Lakota Schools has applied for and joined the Digital Promise League of Innovative Schools, district officials announced Thursday. Lakota is the only school system in Southwest Ohio to become a member of the national organization and is one of only two in the state to be part of the group. The membership will open resources from across the country for advancing Lakota’s expansion of digital learning among its 16,500 students. MICHAEL D. CLARK/STAFF

Lakota digital learning efforts grow with membership in national group

Butler County’s largest school system is now part of the Digital Promise League of Innovative Schools for its recent efforts in expanding high-tech learning among its 22 schools and 16,500 students.

STORY & VIDEO: New Lakota leader pushes digital outreach

The district recently added Superintendent Matt Miller to its top leadership, and in the few months since starting Aug. 1, Miller has rapidly expanded Lakota’s digital footprint.

He pushed the creation of the district’s first Twitter account, started conducting regular online public chats with top district officials, and is pushing sweeping innovation in classrooms.

League of Innovative Schools officials described themselves as a non-profit “national network of forward-thinking K-12 school district superintendents who together solve the challenges facing our schools through innovation and technology.”

The league, which requires an application by school districts seeking to join, has 93 members in 33 states and Lakota is only the second school system in Ohio — and the first in Southwest Ohio — to become a member.

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According to Lakota officials, the district “was selected from a competitive national pool of applicants based on its leadership, evidence of results, innovative vision for learning, and commitment to collaboration.”

Joining the national league is both an honor and an additional resource in modernizing Lakota classroom learning, said Miller.

“We are very excited to join this prestigious organization and collaborate with like-minded districts across the country. The League of Innovative Schools fosters relationships among forward thinking educators, encouraging innovation in the classroom to best meet the needs of students,” said Miller in a statement announcing the membership.

“It’s an exciting time to be a part of Lakota Schools — for the students, staff and the community — as we strive to engage our kids every day through innovative teaching methods and the use of educational technology,” he said.

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The advantages for Lakota students include shared digital learning resources from other members across the country.

“Being a member of the League of Innovative schools puts Lakota on a national stage — we are being recognized as a leader in innovative teaching. Other benefits include the opportunity for collaboration between like-minded, forward-thinking leaders in education and being part of working groups throughout the year,” Miller told the Journal-News.

“Great ideas come from collaboration. Our teachers are a testament to that. Being a member of the League of Innovative Schools allows us to tap into other districts throughout the country that are thinking outside the box – finding innovative ways to best teach our children,” he said.

Miller, whose former district Mentor Schools in northern Ohio is the other member in the state, was a nationally recognized advocated for digital learning, which attracted the Lakota school board into hiring him.

Lakota Board of Education Vice President Todd Parnell described the joining national organization as “a big deal.”

“It shows just how far Lakota has come,” said Parnell.

EDUCATION NEWS: Click here to follow Michael D. Clark’s Facebook page for the latest in local, national school news and education trends

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