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Middletown accepted into national network of innovative schools

National digital learning group will help speed the school district’s reforms to improve, officials say.

The Butler County school system is now one of 102 districts in 33 states who are members of the League of Innovative Schools, a national coalition organized by Digital Promise, which is a nonprofit organization with the mission to accelerate innovation in education and improve the opportunity to learn for all through technology and research.

MORE: Virtual reality learning grant to boost Middletown student learning

Middletown City Schools was selected from a competitive national pool of applicants based on its leadership, evidence of results, innovative vision for learning, and commitment to collaboration, according to League of Innovative Schools.

“We at Middletown City Schools are honored to be a part of the Digital Promise League of Innovative Schools. The Middie Modernization Movement is growing a culture of innovation in Middletown Schools and we’re excited our students will benefit from this partnership. We believe every student has dreams, and Middletown’s partnership with the League of Innovative Schools will help those dreams come true,” said Marlon Styles Jr., superintendent of the city schools.

Events reflects Middletown Schools' renewed vigor that leaders hope continues through the new school year.

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Middletown now joins Lakota Local Schools — which earned an invite to the league last year — as the only two districts in Southwest Ohio to make the national organization and only five statewide to be accepted.

MORE: Lakota Schools earn invite to national digital learning group

The League of Innovative Schools, launched in late 2011, accepts new members through an open application process once per year.

Styles last year was heralded by another national organization for his leadership in digital learning during his tenure with Lakota Schools before being hired to lead Middletown in 2017.

MORE: Middletown Schools leader wins national honor from digital learning group

“As we expand our efforts to identify, build, and scale the innovative work of our League districts, I am excited to welcome a new cohort of districts who deepen the diversity, populations, and contexts of the network and move us further in advancing equity and excellence for every learner,” said Kimberly Smith, executive director of the League of Innovative Schools.

Middletown scored an overall grade of D on last week’s release by the Ohio Department of Education of the state’s annual report cards on school districts. Middletown was one of three Butler County districts to receive a D, joining Hamilton and New Miami Schools.

MORE: State report cards show 3 Butler County districts earned Ds

“Middletown is an urban district and we’re not only eager to share our innovative approaches to educating students, but also collaborating with other like-minded educators to help the League of Innovative Schools accomplish its goal of closing the equity gap in our country,” Styles said.

In addition to superintendents’ participation in the group, there are also opportunities for other school administrators and teachers to participate in League and Digital Promise initiatives.

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