- “If we’re paying the bill, you better live here” is the mantra under which Canton City Schools is currently going full-bloodhound—knocking on doors, pestering landlords, and even questioning neighbors—to find out if families for whom they’ve been paying to provide services actually live in the district. No word on how much the effort costs, but they are hoping to “save thousands” by sniffing out the scofflaws. (Canton Repository, 3/30/21) Speaking of money, Orange City Schools (those guys again?) is spending nearly $25,000 on a live, in-person graduation ceremony this year. And it’s not even pandemic requirements that are driving the cost. Apparently, these things just cost that much. (We learn here that last year’s virtual graduation cost nearly $18K!) On the upside, the district has realized so much savings by operating a remote-learning model for the last 12 months that they have plenty of leftover money in their general fund to cover the cost of their pricey party. (Cleveland.com, 4/1/21)
- Speaking of remote learning, one of the higher-profile holdouts—Walnut Hills High School in Cincinnati—finally returned to some hybrid remote/in-person learning this week. For those not comfortable returning: a “concurrent learning” pilot which sounds like teachers providing the same instruction synchronously to a live classroom and live virtual students simultaneously. (Spectrum News 1, 3/31/21)
Fool’s DayFirst has come and gone and whichever schools are going to be answering the governor’s “polite request” and providing him with a description of their coronavirus remediation plans have presumably done so. Here are a few examples that have made headlines in the local media: Columbus City Schools is planning a summer school that they won’t call by that name, preferring instead “summer experience”. They say it’s because the programs are so much more than just academics; I fear from the descriptions that it’s because the programs are largely camp-like and non-academic. (ABC6 News, Columbus, 4/1/21) Not mincing words is the curriculum director from Northwest Local Schools near Cincinnati. “We definitely see learning loss, both with our remote and in-person students, from last spring,” she said, emphasizing several times that even the return to an in-person learning model has yet to turn the tide. Thus, the district’s summer plans are robust, including an eight-week, immersive math and reading program (also termed an “experience”) for those most in need. “Our schools are going to be open and running full speed all summer long,” she said. “Which I think is a great thing and we love having our kids here.” (WCPO-TV, Cincinnati, 3/31/21) In this piece, we get more details from the superintendent of Warrensville Heights City Schools (minus the previous pointless anti-school choice flex). In fact, he tells the reporter here that “testing revealed” many students are four months behind academically. Thus the district is extending this school year by 17 days and is starting “intervention groups” across the board next week. Additionally, we learn that Parma City Schools will hold a “2021 Summer Academy of Learning and Enrichment” (straight talking, right?) and that Elyria City Schools will hold two weeks of summer school specifically for high school students who have failed a class. (Fox8 News, Cleveland, 3/31/21) Dayton area schools seem to be trying to avoid doing summer remediation work. For example, Kettering City Schools’ elected board recently approved paid hours for 80 elementary school teachers to work after school with students who need extra help from March 22 through the end of the school year (and perhaps a couple weeks beyond). One private school, none of whom were “invited” by the governor to submit plans, was pretty clear to reporter Jeremy Kelley that their kids are doing as well or better this year than last. (Dayton Daily News, 4/2/21) Jeremy noted that a little more than a quarter of schools who were “invited” to submit plans had done so as of 4:00 pm yesterday. Both the DDN and Cleveland.com provided the link to ODE so that you can see all the plans yourself. Should you have the stomach for itinterest in doing so. (Cleveland.com, 3/31/21)
- Board members and administrators of the Education Service Center of Preble County seemed to have spent a good portion of their March meeting time patting themselves on the back for a lot of stuff they’ve done, including helping to shape House Bill 67 (testing, graduation requirements, etc.) and get it passed. (The Register-Herald, 3/31/21) I wonder what Ohio’s ESCs think of Senate Bill 145, the second legislative effort to overhaul state report cards? That bill had its first hearing this week, with the sponsor and several proponents giving testimony. (Gongwer Ohio, 3/31/21) Graduation requirements and preparation for success are of the report card revamp discussion, as I’m sure you can imagine. But did you know that kids at Taft High School are already getting half of their graduation points simply by participating in an after-school club? The good folks at Cincinnati City Schools know it and want to beef up their drone-piloting program so much that this path to a diploma might even include actual school work someday. (WVXU-FM, Cincinnati, 4/2/21)
- Back to Earth with a bang: Five homeowners in Oberlin have petitioned to have their homes rezoned into a neighboring (well….) school district. Feels like it might be a long summer in Bougietown. (Elyria Chronicle, 4/2/21)
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