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FIRST School Participates in Creative Educator Academy

The Creative Educator Academy (CEA) is a year-long professional learning experience designed to expose educators to innovative thinking and creativity in educational problem-solving with an emphasis on STEAM (Code + Create) and hybrid learning. Ohio State, along with a partnership with Apple, is providing hardware, scholarships, professional learning, and support as part of its Community Education Initiative. In cooperation with the OSU Digital Flagship program, EHE-Information Technology, and other campus partners, the program offers educators a variety of tools, training, and networking experiences during the academic year. The academy is meant to support educators, especially those at high-needs school districts, and students at FIRST School are benefiting through their participation.

Candy Bores, technology manager for Mid-Ohio Educational Service Center, joined the academy with Chris Jones and Vivian Brownlow from FIRST School to expand their knowledge to help students. "By using creative thinking and technology to track learning and success, we believe students will be more involved than if they have only a report card or a certificate," Bores said.

Jones said they have created great new ways for his students to track their learning progress."We want them to have an app to take to colleges or job sites so they can say, ‘Look where I started, and look at how much I learned,'" Jones said. "We want them to participate in the app and have it to share when they return to their home schools."
He is also using the tech as part of a special Gorman Fund project. “I am currently teaching a singer/songwriting class in collaboration with Anne E. DeChant and English Language Arts teacher Heather McClain,” Jones explained. “To further enhance this class, OSU has provided us with 14 iPads with AppleBooks and GarageBand to allow students to more fully immerse themselves in more tools to help them with the overall songwriting process.”

“As an Intervention Specialist (IS) who takes advantage and loves technology,” said Brownlow, “I always think of ways to integrate technology with intervention. My project, called Master Reader, is a web-based application that can be used by students to independently practice reading to improve fluency.” How it works is by listening to a student as they read aloud to the app, while it corrects and collects reading fluency data. From the data collected by the app, it will then auto-generate practice words / word families for the student to practice independently. Brownlow said the advantage is that the app can be used independently by students, while the IS or reading teachers keep the program individualized by uploading and assigning specific reading passages aligned with the curriculum.

Brownlow continued, “Through the CEA program, my Computer Science class also received 14 iPads. Because we are a Chromebooks-based school, giving our students the learning experience to code on an iOS platform is really very exciting. The students did well learning HTML and CSS last term but are even more engaged now that they get to learn Swift Programming with Apple’s Swift Playground. What makes it even better is having support directly from Apple!”
Bores said this is a pilot program with big hopes for the future. "If all goes well, we will work with teachers in our other districts as well, including Abraxas," a residential education center for young males, Bores said. "We are starting with the (academy) to come up with an innovative way to encourage these kids to be interested in their learning and see their growth." 

Private Residential Treatment Facility (PRTF) Programs include the Abraxas School and FIRST School, which are funded through the Ohio Department of Education Private Residential Treatment Facility Pilot Program to operate the academic program at two of the three PRTF sites: Abraxas, located east of Shelby and Foundations for Living, located west of Lucas. These programs are also supported through Title 1-D (Delinquent) funds administered by Mid-Ohio ESC. Mid-Ohio ESC partners with the residential treatment program administration and staff to deliver an educational program that meets the requirements of the Ohio Department of Education for students in correctional facilities.

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