The Ohio state superintendent toured The Dome and Springfield High School on Tuesday and said the local school district is doing a good job giving students an opportunity to learn in a unique environment.
“Wonderful things are happening here,” State Superintendent Paolo DeMaria said of The Dome. “We just spent some time talking to kids and you can tell they are excited and are engaged and they feel like it is making a difference.”
DeMaria, the leader of the Ohio Department of Education, came to Springfield because of a conversation between Springfield City Superintendent Bob Hill and State School Board President Tess Elshoff at a meeting in Columbus.
Elshoff also attended the tours.
“It’s absolutely phenomenal,” Elshoff said. “It is very inspiring. What this offers to the student and the community is special.”
The tour was to showcase the type of education local students get at Springfield City School District to the state superintendent, Hill said. Students get a good education at Springfield, he said, despite the district’s low test scores.
“We have the support of the state school board and the state superintendent,” Hill said. “Having them here to observe some of the great things that we are doing on a daily bases is very much appreciated. It’s not all about tests. We have excellent teachers, administrators and staff that are truly enabling us to make a difference.”
Places like The Dome are popping up throughout the state, DeMaria said. The Dome has undergone several renovations in the past two years and now offers students many different learning opportunities.
The Career ConnectED is a space at The Dome where Springfield students can be mentored in various career and educational fields, including computer programming, electronics, digital music production, woodworking, welding, industrial design, bike repair, fashion design and more.
Eleventh grade student Tyreick Myrick said he comes to Career ConnectED every day after school.
“This is way better than reading out of a book,” he said. “You can learn way more here and plus you connect with the people here and it’s better. I really appreciate (DeMaria) coming down here and seeing all the work that everyone has put into it.”
Many of the opportunities for Springfield students are made possible by district money and money from Straight A grants from the Ohio Department of Education, Marshall said. DeMaria talked with some of the mentors and directors at Career ConnectED to learn more about how the district is using these tools to promote education.
Places like The Dome offer students a place to learn important skills they can use in college or in a career, DeMaria said. He said skills learned at Career ConnectED can translate into better state test scores.
“The tests are focused on academic skills, English, math, science and so forth,” DeMaria said. “But there are others skills that are important and essential for college and careers and those kinds of skills are being nurtured here. The interesting thing is that those skills help students be better students and so they are likely bring those skills to their regular classes.”
DeMaria also briefly visited Springfield High School on Tuesday and learned more about what structural changes could be made at the high school soon. He said he appreciates the district looking to make education better for its students.
“People recognize that there are a number of different models,” he said. “What I support are districts that pay attention, engage their students, teachers and students and then begin to make change. We are seeing it across the state and it is great.”
The Springfield News-Sun was the only media there Tuesday morning when State Superintendent Paolo DeMaria toured Springfield City Schools.
By the Numbers
7,772: Students enrolled in Springfield City Schools
1,612: Students enrolled at Springfield High School
1,100: The number of unique students served by Career ConnectED so far this year.