Distance learning continues for students

By Melanie Speicher - mspeicher@sidneydailynews.com

SIDNEY — Monday’s announcement that school will not reopen for the 2019-20 school year has area superintendents planning for the remainder of the school year. The continuation of distance or remote learning was ordered by Gov. Mike DeWine during his daily press conference.

Sidney City Schools Superintendent Bob Humble said he doesn’t see much changing as the district has been teaching remotely for weeks. The final cog in their wheel was making sure all students have access to the internet.

“At this point everyone who asked for access we have provided it. We have hotspots available for anyone who needs one and we have free public WIFI in the HS lot near the baseball field and in the “U” section at Northwood ES,” said Humble.

The end-of-the year activities for seniors sees some districts setting dates in June or later for proms and graduations.

“As of now our prom is still scheduled for June 6th. Graduation is still in flux,” said Humble.

Humble said the district is planning to implement a new Learning Management System this fall for distance learning.

Lehman Catholic High School

Lehman Catholic High School President Josh Ater praised his staff for their commitment to the Lehman students.

“Lehman Catholic will continue to provide our high quality education in a distance learning environment as we have since the order came from the Governor. I can’t say enough for how impressed I am with our faculty who have embraced this challenge working tirelessly to rewrite lesson plans, learn new technology, and work with each of our students to ensure that they continue to learn and grow during this unusual circumstance. It’s during challenging times like this when true character is shown – and I can’t say enough about how well Lehman Catholic’s faculty has responded to this challenge,” said Ater.

“Our mission at Lehman Catholic is to be great by fostering individual discovery, excellence, and dynamic faith. When we moved to distance learning our goal was to stay true to our mission, and this included ensuring that each and every student received the individual attention needed to continue their classwork. This has necessarily included additional assistance in areas of technology, where our IT Manager has gone above and beyond to help with computer issues, software questions, and online access help. Our teachers are continuing to provide the individual attention that students would normally get in the classroom by keeping virtual office hours, holding tutoring sessions online, and responding to each students questions and needs. This has also included additional attention from our Intervention Specialist who is providing one-on-one guidance to student needing additional help.,” he said.

Ater said all of the Lehman students have access to the internet for their class studies.

æAll of our students do have some level of access, although the quality of that access varies greatly based on where are student lives. Even where internet access is spotty, students have used their cell phones to attend online classes. We also are providing additional assistance where needed so no student is left behind,”said Alter.

“Lehman teachers have met once a week to specifically focus on additional training for distance and online learning. We will continue to do so through the remainder of the year. Our training has been a mix of learning from outside sources, but more importantly, has included sessions where our faculty is sharing together what they are learning works and doesn’t work. We are trying new things. Not afraid to learn from our mistakes, and continuing to innovate to ensure we provide the best possible education during this time,” he continued.

As the school year winds down, Ater and his staff and working on prom and graduation plans along with selecting the top students for the Class of 2020.

“We have created backup plans for prom and graduation and have been in conversation with the Shelby County Health Department as well as the Sidney Police. Both have worked hard to keep us informed and are providing as much information as they are able. There are still a lot of questions we don’t have answered yet, but the people in both organizations have been very understanding and as helpful as they possibly can,” said Ater.

“We are working on our final calculations now. Lehman Catholic uses the third nine weeks grades to project the fourth quarter grade and the exam grade to calculate a second semester grade and the final grades,” he said.

Ater has a special message for the Class of 2020.

“I have to write a very special note to our senior class of 2020. In January I said to them, ‘I hope that each of you develop Senioritis over the course of the last semester.’ While it probably sounds a bit odd for an administrator to say, I told our seniors to enjoy these last moments together and that it was our goal at Lehman Catholic to ensure they were ready for the next steps in life, wherever that may lead. Senioritis was the outward expression of being ready to move from our hallways to the next steps that God was leading them. Little did I know that their time would be cut short. In spite of these challenges, I am happy to say that every senior at Lehman Catholic has caught full-blown Senioritis. They are ready to move on to the next step in life. They are well prepared. They are ready to continue their path growing their gifts and talents to be great! Congratulations to the class of 2020. Be great!” he said.

Hardin-Houston Local Schools

“Hardin-Houston will continue to use the Google Classroom platform approach as it has proved to be very welcoming and effective mode of instruction for the vast majority of our students and parents,” said Hardin-Houston Local Schools Superintendent Ryan Maier. “Our principals and teachers will continue to provide help and guidance when requested by our students and parents. There will be a continuation of home visits for the rest of the school year when unique situations arise.”

Maier said the vast majority of our families have internet capability, but all do not have the same speed capacities due to being a rural school district.

“The district will monitor the federal and state restrictions that are in place in the coming weeks and make modifications and decisions based upon this information,” said Maier. “Our district’s policy is to wait until the end of the year to verify both valedictorian/salutatorian honors.”

Russia Local Schools

Russia Local Schools Superintendent Steve Rose said his district will continue with the distance learning procedure already in place.

“We will continue with our current plan as it seems to be working well,” said Rose. “We will continue to provide as much assistance as possible to our student body.

“The majority of our students have access to the internet and we are providing hard copies of materials to those who do not have access,” he said.

The district’s prom and graduation ceremony remain uncertain at this time.

“If needed we will likely delay graduation and prom as it is our goal to provide these activities for our students,” said Rose.”We will be selecting valedictorian and salutatorian based on the rankings at the end of the year. We want to continue to hold our students accountable for their education.”

By Melanie Speicher


Reach the writer at 937-538-4822

Reach the writer at 937-538-4822