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Liberty Union-Thurston Local Schools Are Making News!

Recently Ketal Patel (l), Ass’t Program Director at PAST, and Jennifer Blackstone, Curriculm Director at Liberty Union-Thurston Local Schools, met to share exciting news from the district. As part of the Fairfield County ESC, Liberty-Union is one of eight school districts in the county to receive Straight A funds from Ohio. Each district is using the grant funds a bit differently, and PAST works directly with each on several aspects of the grant projects.

In April 2015 Liberty-Union students, faculty and parents found a unique way to share their Straight A Grant fund plans with the community: the put on a show! The student driven variety show featured students and volunteers in every role, from singers and dancers to directing and technical and backstage roles. Their ideas was to truly engage the community in the future plans and opportunities for students created by the grant.  While entertaining, the evening was also a vehicle to let the community know that how the grant funds were acquired and how they might be spent. No funds will be taken from district resources or redirected from district budgets.

One approach at Liberty-Union asks teachers to submit applications for seed money (from the grant) to create authentic learning experiences outside the classroom. For example, one idea is to integrate literature (classic mysteries and police stories) with the study of forensics. While typical STEM studies are easily linked to outdoor learning, all studies – including language arts, social studies, art and geography – are enhanced by an outdoor learning lab.

PAST is proud to be a part of the transformation that is happening in these schools through our work with teachers, administrators and students.

“We have really enjoyed this experience.  It was really hard work, but we are getting to the “end” of this year’s planning and are seeing the fruits of our labor,” said Jennifer.  We’ve enjoyed it too, and look forward to seeing you all in the fall. Seeing an entire community engaged in education…it’s what we love.


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