Pam Dudding Contributing writer
At the October School Board meeting, discussion included the new learning curves, not only for the students but for the teachers as well.
“Teachers are working hard to meet the needs of their students as they are getting use to the program Canvas,” Samuel Foster shared. “There is a learning curve, and it requires a lot of work.”
Samuel Foster reported on the updated information on students’ instruction.
“The past nine weeks have been kind of crazy,” he said. “When we started the year, we had 200 students registered for Virtual Learning, however since, 34 students returned to traditional learning. Currently there are 166 students in Virtual Learning.”
He also shared that they have addressed any gaps in learning that any student may have, based on the closure in March.
“We have recently purchased an assessment program which include Star Reading and Star Math,” Foster added. “This assists to identify which students need intensive remediation or are in the bubble or are ok. That is a benchmark and based on that data and from the classroom IXO learning, we can target individual needs for our students. Any students who would need additional assistance, will be done in small groups in accordance with the grade levels.”
Foster noted that they are in the process of reviewing that data to see if any adjustments are needed to meet their students’ individual needs.
“Each of these students are assigned a special education teacher that is called their case manager,” he explained. “The case managers are only allowed a specific number of students based on the students needs. These are determined by a point system. Some disabilities require more assistance therefore the case manager load is limited.”
He reported that the school case managers are at their limits for their number of students, as the school recently received more students who have more intensive needs.
“At the elementary level, we are creating a new classroom for students in need of intensive services, which is similar to the program started in the High School by Elaina Wolfe-Carper,” Foster said.
New hires were voted on to fill this need.
Foster also reported that technology was going well as they fixed issues with students connecting remotely. He added that they ordered more MiFi’s for parents to connect more efficiently.
Foster noted that they are reaching out to the students in Virtual Learning which is based on the final completed work. “Many came back to traditional learning after they seen the first set of grades,” he added.
Jeanette Warwick informed the Board of the recent competitive grant from the CAREs Act, awarded to the School for $25,773.26. It is to be spent in these specific areas: $4200 on SPED services and supports, $5300 on technology, 10,600 in cleaning and sanitizing and $5600 facility upgrades which includes the plexiglass installations. She noted the glass has been backordered.
Susan Crenshaw informed the Board that The Roanoke Valley Regional Program has been terminated by a state mandate. “The larger regional programs were not using the funding to the intent it was supposed to be used,” she said. “The counties included: Botetourt, Salem, Craig, Roanoke City and Franklin who each paid into this program. However, it did fund our special needs classrooms and all the equipment and training.”
Warwick shared there were memos which were sent to them including closings for snow days, considering all students now have devices.
She noted that, “The school division also has to consider other criteria which is: having power in the entire division, road conditions impacting parents ability for child care, providing support services for students with disabilities and having to maintain school meal services if you declare a snow day a learning day.”
Therefore, each snow day will be handled individually as Foster added there are 23 banked days of instruction.
October 27 was changed from a teachers work day to a school day. Warwick proposed, in appreciation of everyone’s hard work, to change Monday, November 2 and Tuesday, November 3 holidays for the employees.
In previous years, they schedule parent/teacher conferences on November 3, but cannot do that this year.
Since the school is a voting station, Warwick shared that the voting team had already contracted ServPro to clean before and after election, thoroughly sanitizing the cafeteria.
The next School Board meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, November 10 at 5:30 p.m. in the High School Auditorium. Citizens are encouraged to attend.