A Letter from Chad Wyen, Superintendent, Mad River Local Schools

November 2, 2017


The Mad River School District, located in Riverside, Ohio, lies within feet of arguably one of the largest, most diverse, and organizationally complex Bases in the Air Force - Wright Patterson Air Force Base (WPAFB). Spanning over five decades, the District has had a unique relationship with the Base and the Federal Government.

Recently, I had the opportunity to meet with the 88th Air Base Wing Commander, Col. McDonald, and key staff at the WPAFB 2017 Superintendent Showcase. The meeting focused on WPAFB's missions along with the partnerships the Base has established with local public school districts. In Mad River, we are fortunate that WPAFB is in our "backyard" and we can capitalize on the opportunities the Base provides for our staff and students.

Staff and students in the district can participate in a multitude of programs aimed at educating, entertaining and guiding our students into 21st-century learning through the Air Force Research Lab (AFRL) educational outreach programs. The most impactful program is STARBASE and STARBASE 2.0. Fourteen years ago, during the school year 2004-2005, Mad River Local Schools was the very first school district to enter the door of STARBASE Wright-Patt.  Eight years ago, Spinning Hills Middle School was one of the trial schools for STARBASE 2.0. Since then, the relationship we have built with DoD STARBASE has offered our students STEM-based educational experiences and opportunities that align with our district mission as we identify and deploy strategies to provide students a platform to develop 21st-century skills. To give perspective of the impact, over 3,000 students have participated in DoD STARBASE, and over 270 students have participated in STARBASE 2.0 since the partnership began.

STARBASE Wright-Patt has also been a key partner in assisting two of our school buildings earning the coveted Ohio Department of Education STEM school designation, which further emphasizes the impact of the relationship between STARBASE and Mad River Local Schools. Our schools have embedded the strategies and knowledge gained from STARBASE to deploy six new Project Lead the Way courses offered in grades 5-8 to introduce and encourage Mad River students to go into STEM-related fields while connecting college and career readiness into our programming.

Wright Patterson Air Force Base and the military community are much bigger than simply being the largest single-site employer in the state of Ohio. Wright Patterson is a community partner and resource that directly influences our students in a positive way evidenced by our partnership with programs such as STARBASE. I would encourage Congress to continue to support the DoD STARBASE programming. I have authentically experienced the positive outcomes the program has on our students and community.



Chad Wye Superintendent

Mad River Local Schools

Posted September 2018