SH plans to transition virtual students to classroom
Kaitlyn Clay, Staff Writer, [email protected]
The 2020 school year has been unprecedented, and incorporating more eLearning has had a learning curve to it for most school corporations. Because of constant monitoring of students and their online performance, it was determined at the South Harrison Community School Corp. board meeting last Tuesday night that the kids need to be in the physical school building as much as possible.
During a virtual students’ progress report — presented by Diane Owen, a title and instruction coach; Jason Toler, principal of Corydon Central Junior High School; and Sue Lanham, principal of Heth-Washington Elementary School — it was decided that Oct. 19 is the projected target date they are aiming to have a majority of virtual students return to in-person classes. However, this will not apply to at-risk students or those who live at home with someone who is a high-risk health concern.
Currently, Owen said South Harrison has 492 students attending virtually but the number changes daily.
The reason behind this decision is due to the disproportionate rate of virtual students who are failing compared with those attending school in-person. Currently, about 18% of the students attending classes in-person, in grades 7 through 12, in South Harrison have failing grades. However, of the students who are attending full-time in virtual classes, excluding those who have had to quarantine at home due to exposure and then return to classes, approximately 74% are failing, according to Toler.
At the meeting, Tami Geltmaker, director of curriculum, instruction and assessment for South Harrison schools, said this is directly correlated, in her opinion, to attendance rates.
“[Virtual]Students are expected to check in at the beginning of the period, during the period and at the end,” she said. “We have to get those kids back into classes so they can improve their grades, because right now they aren’t showing up.”
Lanham explained during the presentation that students are being handled on a case-by-case basis. Some elementary students, she gave as an example, are doing a slower transition back into the school system.
She said the administration is willing to do whatever it takes to get students back in the physical building, even if they have to do a specific plan for each one.
After the presentation, the board unanimously granted the administration the authority to transition failing virtual students to in-class instruction on an individual basis provided there are no prevalent medical conditions following their fall break, which will conclude Friday.
Geltmaker also presented the school improvement plans, completed annually, to the board. She said this year they decided to give district-wide goals for each school’s plan for the administration to use as guides before submitting to the state. The board approved these plans, 7-0.
“This year we wanted to focus on procedures and protocols, working on social and emotional learning and employability skills, and engagement,” Geltmaker said. “We also really want to see positive relationships between teachers with teachers and teachers with students.”
Also at last week’s meeting, the board, which had a public hearing last month for its 2021 budget, voted unanimously to approve the budget, Capital Projects Plan and the submission for bus purchases for the coming year.
Superintendent Dr. Mark Eastridge also gave special recognition at the meeting to John Atkins, athletic director at Corydon Central High School, for being voted High School Athletic Director of the Year for District 5 of the IIAAA, and also to Tony Hall, athletic director at South Central Junior-Senior High School, for being voted the Junior High-Middle School Athletic Director of the Year for District 5 of the IIAAA.
South Harrison Community School Corp.’s next meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 10, at 7 p.m. (moved from the first Tuesday of the month because of the General Election).