580 Students Currently Enrolled in County Schools Learning Loss Program – PCPatriot

By MIKE WILLIAMS

The Patriot

Currently, 580 students are enrolled in Pulaski County Schools Learning Loss programs in an effort to address learning gaps caused by the COVID pandemic.

Roxanne Souma, secondary education coordinator, told the school board at their meeting last week that increased state and federal funding for COVID recovery had funded the programs, including the hiring of 70 tutors in the county’s seven schools.

Programs include before-school tutoring, after-school tutoring, enrichment/STEAM, and virtual tutoring. From February 26, a fifth program – Saturday School – will start in middle school and will target the needs of students leading up to the SOL tests.

Critzer Elementary leads the way with 107 students enrolled in programs followed by Pulaski with 100. Eighty-two students are enrolled in Dublin followed by 73 in Riverlawn and 56 in Snowville.

Souma said the middle and high school learning loss programs were launched later — in late November and early December — and enrollment would increase in the spring.

Currently, 130 students are enrolled in the college and only 35 in the PCHS.

Although tutoring was offered to all students, most participants were recommended by classroom teachers. Parents and students were also able to request their participation.

Souma told the school board that some students were participating to zero in on lessons, while others were just looking for help with coursework.

Before school, tutoring lasts 30 minutes, four days a week, and students receive help with homework or various lesson needs.

After school tutoring is one hour, two days a week, and lasts until 4:45 or 5 p.m. Meals and snacks are provided, and students receive help with reading and math.

Enrichment and STEAM sessions last one hour every Wednesday and every other Monday in elementary school and Tuesdays and Thursdays in middle school.

Students receive an afternoon snack and acquire lessons in the main areas of STEAM – science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics.

Grants for Good Jobs Initiative

Also at last week’s meeting, the board voted unanimously to support the Good Jobs grant application.

Under review by CTE Director Megan Atkinson, the initiative is to set up and structure CTE classrooms in high schools in the Southwest region as workplaces.

The program focuses on how schools can meet the skilled labor needs of businesses and slow the emigration of young people from the region.

Parts of the curriculum are already in place in high school and are widely used in West Virginia high schools.

Graduation date

The school board has set Friday, May 20 as the spring graduation date.

Equity Collaboration

School superintendent Dr. Kevin Siers told the board that the school system’s contract with the organization Equity Collaborative ends this month after a final training session under the system’s equity program. school.

Siers said there were no plans to renew the contract next year.

Siers said school officials expect to receive revised guidance from the state Department of Education on how to meet cultural competency training requirements for teachers established under the code of the State.

“To my knowledge, this requirement has not changed, but the VDOE guidelines may change,” Siers said. “We haven’t received anything saying it will be [change]but there’s a lot going on at the VDOE right now and we’re probably hoping by the end of the year that we’ll know what some of those changes might look like.

With that in mind, Siers said the school system is not moving forward with any type of professional development in this area until it receives revised guidance or is told that the VDOE guidance will not change.

Governor Glenn Youngkin, in his list of “Day One” Executive Orders, signed Executive Order No. 1 which directed the Superintendent of Public Instruction to review Department of Education cultural competency training to determine if it or party promotes inherently divisive concepts, and take steps consistent with Virginia law to modify such training to discontinue the use of inherently divisive concepts.

In addition, the order states that the superintendent shall make recommendations on how the Department of Education and the school division may develop and make available to all teachers and school leaders professional development models and training so that teachers and schools are prepared to engage students in important civic activities and historical issues in a fair and impartial manner without imposing their own personal beliefs.

The Equity Collaborative has drawn fire from local citizens who believe the organization’s model for teacher training includes critical race theory. The organization was mentioned amid controversy over equity and critical race theory in Loudoun County.

Ryan H. Bowman