The following actions were taken by the Northwest Ohio Educational Service Center Governing Board at their regular meeting held July 28.
OSBA Legislative Liaison Brian Baker said fall events will be held virtually this year.
The Ohio Controlling Board has approved a request to appropriate $50 million in CARES Act funding to provide grant payments to public and private schools to support connectivity for in-need students and to create the BroadbandOhio Connectivity Grant Program. The program will create a matching grant program for school districts, joint vocational school districts, educational service centers, community schools, STEM schools, and nonpublic schools.
Funds can be used to support connectivity for in-need students. Connectivity can be in the form of individual hot spots, in-home enterprise solutions, mobile hot spots or internet-connected devices, and will require a 1-1 match. Schools are releasing their restart plans, which could be face-to-face, blended, or virtual.
CFO/Treasurer Homer Hendricks reviewed new leave provisions that are part of the Family First Coronavirus Relief Act. He has participated in several webinars and meetings to prepare business office staff and work with employees effectively.
Hendricks also reviewed several summer processes including new grant applications, fiscal year 2020 audit reports, and the high performing ESC application.
Director of Special Education Jill Gilliland reported that Lyndsey Eckley has been selected as the Education District 1 Teacher of the Year. Her application moves forward for consideration for the Ohio Teacher of the Year.
Gilliland said options are considered for conducting home visits either in person or via zoom. K-12 psychologists will be utilizing iPads for some assessment in order to maintain social distancing and reduce the need for sanitizing materials.
Director of Curriculum, Instruction, and Professional Development Josh Clark shared his smooth transition into the role of director.
Multiple education consultants are playing active roles in their respective districts’ restart committees. Consultants are helping districts develop instructional and operational plans in the event schools reopen face-to-face or virtually. OTES 2.0 Virtual Bridge Training concluded for administrators and credentialed evaluators.
Administrators and evaluators who successfully completed the online learning management system hosted by the Ohio Department of Education and facilitated locally by Kallie Gensler, Katie Jimenez, and Josh Clark are currently taking their credentialing tests online.
Professional development offerings for the 2020-21 school year will look a bit different than in past years; the majority of scheduled offerings will come with a virtual option.
The education consultants will be back in the office face-to-face per their respective calendars, with the first consultant “kick-off” meeting scheduled for the afternoon of Aug. 3.
Director of Technology and Operations Chad Rex said tech leaders continue to meet biweekly via Zoom to stay connected during this unique summer. The technology department has been meeting with individual staff to assist with document management in support of the data backup system. Several staff are upgraded with new laptops and are utilizing legacy equipment as loan devices when possible.
The school psychology iPad project is well underway. Mobile phone users are being surveyed about the option of Google Voice instead of their ESC issued smartphones. Software licenses for staff that utilize Zoom and SMART Notebook have been renewed. Additional Chromebooks have been ordered for IEC students to increase the level of laptops and prepare for remote learning.
Electrostatic backpack sprayers were ordered for the main office and the IEC to efficiently sanitize. A floor scrubber for the main office is being purchased that will provide high-quality cleaning of hard surfaces and allow for more frequent and efficient cleaning.
Superintendent Kerri Weir reported that Pettisville has named Ken Boyer as interim for the full school year and will work with NwOESC on a full and comprehensive search during the course of the year.
Grants have been received for NwOESC for psychology interns and a parent mentor for the coming school year. NwOESC has accessed these grants in years past.
The next meeting is scheduled to take place on Tuesday, Aug. 25, 6:30 p.m., at the Northwest Ohio Educational Service Center, 205 Nolan Parkway, Archbold.