Austin’s Journey: A Path to Rural Transformation in Ohio

  • Publication

Meet “Austin”. Austin lives in rural Ohio. His mom is a stay-at-home mom, and his dad works for the local heating and cooling company. Both parents are proud, hardworking individuals, but struggle to make ends meet. Austin has always been a smart kid. Since kindergarten, he has done well in school and scored high on state assessments. He also excels in sports, especially track. Austin’s parents want him to succeed, but they don’t understand how to navigate ACT/SAT tests, FAFSA, or the college application process. They are too proud to admit they don’t know, and don’t want to ask for help.

AustinsJourneyCoverFortunately, through the Ohio Appalachian Collaborative (OAC) Straight A work, Austin was exposed to career pathways early in his school career, and took dual enrollment courses while still in high school. He graduated high school with 33 semester hours of college work that transferred to an excellent university. The work of the OAC Straight A project saved Austin and his family from the burden of college debt, and provided Austin the opportunity to get a jump-start on his college education and earn a degree that will help him break the cycle of poverty.

The OAC’s Straight A Personalized Learning Pathways, also known as Career Pathways, integrate rigorous academic instruction with curriculum and real-life work experience, and serve as roadmaps for its students, providing them with direction on how to get to where they want to go. Pathways make it easier for students to connect their interests and strengths from middle/high school to college and/or career, and ensure they acquire the knowledge and skills needed to be successful in life.

As a result of the collaboration and hard work of educators in the OAC Straight A project, the road through Ohio’s rural education system is now a more robust and state-of-the-art. The OAC is “flipping the script” for students in the Appalachian region and closing the gap for students who have traditionally not had the same hopes as their counterparts in larger cities and suburban neighborhoods. Now, OAC students have a new world ahead of them, and will become shining examples of success...just like Austin. 

Read Austin’s Journey: A Path to Rural Transformation in Ohio to discover how OAC districts have collaborated to enable students in the region to build their own successful pathways to their futures.

Published: August 2016