for the 2013-2014 and 2014-2015 school years.

Non-RttT schools can pay for the IIS service beginning in the 2013-2014 school year. Use of the Thinkgate system is voluntary.

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