District administrators told the Pike-Delta-York Board of Education at its Wednesday meeting that distance learning was going well.
“The distance learning plan has been going very well,” said Superintendent Ted Haselman. “Again, I can’t stress how hard people are working, showing flexibility when and where needed, having positive attitudes, having a can-do attitude. I’m very proud and impressed with our students, staff, and parents.”
He added that they know it is not as effective as having students in the classroom, but they believe they are being effective.
The district is stressing quality, not quantity, with distance learning, as it knows not everyone’s situation is the same at home.
“We’re not trying to shove a bunch of stuff down their throats,” said elementary principal Ellen Bernal. “We’re trying to make sure what they’re getting is going to be valuable for them.”
She added that she has not had any complaints from parents. “I’ve had nothing but good feedback from parents. They’ve been very thankful for what teachers are doing.”
Middle school principal Doug Ford said the situation is new, but everybody is working hard. “Definitely, we’ve had growing pains but, I wanna say it more like we’ve learned so much along the way that I feel… we’re going to be better because we’ve been forced to be in this situation.”
Ford said they have also reiterated quality over quantity at the middle school when it comes to schoolwork.
The biggest challenge they have is communication, he added.
“I used to tell the teachers, ‘We only have these students for seven hours a day, we can’t control the other 17 hours of their day and the weekends. So, lets do what we can with those seven hours.’ And now, more than ever, I think they’d love to just have those seven hours here at school to help with that communication piece,” Ford said.
High school principal Kristie Reighard said teachers are providing the quality assessment over busy work. She said the recommended amount of work in high school is a half hour per subject per day and no more than two hours a week.
Reighard said they are addressing concerns as they arise.
“We know that we have students that, they have situations outside of their control,” she said. “And the teachers are being really, really cognizant of that and being flexible with those students. We’ve got students working. We’ve got students that are caring for family members.”
Haselman also recognized the work of staff in getting meals to students during the week.
‘I want to say how hard our food service department and transportation department are working to make sure that those students are receiving meals that they would be foregoing since they are not in school,” said Haselman.
Also at the meeting, board member Michael Mattin asked Haselman if they had considered going from letter grades to pass/fail during distance learning. The superintendent said they have not gone that route because they do not yet know what the ramifications would be down the road.
• The Board approved personnel items including the resignation of Reighard, the high school principal. They also approved a certified contract for Laura Becker, as speech language pathologist.
• Treasurer Matt Feasel updated the board on some financial issues. He said Worthington Industries is coming off a tax abatement and has appealed their value of $8.8 million to the board of revision. They say their value is $6 million.
The district also appealed, thinking the value is closer to $10 million after consulting with county officials, Feasel said.
He also said that a deficit increase is expected in the cafeteria budget, but there are some savings expected on substitutes and utility costs. The five-year financial forecast will be presented to the board next month.
Reach Drew Stambaugh at 419-335-2010