Impacts of the coronavirus pandemic on learning, student engagement, teachers learning new ways to teach reading, and updates on current projects were all a part of what Greenfield Board of Education members heardin their regular meeting Monday.
Curriculum director Alisa Barrett’s update included new and ongoing programs, the impact of the pandemic on learning, and this year’s state report card, which will not include letter grades given the circumstances of last school year.
Barrett said that according to data, students across the state last year saw an average decrease of 8 percentage points in reading and 15 percentage points in math. In the Greenfield, data showed a decrease of 10.7 percentage points in reading, and a decrease of 4.9 percentage points in math, more than three times lower than the state data. The numbers were drawn from the state tests students took in the spring of 2019 as spring testing did not happen in the state in 2020.
Barrett also shared a graph depicting how students who participated in online learning last school year for six or more months scored “significantly lower” than students who were in the physical classroom.
Greenfield’s graduation rate is something it has struggled with over the years, but there has been real progress, Barrett reported. On the state report card, the district has gone from an F to an A over the last four years. Interventions and initiatives have been implemented in recent years to help ensure student engagement and success, and it is working.
Barrett also talked about the literacy struggles with K-3 students. One of the ways Greenfield is addressing this is by an in-depth science of reading study by 44 elementary educators in the district. It’s called LETRS, and it “teaches our teachers the brain science behind reading,” which is not what they learned in college. It’s something that provides educators with the strategies and knowledge they need to help their students succeed in reading. The program, Barrett said, will be required by the state in all districts by 2023, so Greenfield is ahead of the game.
Also discussed were the district’s efforts to continue ensuring student success. One of those is the multi-year Visible Learning Plan, which was implemented last year. Last year’s focus was learning dispositions and clarity in teaching. A focus this year is feedback in all its forms and how that can be used by all to improve instruction and learning.
Another aspect of ongoing efforts is the continued implementation of evidence-based practices that are proven to work. Barrett discussed the involvement of the middle school with the Ohio Writing Project, which provides year-long coaching through the project for the middle school English teachers. As a component, the block of the school day for the middle schoolers normally reserved for just English has been split into defined reading and writing blocks, a focus that administrators feel will benefit students.
During another part of the meeting, board members heard from concerned parent Samantha Rayburn regarding the school’s mask mandate. In addition to voicing her concerns, Rayburn also provided materials to board members as evidence backing her concerns. No discussion followed, but Rayburn was thanked for sharing her views.
Following the meeting, board members were invited for a brief tour of the new gym lobby and locker room expansion, which is well underway and slated for completion in November.
The old restrooms in the lobby have been demolished and the empty rooms stand ready to be updated. Construction out into the courtyard of the expanded portion of the project has begun and the floor of the expansion is expected to be poured this week, then construction of the second floor can get started. New block walls have been built in the locker room areas creating the new layout, which will include separate locker rooms for visiting teams.
On the related matter of projects, superintendent Quincey Gray reported that the permits for the practice field development project have been submitted. A public board of zoning appeals meeting is expected to be held in October.
Items approved on the consent agenda included a lease agreement with Buckskin Community Church regarding the district’s use of a parking lot, the bus routes for the school year, accepting a bid from Weller’s for touch-free plumbing fixtures, the resignation of classroom aide Erin Winland, and the approval of a memorandum of understanding regarding the Ohio Code Scholars Program.
On the latter, Gray said the district is one of nine in the state participating. It’s something she said state Rep. Shane Wilkin (R-Hillsboro) fought for so that support could be provided to school districts for coding education. This will help further the programs already in place at the middle school and high school and will pay for curriculum materials, coding camp, and even teacher credentials, the latter of which will pave the way for student certification.
Employments recommendations approved by board members were Harrison Gallaugher – aide/monitor; Brittany Quigley – aide/monitor; Cindy McNeal – aide/monitor, clerical, and cafeteria; Courtney Speakman – aide/monitor; Cheryl Bauer – cafeteria; Bobbi Badgley – middle school annual; Nathaniel Fabin – dramatics assistant; and certified substitutes Sierra Garman, Nathan White, Aaron Dhume, and Andrew Malloy.
The Greenfield Exempted Village School District will meet in regular session next on Oct. 25 at 7 p.m. at Greenfield Middle School.
Angela Shepherd is a correspondent for the Greenfield Exempted Village Schools.