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Garfield Academy using unique competition to prepare for state testing

CANTON — To prepare for the Ohio Achievement Assessments in late April, students at Garfield Academy competed in the Constructed Response Marathon.

The Ohio Achievement Assessments (OAA) are state tests for students in third through eighth grades and measure students progress toward the attainment of standards.

Garfield Academy, along with the other Academy schools in Ohio, challenged their students to practice short answer and extended response questions in preparation for the OAAs. According to Jessica Horner, EMIS/Enrollment Coordinator at Garfield Academy, said while each of the Academies did their own OAA reviews, the Constructed Response Marathon was an idea inspired by the school’s sponsor, the Buckeye Community Hope Foundation.

“Each student submitted written responses to teacher-created, grade-level appropriate prompts similar to those they might see on the OAA,” she said. “Teachers graded each response daily and picked the best extended response from their classrooms for the week. Champions each received $10 gift cards for their efforts and were recognized with a group picture to be displayed in the main office.”
Horner said the competition took place the week of April 1 and 15 winners were selected on April 5.

“Each year at the Academy we spend several weeks leading up to the OAAs reviewing content with the students and having them analyze question formatting in preparation of the big day,” she said. “Studies have shown that it is not necessarily the content that trips up students, but how the questions are worded and the use of those indicator verbs that confuse students in their answers. The Constructed Response Marathon was a new way of approaching review this year, really practicing vocabulary and response techniques. Seeing an overall improvement across each grade level after such an in depth competition not only makes us proud of the accomplishments our students have made this year, but hopeful their efforts will be rewarded with high marks on the OAAs.”

The Academies are tuition-free community schools that provide a safe, disciplined and nurturing learning environment. The Academies are a haven for parents caught between frustration with traditional public schools and the expense of private schools.

For more information, visit

If you’re interested in learning more about the school and would like to interview Maggie Ford, chief academic officer at White Hat Management, call 330-535-6868 or email

About the Academies:
Garfield Academy
1379 Garfield Ave. S.W.
Canton, OH 44706

The Academies are tuition-free community schools in Ohio providing a safe, disciplined and nurturing learning environment for students in kindergarten through eighth grades. Currently, there are 14 academies throughout Ohio — in Akron, Canton, Cincinnati, Cleveland and Youngstown, with a new school opening in Lakewood in 2013. The Academies are a haven for parents caught between frustration with traditional public schools and the expense of private schools. When a child comes to The Academies, he or she enters a safe, clean, positive and caring environment built on respect. The Academies are committed to helping parents and children overcome obstacles so students can reach their full academic potential. For more information about The Academies, visit

About White Hat Management
White Hat Management contracts and assists nonprofit corporations that hold charters or see a need for a charter school in their community. White Hat Management operates 33 schools in three states under the auspices of two separate educational ventures. The Academies are tuition-free and are open to students in grades K-8 throughout the state of Ohio. Life Skills Centers are alternative education charter schools serving students between the ages of 16 and 21 in Ohio, Colorado and Arizona.

121 S. Main St.
Suite 200
Akron, OH 44308