NEW VIENNA — East Clinton has created two positions as part of its plan of action to help make up for students’ COVID-19 learning loss.
Those new positions are a full-time elementary literacy coach for the district’s elementary grades, and a full-time instructional coach for the middle and high school levels.
The primary role of the elementary literacy coach will be to provide instructional support and coaching for English Language Arts teachers at both the New Vienna Elementary and Sabina Elementary buildings.
“Naturally, my mind goes — especially at the younger levels — to the reading. We want to make sure that we do everything we can do to catch up our kindergartners and first-graders who have missed their first or second year of school. That’s a huge loss. Certainly we’ll look at the [assessment] data, but I firmly believe that will be an area where we will want to stress extremely hard,” EC Superintendent Eric Magee said.
He added he envisions the two instructional coach positions as being filled by people who will be in the classrooms, have one-on-one meetings with teachers and help them develop plans for their classrooms, and also be able to step in and model instructional strategies on how to do certain things.
The instructional coaches will be there to assist teachers, to lend an ear for teachers to bend, and to be someone teachers can gain ideas from, in the effort to reclaim what was lost academically during the pandemic disruptions.
Magee expects having instructional coaches who can work one-on-one with teachers and help them develop individualized plans for students, will be a benefit.
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine has mentioned a number of specific options to deal with learning loss, said Magee. They have included extending the school year, extending the school day, offering summer school, tutoring, and summer reading programs.
Because of union contracts with school employees, some of those options are not options, the superintendent said at Tuesday’s school board meeting.
Moreover, because of the pending construction and renovation projects at East Clinton — where the upcoming summer has been set aside for elementary schools renovations — extending the school year really isn’t an option the district is able to consider, he said.
However, they are considering tutoring and summer reading programs and those type of things that they would be able to do.
Magee remarked it’s kind of hard to put together a specific plan without understanding what the academic losses truly consist of. District educators will be looking at results from required standardized tests and regular testing, and try to pin-point as much as possible where the losses are and then develop a plan of action around that, he added.
As part of the effects of the pandemic, besides academic loss, there have been lots of struggles that families and households have had to deal with, the superintendent continued.
Accordingly, he recommended and the school board approved creating the position of a middle and high school social worker.
In making a case for the position, Magee noted a social worker was added a few years ago at the elementary-grades level and his understanding is that the addition has been extremely beneficial both with students behavior and family connections.
At this point the plan is for the instructional coaches to be paid from funds through federal COVID bills that have been enacted. And the social worker position at this time would be paid through state Student Wellness and Success Funds, said EC Treasurer John Stanley.
In other news from the Tuesday evening board meeting, there are no current COVID cases among EC staff or students, and furthermore, no staff or students under quarantine as a preventive measure.
From the time the pandemic started about a year ago, East Clinton had had 37 staff members test positive at some point, and 24 students test positive.
The board approved partnering with Great Oaks Career Campuses so that “Project Lead the Way” — which is an engineering pathway program — will be offered at East Clinton High School for 2021-22 and beyond. Great Oaks will pay the salary and benefits of the teaching position.
Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768.