Program Overview: College Ready Ohio
College Ready Ohio was a program designed to foster learning experiences that are engaging, relevant, and prepare Ohio's high school students to enter higher education with the depth of knowledge and necessary academic experience to be truly successful. This unmatched collaboration among K-12 school districts, higher education, and regional service providers spanned the course of six years; providing professional development, mobile learning technology, training and digital course materials to high school teachers.
“College Ready Ohio was about expanding pedagogy and creating systems within school districts that empowered teachers to be professional development leads and instructional luminaries for their local communities,” said Cory Tressler, co-author of the College Ready Ohio grant.
While the program concluded in 2020, the results of the work live in on in the educators and partner schools who participated in the program and the thousands of Ohio students whose educational journeys have benefitted from the program.
History and Goals of the Program
Today’s college students are expected to enter higher education with a skill set that allows them to immediately engage in an interactive and collaborative digital learning environment.
Unfortunately, at the time of the program’s inception, lack of computing devices, teacher understanding of how to best integrate technology in high school classrooms and robust digital learning materials limited the ability of high school students to be fully prepared.
College Ready Ohio began with the foundational belief that when students leave an Ohio high school, they should be prepared for college without remediation. Together with partners from across the state, the program sought to rethink how we prepare students for college.
College Ready Ohio received a 13.5 million grant through the Ohio Straight A Fund. This fund was launched by Ohio Governor John Kasich in 2013 and provided a share of $250 million to multiple educational entities throughout Ohio with a goal to build high speed and high impact change in school districts across the state, while reducing long-term costs.
College Ready Ohio implemented and researched the use of mobile technologies for both online and in-person teaching and learning formats for College Credit Plus. Through the program high school students have the opportunity to earn non-remedial college credit from Ohio State that will appear on both their high school and college transcripts at no cost to the student.
College Ready Ohio partnered with ten high schools across the state to provide high-quality professional development around mobile learning to two catalyst teachers per school as identified by their districts. These catalyst teachers then shared their learning with colleagues and this model enabled the program to support the learning of more than 10,000 students across the state of Ohio.
- Student achievement was defined as the top priority of the program and was achieved through teacher trainings and providing more students access to College Credit Plus options from The Ohio State University, allowing more students to graduate with college credit.
- The program enabled spending reductions for participating districts by reducing technology costs, providing professional development at no cost to catalyst teachers. Through a “train the trainer” model, these teachers then shared their learning and the digital resources they developed through the program with their other teachers in their subject area and district-level leadership.
- College Ready Ohio also provided substantial classroom resources for both participating districts and the larger community. In addition to mobile technology incorporated in participating schools, digital learning materials from faculty at The Ohio State University were be infused into high school courses and participating teachers learned how to create, organize, and deliver their own digital learning materials. Teachers shared their learning with colleagues in their school and district, further increasing teacher to access high quality, open-source digital learning materials which benefit learners of all levels and interests.
- Increased coordination, community and the efficiencies that come from shared services at scale were also a goal of the program. An ongoing professional learning community created through the grant provided both increased opportunities for learning and collaboration and opportunities to develop mutually beneficial protocols, processes and fee structures aimed at increasing student access to College Credit Plus coursework.
The College Ready Ohio grant enabled districts across the state to enact substantive changes that supported student success and college readiness. In addition to devices, the program paved the way for cross-functional partnerships across the state that continue to support this work to this day.
Every participating CRO school received two rounds of technology investment, both in the form of laptops or tablets, as well as periphery hardware and software. As a result, many schools have been able to adopt 1:1 technology programs increasing student access to toolsets and enabling instructors to fully leverage digital tools in their instruction.
School-level Change: Leadership Development and Support
Principals and district leaders also participated in the “Leadership in a Digital Age Institute” at the start of the program and received ongoing support as they shifted school and district structures to support mobile learning in their schools. This program as well as consistent communication between leaders and the CRO team built the leadership support and buy-in necessary to ensure the long-term sustainability of programs at each school.
Classroom-level Change: Instructor Education and Empowerment
Using a train-the-trainer model, CRO worked closely with catalyst teachers to adopt digital curriculum and content, reimagine how technology was used in their courses and develop the skills they would need to continue to drive change at their schools. Instructors worked collaboratively to share knowledge and develop new models for classroom engagement that supported student success. These teachers then shared their knowledge with others in their subject area or school, spreading the impact of the program to even more classrooms across the state.
Student-level Change: Engagement and Opportunity
College Ready Ohio also opened the doors for more students to take courses at Ohio State through the College Credit Plus program, resulting in more than 2 million dollars in cost savings for students and their families. CRO conducted assessments and collected data throughout the program to help schools better understand the digital skills and technology use patterns of their students to better address needs and drive student success.
College Ready Ohio was first and foremost a partnership, with each participating group bringing unique elements that bolstered the programs’ success.
Ohio State partnered with ten school districts to build the academic foundation for student success once they set foot on a college campus. Catalyst teachers identified by each school were provided with extensive training and resources through the College Ready Ohio program and brought that learning back to their districts to support increased integration of technology in the learning experience.
Participating schools included:
- Berkshire High School; Berkshire Local Schools
- Bio-Med Science Academy; Bio-Med Science Academy
- Cardinal High School; Cardinal Local Schools
- Dublin Coffman High School; Dublin City Schools
- Global Impact STEM Academy; Global Impact STEM Academy
- Innovative Learning Center; Hilliard City Schools
- Kenstone High School; Kenston Local School
- Metro High School; Metro Early College High School
- Northland High School; Columbus Public Schools
- Perkins High School; Perkins Local Schools
Ohio STEM Learning Network
The Ohio STEM Learning Network seeks to ensure Ohio students are prepared for careers in the 21st century by fostering innovative teaching and learning.
For their role in College Ready Ohio, the Ohio STEM Learning Network organized a new class of the Innovative Leaders Institute. Focusing on leadership in the digital age, this hands-on professional development guided school administrative teams on how to re-design key systems (fiscal, human, operational) to scale and sustain College Ready Ohio in their schools.
The Ohio State University
Ohio State provided opportunities for students in partner districts to earn dual enrollment credit, via College Credit Plus. Ohio State also delivered professional development for participating K-12 teachers in the area of digital pedagogy. The creation of the Innovation Center provided teachers and faculty with a space to create high-quality digital content. Finally, Ohio State conducted summative and formative evaluations over the life of the grant.
The Education Service Center (ESC) of Central Ohio
The ESC of Central Ohio accelerates the missions of school districts in Delaware, Franklin, Licking, Ross, Madison and Union counties, serving more than 200,000 school children in 28 school districts. Through direct instruction and quality professional development, the agency partnered with districts to improve education for all students, particularly those with special needs.
Battelle Education is a nonprofit subsidiary of Battelle that brings Battelle's pragmatic, problem-solving approach to challenges in education. Battelle Education manages a range of successful projects including the Ohio STEM Learning Network, Tennessee STEM Innovation Network, and the national STEMx network.
The Education Service Center of Geauga County
The Education Service Center of Geauga County provides a broad range of tailored services to meet the unique needs and priorities of their school districts. GCESC serves Berkshire, Cardinal, Chardon, Kenston, Ledgemont, Newbury and West Geauga Local Schools.
College Ready Ohio Resources
Ohio State University Resources
Program Partners and State-Wide Resources