Addie's school Ohio Virtual Academy is on the chopping block as are all e-schools in ohio...so I decided to go and I wrote myself a little speech to share.
The meeting was held at Stivers which is a Creative Arts High School in Dayton and it is like an Art gallery inside. I marveled a bit at how amazing the inside hall of the school looked with pillars and sculptures and large glass windows with modern art inside bright lit up rooms. Inside the meeting which was held in the auditorium it was wall to wall people with standing room only. The Chairmen and committee were up on the stage. I didn't realize what a big deal it would be but there are alot of people not happy with the plan. Ted Strickland is the mastermind along with the committee selected to help draft ohio school funding.
it was going to last a LOOONG time . They described the school funding bill which is going to add 20 days to the school year, full day kindergarten, money for increased technology...they kept saying "21st century technology" and it started to annoy me a little bit. Like do we have to specify 21st century....would anyone think they are going to buy 20th century technology or 19th century technology?
Anyways people were ticked off. Many cool educational things in Dayton and the area are going to lose some funding. Most everyone that stood up was Dr. someone or other who runs some educational program out of a local college or university or Wright Patt or something.
Then there were all the charter schools. Charter schools have sprung up more in the urban areas because people are sick of the crappy public schools and so they will enroll their kids in pretty much any other option available. alot of the Charter schools will emphasize a subject, like technology or science or physical activity or something.
The head of Deca which is a charter school in Dayton was the superintendent of Oakwood for 10 years and it's a really cool school. It t combines college and high school with alot of science and I guess it's been featured in like Newsweek and named one of the top ten high schools or something. Also other charter school heads were there.
The head of the school board in Northmont came and said the plan is actually going to be worse for them then it was before, so it's not just the charter schools that are going to suffer. It sounds like they are redistributing their funding to every school with the focus being on the bigger inner city schools.
so everyone was bummed out and I waited around for 4 hours and I left because I don't think it was going to end for another 2. So I didn't get to say my speech. But if this thing goes through all virtual academies will be shut down. So since I didn't get to do my speech I'll attach it to remember it for always and forever.
March 16th, 2009
Mr. Chairmen and members of the committee,
My name is Amelia Dotson. I'm a mother of 2, a piano teacher, and my husband is a highly qualified public school teacher at a nearby school.
My daughter, Addie, is a kindergartener at Ohio Virtual Academy.
When it came time to enroll my daughter in kindergarten I had a lot to think about. I enjoy reading and had read everything I could get my hands on to help me know how young children learn. I didn't want to choose the most traditional option if it wasn't the most effective option for my daughter Addie. I wasn't ruling out a traditional public school setting, I just really wanted to make an informed decision.
After much research, and many long conversations with my husband, we chose Ohio Virtual Academy. We live in a school district that has an excellent rating and many people will ask us why we chose Ohio Virtual Academy over our local school district.
This is what I tell them:
With OHVA Addie can learn at her own pace. This is the mandate given to most all public school teachers, but as my husband who deals with it everyday tells me, it is extremely difficult to challenge his “high” students and give time and resources to the students who need more time to master something.
Addie's morning usually involves a double Math lesson because she really excells at numbers. The curricullum is very clear and easy to follow. The lessons are hands on and use a lot of fun manipulatives. She will master two Math lessons almost everyday and so we will be able to finish K Math early and move on to 1st grade Math. If she was in a traditional brick and mortar school I know she would be forced to plod through Math and possibly become disinterested in it.
Now with Phonics we are taking one lesson a day and some days if she hasn't mastered her lesson we will spend an extra day on the same lesson. She is making good ,steady progress and I'm taking it at her pace not the group pace of a large class of kids. This is an example of how with OHVA she is able to learn the way that best suits her as an individual and she loves learning.
With OHVA We Can Schedule it Around Her Needs
There are days when she has had the stomach flu and instead of going to “school” in our designated school room, she will lay on the couch and I will bring her lesson to her. I think of how many kids in the traditional school setting might miss the lesson and get behind on a sick day. Other days we might have a Dr's. Appointment and we can have school earlier or later and not miss out on anything.
With OHVA the curricullum is great
The K12 curricullum is what really sold us on OHVA. It is sequential, easy to follow, uses technology, and caters to the student. Her K History is so fun, she has learned the names and locations of all the continents and has learned a lot about different countries, customs, and geography. Many of my friends who have children enrolled in traditional school are really impressed with her knowledge of the world and general history and some friends have even looked into enrolling their own children in OHVA. Today we were talking about Antartica and made icebergs out of ice blocks and we discussed the animal life that has the ability to live in such a cold climate.
With OHVA Addie gets one on one attention from her teacher who can focus on the needs of each child as an individual
I don't know about any of you but I remember growing up and a significant portion of any school day is spent on classroom management. That means, seperating students, forming lines, dealing out punishment or rewards, walking to different areas of the school, and sometimes just having downtime while the teacher will try to address individual needs. If you are a quiet student who is generally behaving and doing what you should there are many days where you may never talk to the teacher one on one at all. Addie talks to her teacher and gets one on one instruction from her. She also gets daily emails with instruction and updates. We also can call or email her at any time with any needs we have.
Parents who choose OHVA are involved and care about their childs success in academics
My husband will testify and so will many educators, that an involved parent can do wonders for a child and an uninvolved parent can be an impossible hurdle to that childs learning. I believe parents who elect to enroll their kids in OHVA are parents who truly want to be involved in their childs learning and are taking a proactive role in that.
Many parents feel they don't have the abilities or skills to teach their children themselves and so throw up their hands and enroll them in the public school even if that public school is failing or the local school is not what they personally believe is best for their child. E schools and OHVA specifically are the answer for many parents who don't know where to turn or are looking for a great educational option for their child.
I encourage you to treat my child, Addie, the same as the other public school students in Ohio and not take away an educational option that we value and is working for us and many families in Ohio. Thank you.