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Local school districts improve rankings during McDavis presidency

Megan Henry / Asst. News Editor

Emily Wolfe had her first experience teaching in a classroom at The Plains Elementary during her junior year at Ohio University. Now she in her first year of graduate school at OU, and she is back teaching at The Plains.

The Patton College of Education’s curriculum requires all students to work alongside teachers in area school districts, Marcy Keifer Kennedy, director of the OU’s Center for Professional Development School Partnerships, said.

"It really helped me personally, I was more confident about wanting to be a teacher because a lot of college students that first go in, they might not know what they want to do, and they're trying to decide,” Wolfe said.

She teaches math, science and social studies to first graders at The Plains. She taught at Morrison-Gordon Elementary her senior year.

OU President Roderick McDavis was the dean of two colleges of education, a professor of education and counselor education and a vice president for academic affairs before coming back to work at his alma mater.  

He pledged he would improve local schools during his presidency.

“If our work is education, then that work must be applied to actively improving the quality of public schools throughout southeast Ohio,” McDavis said in his inaugural address in 2004. “

“We must never forget that a better educated populace leads to a better workforce for tomorrow’s jobs.” President Roderick McDavis

During McDavis’ time at OU, Athens City Schools have fluctuated with student test results, according to the performance index annually distributed by the Ohio Department of Education. The performance index score was 90.7 out of 120 during the 2004-05 academic year, and the score was 86.6 during the 2015-16 academic year.

The Center for Professional Development School Partnerships — which has been around for the last 30 years — partners with local schools including Alexander Local Schools, Athens City Schools and Federal Hocking Schools among others, Kennedy said.

The main mission of the Center is to impact students in preschool through 12th grade positively, and the center has been appreciative of the support McDavis gave during his presidency, Kennedy said.

“From what I've seen, candidates really feel as if they are educating the children of that building,” Kennedy said. “They're not just stopping in for a couple hours to teach a lesson. … They’re part of those environments, they're part of those children's lives.”  

Liz Hoisington teaches English and Language Arts to first graders at The Plains and said she thinks the partnership is fantastic. She works with Wolfe to teach first grade.

"We get strong candidates ... and our faculty all work really close together and we feel very heard by the university,” Hoisington said.

She said the teachers are included in the planning meetings.

“I see it as a true partnership where we are working with the university, but the university is always working with us,” Hoisington said.

Development by: Taylor Johnston / For The Post

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The McDavis Issue

OU President Roderick McDavis is leaving February 17. The Post looks back at his time as Ohio's president. Click this box to read the rest of the stories from this issue.