LIMA — A paperless classroom, Civil War brigade and a community-minded student council will be among 100 innovative public school programs highlighted for educators around the state next week.
The three local programs to be recognized at Tuesday’s Ohio School Boards Association Student Achievement Fair hail from Allen East and Waynesfield-Goshen schools. The fair, scheduled for Tuesday, is held each year during the association’s capital conference.
“There are 100 booths, so 99 we can go to and get ideas to bring back to our school. Plus I think we have a lot to share with other schools,” said Allen East teacher Kelly Prichard, who advises the high school studentcouncil.
The student council is making its second trip to the achievement fair. Prichard and eight students will share the kinds of activities the 30-member student council is doing. That includes collecting Christmas gifts for children, recycling paper at school, being pen pals with second-graders, manning a school suggestion box and hosting blood drives.
The group, Prichard said, focuses on community service, student service and teacher-student relations.
“I think we are adding activities every year and they are becoming a group that truly does serve,” she said. “We try to fill the needs of our students and look around the community to try to find needs to fill there.”
Two groups of Waynesfield-Goshen High School students will be at the fair. One will do plant science experiments, showing how the experiment is done and submitted to teacher Lori Dyer without the use of any paper. This marks the third year of Dyer’s vocational agriculture science class being completely paperless.
“When they first started doing it kids did not really care for it because they had to learn a lot, go outside of their comfort zone,” she said. “Now it is just what they do in here.”
Dyer delivers content to students online and they respond and submit responses and do assignment and projects online through programs such as Google Docs. While her classroom is the only completely paperless one, others at Waynesfield-Goshen are moving in that direction.
“When kids go to college and take the next step after high school, a lot of colleges dependon online delivery of content and they need to know how to work through that system,” she said.
The Waynesfield-Goshen Civil War Brigade will also be represented at the fair. A few students from the 30-plus member group will display photos and videos of some of its many projects. Teacher Joe Foster started the group three years ago.
“I really had no idea,” Foster said of how fast the group, which started with fewer than 20, has grown. “I think word of mouth has a lot to do with it. Kids have fun with the activities we do. It is a way to make learning about history fun.”
Students attend local Civil War re-enactments and had an artillery demonstration at school last spring. They also present about the Civil War to younger pupils and in the community.
Much of what they do involves raising money for the Civil War Trust, which works to preserve battlefields around the country, and the Gettysburg Foundation. Foster said the work is not the kind you see from teenagers very often.
“I think the fair is a good opportunity for the kids to see that what they are doing is something special and unique,” he said. “They don’t always realize it.”