ST. PARIS – On Wednesday, Oct. 11, Deputy Secretary Dennis Bego and Special Advisor on Rural Outreach Michael Chamberlain will tour the Graham Local schools on a fact-finding mission about rural school innovations and challenges. The delegates will meet with students, staff and community stakeholders to tour Graham and learn more about Career Gears and Graham’s STEAM efforts K-12.
As part of Graham2020’s community outreach goal, Superintendent Kirk Koennecke has advocated for funding assistance, grant reform and flexibility, and a renewed focus on attention to the needs of small and rural districts. The latest efforts have led to attention from both the Ohio Department of Education and the federal government. The district’s staff has focused on 4 action steps as part of their community outreach goal:
1. Establishing a strong community presence
2. Assessing the district’s strengths and opportunities for improvement with outside partnerships
3. Identifying critical issues related to the implementation of the new strategic plan through funding assistance from outside sources
4. Creating a sustainable network of partners to assist in the work of bettering Graham Local Schools
Both Dennis Bego and Michael Chamberlain will be taking part in the upcoming Nation Rural Forum at Ohio State October 12-14, where several of Graham’s leaders have been invited to present on topics including Career Gears and Outdoor Education.
Koennecke states that “We are seeing unprecedented technological and workforce changes in the world and we must educate and prepare our students for what awaits them beyond their Graham experience. That means that we need the federal government to balance what our students need to become Future Ready with their institutional interests. We can’t become competitive overnight without help.”
The guests will see elements of Graham’s programming including its model classroom, outdoor STEM education, and career pathways. They will hear from area partners including the Chamber, CEP, and area agencies.
“We must find new ways to fund flexible innovation in rural schools beyond our modest budget. That reflects the partnership and dialogue that we must have with all stakeholders, including our friends in Washington,” Koennecke said.
Submitted by the Graham Local School District.