Community and human service agency leaders gathered this morning in Columbus to discuss student mobility in Ohio’s schools (when students transfer schools for reasons other than customary promotion). Have A Heart Ohio (HAHO), a nonpartisan network of over 100 social service agencies and organizations, invited Aaron Churchill to present the results of Fordham’s groundbreaking Student Nomads: Mobility in Ohio’s Schools report and the Ohio Federation of Teachers (OFT) president Melissa Cropper provided her perspective on the findings. Jon Honeck, the Edward D. and Dorothy E.  Lynde Fellow at the Center for Community Solutions and Co-Chair of HAHO, organized the meeting and introduced the discussion as “an opportunity for education and human services to have more dialogue.”

Aaron opened the meeting by giving a PowerPoint presentation (downloadable copy available here: Mobility Presentation 8.9.13.ppton the student mobility study. The research, which used Ohio Department of Education data from October 2009 to May 2011, was conducted by Community Research Partners and received funding support from the OFT. Aaron presented the research findings concerning the magnitude of mobility, the patterns of mobility, and the impact of mobility on student achievement. He concluded the presentation with a few implications of the study for policy and practice. These included policies that encourage summer moves, rather than within school-year moves (if a student must move), and policies that encourage inter-district open enrollment, especially in suburban school districts, many of which do not presently have open enrollment.

Aaron Churchill describes the magnitude of student mobility in Ohio.

 The OFT’s Melissa Cropper provided an educator’s perspective on the challenge that student mobility poses for schools and communities. “There is a correlation between what we offer in our schools and student stability” she said, citing that the basic needs of students must be met to improve achievement and mitigate the adverse effects of repeated mobility throughout a student’s schooling. Cropper discussed at length Cincinnati Public Schools’ efforts to turnaround low-performing schools (learn about Oyler High School), which have embraced youth service providers as a key component of a successful educational experience for needy—and often mobile—students. 

 “Hopefully we’ve had an impact in raising the issue [of student mobility] and its effects,” Aaron concluded after the group’s lengthy conversation on the importance of understanding student mobility, for both school leaders and for child service providers. 


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