ADAMS TOWNSHIP — In an upcoming round of CARES Act (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act) funding, Clinton-Massie will receive $604,426 and school officials say they will use a portion to address the learning loss experienced by some students while they were away from in-person instruction.
The funds can be spent through September 2023, reported Clinton-Massie Treasurer Carrie Bir at this week’s school board meeting.
Clinton-Massie Superintendent Matt Baker stated, “We recognize without question there is going to be learning loss.”
Some of the students who have learned remotely since mid-March 2020 and won’t return to the brick-and-mortar classroom until fall 2021 are considered most at-risk to a slide in learning. But other students who have been all-virtual are expected to be right on track, Baker said.
The first thing to do is gather hard data on which students are adversely impacted. Baker said for that process, they will probably focus on students’ reading and math scores.
There is still time to decide which strategies to use to recover the lost ground, said Baker, adding that CM educators’ response could take the form of a designated staffer and/or a program. A couple concrete examples of what could be done are to reinstate “Falcon Time” to allow time for some intervention and, at the elementary level, to have pull-out groups.
“Luckily, we’ll have the financial backing [CARES funds] if we feel there’s a product or a person that would help alleviate that learning loss,” the superintendent said.
One piece of evidence that there has been, for some students, a slow-down in their learning was brought up by Clinton-Massie Elementary School Principal Jen Updike.
The fall results from the third-grade reading guarantee assessment are known, she said, and “it was not good.” She thinks the data showed about 27 percent proficiency, when usually at Clinton-Massie they have about 42 percent proficiency in the fall.
On the upside, Updike thinks the elementary staff will be more efficient in its reading instruction after having been trained in the science of how the brain learns to read. In fact, teachers have an instructional coach to help them correctly drive this reading instruction, she said.
On another matter, if the governor’s proposed budget is adopted the school district will continue to receive Student Wellness and Success funding, which is the money Clinton-Massie uses to employ a mental health therapist, a middle school guidance counselor, and an elementary school nurse. It would mean those positions can continue, said Bir.
In Updike’s written report to the board, she stated the mental health support has been huge for the elementary.
“Many of our office referrals stem from mental health needs. While I pride myself in this arena I can only be a counselor to so many students while attending to all my other job duties,” she wrote.
Currently, the CM district receives $189,000 in Student Wellness and Success funds. The governor’s proposed budget estimates Clinton-Massie would get $450,000 for fiscal year (FY) 2022, and $532,000 for FY 2023, the treasurer reported.
One thing those extra dollars can go to is an on-campus health center — something district officials started talking about some 18 months ago. Board member and Buildings & Grounds & Transportation Committee Chair Andy Avery said they are looking at different locations for a school-based health center.
He said if it is done right, students could, for example, get a strep test there, and receive shots that the school is not allowed to administer.
At the middle school next year, new elective classes will be offered. They include: arts and crafts, video tech, jazz band, drumline, cultural music, team sports, fitness, ceramics, cooking, and robotics. The classes will be quarterly which allows students to have more choices.
“We believe our building is a building where students should be exposed to as many things as possible in order for them to find their gifts and strengths. Our Unified Arts team has worked hard to develop classes that will fill that need,” stated the written report from the middle school to the board.
Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768.