Dublin City Schools Superintendent David Axner is one of 20 school leaders in Ohio to be drafted for the Ohio Digital Learning Task Force.

Dublin City Schools Superintendent David Axner is one of 20 school leaders in Ohio to be drafted for the Ohio Digital Learning Task Force.

Locally, superintendents from Hilliard, Olentangy, South-Western, Grandview Heights and Granville school districts also were recruited to the group that will make recommendations to the state legislature in March 2012.

“What they did was try to select superintendents throughout Ohio to give input for what will be a variety of learning opportunities for students,” Axner said. “The term being used is blended learning, and it’s a mix of online and feasible classroom spaces.”

Other superintendents involved include those leading Avon Lake, Berea, Mariemont, Perrysburg and Rocky River school districts.

“It’s a very small group, and I think we’ll be able to get a lot done because of that,” Axner said. “We’ll make recommendations to the legislature in March for changes that may be needed to be made.”

Axner said the task force would look at the amount of time students spend in school.

“I think they want us to look at the structure of the school day,” he said. “Right now that’s driven by seat time — hours in the school day, how long in the week and how many weeks in the year — and I think there will be a shift coming to give districts much more flexibility and hopefully educate students in a way that is financially better, too.”

On Sept. 15, the task force took a field trip to Midland, Pa., to visit the Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School.

According to a 2009-10 Pennsylvania State Board of Education report, the K-12 charter school has about 8,500 students.

The school’s stated mission, “helping families build their own school É out of choices, not bricks,” is for students “who have not had their needs met in a traditional educational setting,” the state board’s report stated. “PA Cyber is dedicated to providing the services and educational programs using current technology necessary for these students to receive a high school diploma, as well as to give them the opportunity to grow beyond the normal curriculum and confines of a traditional school setting.”

Axner said the school provides a total online learning experience and/or a mixture of online learning and classroom time.

“It’s a very interesting variety of what (involves) students taking 100 percent of online curriculum, students in blended (programs) with some seat and some online learning and then a performance academy for students who may be in dance, theater or music,” he said. “They’ll spend the majority of time in and out of school on (subjects they) love É and then they have a mix of classroom seat time and online learning.

“It’s interesting. They’ve been around for about seven years and have had some good success,” he said.

The placement on the digital learning task force coincides with a goal the Dublin school board had given to Axner: to look into online learning.

“It’s really ironic that these came about at the same time,” he said. “I think this is really going to help me as the leader of this district. I’ll have some wonderful opportunities to look at other schools in other states.”

The group is scheduled to meet again Oct. 5, Axner said.