Speaking to parents Wednesday, Warren County Public Schools Superintendent Rob Clayton discussed the format for instruction next school year.
“We know the thought is out there – ‘What’s next year going to look like?’ ” Clayton said, speaking at a district’s Community Council meeting, which was held both in-person and livestreamed from Warren Central High School. An on-demand video of the meeting, which lasted roughly an hour, can be found on the WCPS Facebook page.
Describing the school district’s plan, Clayton said: “Our goal is to have school five days a week next (school) year. We’re still kind of considering ‘What does the virtual option need to look like?’ … I can assure you: Your child will still have the same number of opportunities leading into next year as previous years.”
The meeting also featured presentations from central office administrators outlining Warren County Public Schools’ response to the pandemic and how it’s planning to move forward.
No doubt, WCPS and many other school districts in a similar position will have to address learning lapses and equity gaps for years to come due to the pandemic.
As recently reported by U.S. News and World Report, as of January, more than half of all Black, Hispanic and Asian fourth graders in the U.S. were learning in a fully remote environment.
By comparison, only a quarter of White students were learning entirely remotely, and instead, nearly half of White students were learning in-person, full-time.
Since August, both local public school systems have offered some form of in-person instruction.
However, there have been learning lapses. WCPS Assistant Superintendent and Chief Academic Officer Melissa Stephanski said the district hopes to close those gaps with summer school programs and “just-in-time teaching” during the coming school year.
Stephanski noted that the district’s summer school programming is currently in development, intending to offer it at the elementary, middle and high school levels along with credit recovery at its alternative schools.
“We are trying to get these potholes filled as best we can before we get to the fall,” Stephanski said.
As for the school year itself, Stephanski said the district will do “just-in-time teaching,” meaning learning gaps will be addressed as students continue advancing in their studies. “We want to keep students progressing,” she said of the approach.
Other efforts include evaluating how to spend any remaining federal coronavirus relief money going forward (the district has received roughly $54 million in total), training for teachers and administrators and assessing what any virtual learning options will look like in the fall, Stephanski said.