Reynoldsburg News

Herbert Mills Elementary

New curriculum will produce a global learning school


Reynoldsburg teachers and administrators are working with representatives from the Columbus Council on World Affairs and the KnowledgeWorks Foundation to decide how to transform Herbert Mills Elementary School into a global learning school.

The school will become a second elementary "school of choice" for the district, said Jana Alig, executive director of elementary education. Summit Road STEM Elementary School opened as an elementary school of choice for students last school year.

STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Alig said parents are invited to hear about the design team's progress at a public meeting scheduled from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 18, at Herbert Mills Elementary, 6826 Retton Road.

Guest speakers will be Donna Nesbit, from the Columbus Council on World Affairs; Lisa Duty, from the Ohio Department of Education; and Dee Martindale, principal at Summit Road STEM Elementary.

"Students who attend Herbert Mills will become global problem-solvers," Alig said. "They will understand their role in global society and develop critical thinking skills that will help them solve global issues and create global systems."

She said Nesbit and Duty will discuss "What is global learning?" Martindale will address "What is inquiry-based learning?"

"We want to be able to answer parents' questions about the school, plus get parent feedback on the selection process and understand what is important to them in this process," she said.

Alig said teachers and administrators expect to continue planning the new school for the rest of this year, with a goal to open Herbert Mills as a global learning school at the beginning of next school year.

Alig said the school will have three core foundation tenets: global learning, inquiry-based learning and blended learning.

"Students will learn world languages to assist them in communicating in the global workplace," she said. "They will develop technology skills and use technology to reach out to global communities and learn how they can make a difference."

She said the school will use the STEM philosophy of inquiry-based learning, but also will incorporate global issues.

"We could use water as an example," Alig said. "Water may not be an issue in Reynoldsburg, but having access to clean water is a major issue in other parts of the world. We want students to learn about different cultures and look at issues through a global lens.

"So students will consider not only what is going on in their city, their state and the United States, but also what is going on in Ecuador and other parts of the world," she said.

She said teachers will stress "blended learning" and "blended technology."

"We will amp up learning by having students connect to the world with Skype, video conferencing, email and other technology to reach schools and students across the world," she said.

The district will work with local partners and three international companies -- Kroger, Me to We and Chase Bank, along with the Ohio State University Fisher School of Business International Programs.

She said Steve Hills, from OSU, serves on the school design team and is providing insight into international business and "how we can best develop our students to be college- and career-ready."

Other partners, besides Nesbit and Duty, are Glee Blosser from the Columbus Public Library and Anita Walker from Church of the Nazarene.

"Our design team is working hard to determine what a global learner will look like at Herbert Mills," she said.