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ESSER funds to help close learning-loss gap

ESSER funds to help close learning-loss gap ESSER funds to help close learning-loss gap
Kaitlyn Clay, Staff Writer, [email protected]

In a special session of the South Harrison Community School Corp. on May 25, Diane Owen, the newly-appointed director of curriculum, instruction and assessment for secondary schooling, presented the corporation’s plan for allocating the second round of emergency relief funds given from the state.

The Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund dollars given to the school corporation are going directly toward objectives that will develop skills and show accelerated growth to close the learning-loss gap, according to Owen.

She showcased what the plan for the money was for each school and included things like hiring new teachers at nearly every school in the corporation, to funding stipends for teachers throughout the district, to a behavioral intervention and support program at Heth-Washington Elementary School.

“We are really doing all we can to fill any currently open positions and find a consistent substitute teacher list for each school,” Owen said. “We want to ensure that our students have zero education gaps due to our COVID period.”

Owen also went over the summer school schedule with the board of trustees at the meeting, noting that the district has about 280 students who have opted to attend summer school at one of the three South Harrison locations. The schools are providing free transportation and food for each of the students attending.

Dr. Mark Eastridge, superintendent of the SHCSC, explained to the board that if they communicate with anyone who has opted to attend summer school to encourage them to attend each of the days, as it is vital for their education this year.

The board approved the employment of nearly 40 teachers, including substitutes, who will teach summer school this year, along with instructional assistants, office staff and bus drivers at this special meeting.

In other business, multiple school administrator positions were approved at this meeting for changes that will occur in the upcoming school year.

The board approved a transfer for Sue Lanham, who will leave her position as principal at Heth-Washington Elementary School to move to assistant principal at South Central Junior-Senior High School. Daniel Waynescott was approved as the new principal for HWES.

In a similar situation, Wendy Carter, principal at New Middletown Elementary School, is transferring to principal at Corydon Intermediate School. Filling her shoes as principal at NMES will be Robert Briscoe.

“We are very excited to welcome our new administrators to the team at South Harrison schools,” Eastridge said at the meeting. “I think we have an amazing staff and am looking forward to what they will bring to the table.”

The South Harrison school trustees had their regularly-scheduled meeting last Tuesday at the corporation office, where they approved a few other personnel and operational matters.

Eastridge also noted at the regular meeting that he hopes to have a more detailed plan soon for how they intend to use the third round of ESSER funds.

“There are still more guidelines from the state we expect to come out,” Eastridge said. “Hopefully by July, we will be able to be much more descriptive to our school community on how we will allocate those funds.”

The board’s next regular meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, July 6, at 7 p.m. at the corporation office in Corydon.