Lakota Schools to lead national digital learning experiments

Lakota Local Schools is now among a half-dozen districts nationwide picked to help lead all schools toward better digital learning.

Lakota was recently chosen as one of six districts across the country to lead the “Real World Learning Challenge Collaborative” through Digital Promise’s League of Innovative Schools, which the district joined last fall.

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The goal of the Challenge Collaborative is to develop practices that have been tested in member districts and validated through research to enhance the real-world student experience in secondary education.

The appointment means Lakota will have first access to shared digital experimentation in other districts and in turn will be sharing its own innovations.

“Our district leaders have already begun working on a plan that will re-imagine the secondary-student experience, including real-world learning,” said Lakota Superintendent Matt Miller.

Miller said being chosen by the national league “reiterates the importance of this work.”

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It’s the latest national honor for the increasingly digitalized school system of 16,500 students, spurred on by Miller, who was hired in part because of his wide reputation for modernizing traditional learning.

Districts participating in the Collaborative are divided into three segments: Core Districts, Knowledge Sharing Districts and Scale Up Districts.

Lakota officials said after a rigorous application process, the school system was selected as one of six Core Districts, a testament to the focus the district is putting towards improving the student experience in secondary education.

Additionally, Miller has been selected as one of two team leaders.

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The Digital Promise’s League of Innovative Schools requires an application by school districts seeking to join, has 93 members in 33 states, and Lakota is only the second school system in Ohio — and the first in Southwest Ohio — to become a member.

Lakota officials said a critical piece of this initiative is understanding the equity challenge within the district’s 22 schools and their communities and creating a school experience that will impact every student.

Lakota Executive Director of Curriculum Keith Koehne said district officials understand the importance of addressing the opportunity gap when it comes to access to digital devices for learning in school and at home.

“As educators, it is our responsibility to meet students where they are, encourage them and help them move beyond what they think is possible. Expanded Advanced Placement opportunities and access to those classes has been successful, but only addresses traditional academic learning,” said Koehne.

“Providing an engaging and enriching student experience for all is truly at the heart of this work,” he said.

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