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Bluffton staff goes viral
[October 13, 2012]

Bluffton staff goes viral

BLUFFTON, Oct 14, 2012 (The Lima News - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- In a bit of a twist, it is time for the adults to be hip -- sort of.

A group of Bluffton teachers and administrators have gone viral with their own music video on Youtube. And even their students are checking it out.

"Anytime their teachers do something which ties in with popular culture, they are surprised we know about it," said high school English teacher Jamie Erford. "They either laugh or say 'this is lame.'" The video was meant as a way to get staff excited about a new educational model, or best practice, the school has adopted. It was rolled out during this year's opening staff meeting but now it is making its way around to other schools in the state.

A team of staff was trained in Formative Instructional Practices this past summer, and that team is training the rest of the staff. The model is just referred to as "FIP" in the video that has some fun with the lyrics of Carly Rae Jepsen's "Call Me Maybe." "It's hard to teach right when things keep changing. But this just makes sense, so FIP me baby," are the Bluffton lyrics.

Erford wrote "FIP Me Baby," with fellow English teacher Ashley Blair. Erford also sings on the video, produced by Ray Raeburn, husband of a Bluffton teacher.

"The song was very popular at the time, so we pulled up the lyrics and worked with that," Erford said, admitting that it may be tough for next year's opening staff meeting to top this one. "I think everyone had a great time putting it together." The video, which includes teachers, principals and even Superintendent Greg Denecker, gives staff a chance to show off some dance moves and finds them on a school bus and on the school playground swinging and going down a slide. A few pupils also make their way into the video.

'We were able to be excited about this and be able to have fun with it," Denecker said, adding that it also lets students see their teachers and principals in a different light.

The song speaks to the school "finding a way" as the "feds" and state say state schools aren't doing well.

"Before FIP came into my life, I missed it so bad," is another lyric.

The educational model comes as a result of Bluffton being a federal Race to the Top school. Now, Race to the Top and Formative Instructional Practices leaders are using it around the state to build awareness. The Ohio Department of Education is also getting it out.

"The more it spreads, the more surprised I am," Erford said. "People think it is fun, and it gets people to ask questions. People are talking about it more." While the video was fun to do and is getting attention, school officials are just as excited about the new model, which deals with deconstructing state standards, developing learning objectives and assessing students throughout the school year.

"The end goal is to develop a professional learning community where teachers are helping one another, looking at assessments together, and looking at standards together to make sure what they are teaching is getting to our students effectively, and that they are able to retain that knowledge from one year to the next," Denecker said.

See the video at

___ (c)2012 The Lima News (Lima, Ohio) Visit The Lima News (Lima, Ohio) at Distributed by MCT Information Services

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