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St. Clair Schools plan return to ‘normal’ June 1, looks to address learning loss

Superintendent Mike Howard and board members Scott Suttle and Marie Manning

Pictured, from left, are St. Clair County Board of Education superintendent Mike Howard, chairman Scott Suttle and vice chairman Marie Manning. 

 

ODENVILLE — The St. Clair County Board of Education met for its regular meeting March 16. During the meeting, the board discussed plans to return to normal and how schools would address the learning loss experienced over the course of the pandemic.

Superintendent Mike Howard said the hope is for schools to return to the way they were before the pandemic by June 1. This will include resuming travel and summer camps.

“I want us to get back to normal because as you (the board) are and as you know, I’m tired of saying no,” Howard said “I’m ready just to say yes, have fun (and) let kids enjoy life again, but I do want to to wait until June 1.”

He added starting in the summer will help show how things will go once school starts back in August.

The board also discussed the issues related to learning loss experienced due to the pandemic and how that would be addressed.

Following the recent COVID-19 relief bill passed by Congress and President Joe Biden, St. Clair County Schools are expecting to get a third round of Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief money. Howard said he hopes to use these funds to address this learning loss

Originally, the board used the first two rounds of COVID-relief money to address health and safety concerns related to the pandemic including purchasing sanitation equipment and masks. 

“We wanted to address learning loss, because we know over the last nine months of the pandemic we have a substantial discrepancy of where we should be and where we are based on almost a year of loss of education now,” Howard said. He added that teachers have done the best job possible despite the issues and are still meeting necessary goals.

Howard said he plans on addressing learning loss by doing the following on the Elementary level:

—Providing summer literacy and tutoring camps at no cost to the parent;

—Provide math instructional coaches by region;

—Use AIMSweb, Lexia data, and observations to provide extensive Tiered Instruction (adding a math intervention as well);

—And, provide LETRS training for all K-3 teachers.

Secondary:

—Summer school for failed courses and summer remediation camps will be provided at no cost to the parent;

—Utilize Scantron to monitor grade-level performance to increase Tiered Instruction and Intervention;

—Changing online platform from APEX and SchoolsPLP to Edgenuity;

—And, increase professional development in math.

Both levels will also have a K-8 common assessment plan for all schools and increased social emotional learning support for K-12 students will be provided through the board’s new mental health liaison.

Howard said that while it is required that ESSER funds will need to be used towards learning needs first, it can also be used to improve the air quality in schools and hopes to also use the money to place HVAC systems in gymnasiums that don’t currently have air conditioning.

In other matters, the board:

—Approved a revised salary schedule for summer literacy and tutoring camps;

—Adopted the 2021-22 school calendar;

—Approved adoption of the K-5 math books and curriculum recommended by elementary curriculum coordinator Lisa Glasglow;

—Approved: a pest control services bid to Bay Pest Control and Southern Pest Innovations; a custodial services bid for Eden Career Technical Services, Moody Elementary and Moody Junior High School to Big BEE Janitorial Services, Vanguard Cleaning Systems of Alabama and Hill’s Janitorial Service; and, a summer floor refinishing and carpet cleaning bid Big BEE Janitorial Services, R&J Janitorial Services, Baza Services and Hill’s Janitorial Service.

—Approved a service agreement contract with GoRescue AED 365;

—Approved a facility request for Cross Point Church to use Springville High School baseball field for a baseball clinic from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. during the week of spring break on March 22;

—And, adopted a resolution calling for redemption and prepayment of the Special Tax School Warrants, Series 2012-A and Series 2012-B, of the board.

Assistant Editor Josie Howell: 205-884-3400