Language arts requirements far more advanced

By David Yockey

Milford has recently initiated a new language arts curriculum in grades 6-12.  This curriculum was designed and written by our teachers and is directly aligned to the New Learning Standards in Ohio.

Text complexity has increased at each grade level in order to align to the National Learning Standards.  For example, texts that in the past might have been a grade 9 or 10 text now align with the grade 8 text complexity requirement.  Writing expectations have increased significantly (although Milford has a long history of high expectations in writing) to align with the focus on informational/expository writing as well as argumentative writing. Continue reading

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Closing the gender achievement gap

By Gary Knepp

“We collected a great deal of data and what we saw was there was a significant achievement gap between boys and girls and that seemed to grow as students went from first grade to seniors in high school.”

This quote is from Ms. Nancy House, Director of Secondary Curriculum & Instruction for the Milford school district, in a June 2010 video produced by Clermont County Today (found here on YouTube, and another video from 2011 found here on YouTube).  It refers to work done over a period of about three years total through a committee of community members, parents, teachers and administrators in the Milford school district.

This committee originated when I became concerned about gender learning differences, sparked by a book review of Peg Tyre’s The Trouble with Boys.  After reading the book from cover to cover, I began to collect research papers on the subject and review statistics from the U.S. Department of Education.  They bore out Ms. Tyre’s conclusion that there is a crisis in boy’s educational achievement.  Based upon several months of research, I recommended to the Board of Education that a committee be established to study this issue at Milford.  The Board approved that recommendation and the committee was established. Continue reading

Milford’s Teaching Professions program honored as “outstanding program”

By David Yockey

On Thursday, October 10, at the Fall Conference of the Southwest Region of the Ohio School Boards association, Milford’s Teaching Professions program was honored as an “outstanding program.”  This program is taught by Jennifer Shay-Norsworthy and is a “satellite” program of the Great Oaks Institute of Technology and Career Development.

Students in this program recently made a national impact with a presentation on learning disabilities that wowed the judges and earned them first place in the nation at the National Future Educators Association conference in Orlando.  The Teaching Professions students earned the right to attend the conference as national semi-finalists based on research they did on learning disabilities.  In Orlando, they gave a 15-minute presentation on how to make learning attainable to students with disabilities.  “These students did so well in the presentation that the judges stayed for almost two hours after the competition in order to talk with them,” said instructor Shay-Norsworthy.  “They told the students that they came across as professionals already working in the field, not as high school students.” Continue reading

Teaching students basic life skills

By David Yockey

  I recently attended the Ohio Association for Career and Technical Education Conference in Columbus, Ohio.  The featured speaker at this conference was Josh Davies of the Colorado Workforce Development Coalition.  As always, the keynote speaker delivered a thought-provoking message.  His message was that we need to do more in today’s society to make sure that our students learn basic traditional life skills.  The State of Ohio gives us very little choice in the need to make certain that our students do well on the State achievement tests with the publishing of a State report card and grading of school systems based on these State tests.  However, we must be cautious that we do not ignore other life skills that are important to students in the workplace.  Mr. Davies pointed out that in one study only 11% of those fired from jobs were fired because of a lack of skills after they had originally shown that they met the qualifications for the job.  He said that most of the reasons people had been fired were attitudinal in nature.  Some of these were (1) dishonesty, (2) lying on a resume, (3) refusing to follow directions, (4) conducting personal business at work, (5) inconsistency in their work, (6) an inability to get along with others, (7) tardiness, (8) absenteeism, and (9) drug and alcohol abuse.  He says we need to continue to help students understand that businesses expect employees to meet these personal expectations.  I am very pleased that we have recently hired a person whose job it will be to coordinate shadowing and mentoring experiences for students in the workplace where students will reinforce these concepts.  I am currently serving on a task force through the Clermont County Chamber of Commerce which is trying to find ways that we can cooperate between businesses and the schools to better prepare students for the workplace and to better understand what businesses expect of them.  It is important that we not forget these characteristics and that they not get lost in our need to prepare students to perform well on State academic achievement tests.  Mr. Davies says in the past these were attitudes that were shaped in the home but that in today’s world many students do not develop these skills and that we must do more in schools to help students develop them.

David Yockey is a candidate in the November 5, 2013 school board election. Visit his website at www.davidyockey.com.