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History of Heartland

Making Good Schools Better

"The goal of the Heartland project is to shift the focus from school to education and shift the responsibility from school  to community."

In the fall of 1991, community members in Orrville, Ohio, formed a coalition that began to explore ways to leverage the talent and resources of the community to improve education.

The Heartland Steering Committee is comprised of volunteers representing many areas of the community including parents, educators, business leaders, social service representatives, city government and clergy. The Heartland Steering Committee guides subcommittees on various projects. These committees focus on specific issues generated by an annual planning process.

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All Heartland efforts are based on fundamental principles about the philosophy of education, which serve as the foundation for all Heartland activities. They are our Basic Beliefs  called “The Five C’s”:

  • Community: successful schools must make their walls transparent. They must become fully integrated into their communities and use the rich resource volunteer talent.

  • Connecting Learning to Life: Clear connections must be made between formal learning and the practical, relevant application of the learning in the world beyond the classroom.

  • Critical Thinking: Learning problem-solving skills, knowing how to learn, and developing critical thinking talents are vital to meeting world-class education standards and preparing students for participation in competitive work for and inlifelong experiences. 

  • Character Development: Successful learning puts high priority on communicating the ethical core upon which the community rests and developing each student's personal sense of ethics. 

  • Continuous Improvement: Each education-community system must constantly upgrade its own capabilities through teacher training and steady improvement against world-class standards.

The Heartland Consortium

Orrville community organizations and members were not alone in their efforts. Several other organizations formed what is called the "Consortium." Each consortium member brings unique expertise, assisting Heartland on many projects. Consortium members include:

The key to accomplishing Heartland's goals is leveraging our community resources and encouraging collaboration between community organizations.

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