Local commission aids teachers online
To provide local educators with resources on county government, the Franklin County (Ohio) Board of Commissioners has included an education page on its web site. The page features information on county officials and agencies, as well as supplementary materials for teachers.
In 1999, Franklin County Commissioners Arlene Shoemaker, Dorothy Teater and Dewey Stokes learned from local educators that current textbooks offer little information on county government. The situation had caused some difficulty for teachers, since the required proficiency test for Franklin County fourth-graders includes questions on local government.
To help supply the needed resources, the commissioners authorized the creation of an education page as part of their web site. (All local schools currently have access to the Internet.) The page, which went online in December 1999, features information about elected county officials with job descriptions for each position and photographs of many office-holders. A survey of county agencies gives students an overview of each department’s responsibilities, with links to more detailed pages. The site also includes a brief history of Ohio county government; an organizational chart of county offices; and a table that identifies the purposes of county government and gives examples of departments that fulfill each purpose.
The web page also offers a Teacher Resource section with activities that can be downloaded, along with free software used to access the materials. Teachers can use worksheets and a quiz to direct their pupils’ viewing of the site and to check students’ work. Additionally, teachers can schedule field trips and speakers from county government online.
The project was created by the commissioners’ communication coordinator, Hollis Elam, who performed the research, layout, graphic design and site development. Content was provided by Sue Semancik, a local teacher, through Ohio State University’s “Teacher in the Workplace” program, which places educators in short-term summer projects. The site can be viewed on the commissioner’s web site at www.co.franklin.oh.us/Commissioners.