Board OKs clended learning plan


By Melanie Speicher - mspeicher@sidneydailynews.com



SIDNEY — A blended learning plan was approved by Sidney City Schools Board of Education during its meeting Monday night.

“Blended learning infuses technology into instruction to provide students with varied learning opportunities. This gives them more control over their learning whether in a classroom or online. Students will have access to additional digital tools and resources that will encourage flexible, customized learning experiences,” said Brooke Gessler, Sidney City Schools curriculum director, after the meeting.

The presentation about blended learning was given by Vartek employees Jamie Martin, director, customer experience; Misty Oerther, director, technology integration; and Kat Childers, PhD., academic technology coordinator.

Martin told the board the plans for blended learning are still in progress as members of the Vartek team meet with Sidney City Schools staff. The goal is to better implement technology in the classroom and to ensure the changes have a positive impact on the district’s students.

There are 10 industry best practices, said Martin, that when combined will provide a successful educational environment for the student.

The three levels of the industry’s best practices are:

• Leadership + Vision: Leadership + Vision; Ethics + Policies; and Strategic Planning.

• Understanding the Educational Environment: Instructional Focus + Professional development; Team Building + Staffing; and Stakeholder Focus. Martin said Stakeholder Focus goes outside the classroom and involves the community. this level is a critical component and that’s why there are educators on the Vartek team, she said.

• Managing Technology & Support Resources: Information Technology Management; Communication System Management; Business Management; and Data Management.

The Vartek team has been working on IT leadership and technology implementation since the beginning of the project. They are now working on technology implementation into the classroom.

The blended learning plan, said Oerther, is a multi-year plan which will incorporate technology integration into the classroom. The development timeline is January 2021.

The timeline for implementation, said Childers, is divided into five phases.

Phase 1 — which is the phase the plan is currently in — will introduce and implement new schoology and ensure mastery of use is achieved by staff. Teachers will learn how to use the technology successfully in their classrooms. There will be professional development for the teachers to learn the technology.

Phase 2 will introduce Performance Matters as a tool for data driven instruction. This will create a foundation for instructional focus and begin understanding blended learning strategies.

Phase 3 is a continuation of introducing Performance Matters and continue to model and explore for instructional focus and blended learning. The goal in this phase is to have 50% of teachers implementing instructional focus and blended learning environment.

Phase 4 is to consistently use Performance Matters as a tool for assessment and instruction. Teachers will continue to model and share best practices for instrumental focus and blended learning with consistent technology integration. The goal is to have 75% of teachers implementing instructional focus and blended learning environment.

Phase 5 is to effectively use Performance Matters as a tool for assessment and instruction. Teachers will continue to model and share best practices for instrumental focus and blended learning with consistent technology integration. The goal is to have 100% of teachers implementing instructional focus and blended learning environment.

In other business, the board:

• Accepted the resignation of Madge Brown, bus driver, effective Oct. 1.

• Hired classified employees on a one-year contract. Receiving contracts were Donald Chupp, bus driver, $18.87 per hour; Jerrod Watson, bus driver, $18.87 per hour; Kevin Stapleton, bus aide, $19.87 per hour, which includes a $2 premium for a MD aide; Gris-Sondra Wolaver, Sidney Middle School cook, $11,89 per hour; and Riley Barnes, SMS custodian, $16.42 per hour.

• Hired classified substitutes on a one-year contract. Hired were Jerrod Watson, bus driver, $17.95 per hour; Amanda Stout, aide, $12.33 per hour; Kris-Sondra Wolaver, secretary; $14.88 per hour; Emily Lewis, aide, $12.33 per hour; and Emily Lewis, secretary, $14.88 per hour.

• Awarded Wesley Branscum a one-year supplemental contract for game help.

The board’s next meeting will be Monday, Nov. 16, at 6 p.m. at Sidney High School.

• Heard the first reading of new and revised policies.

• Renewed the Plato agreement for three years beginning July 1, 2021, and expiring June 30, 2024, at a cost of $272,560.

• Approved a resolution declaring transportation to be impractical for three students to Troy Christian Schools for the 2020-21 school year.

• Authorized the transfer of checks outstanding for more than one year to the unclaimed funds account.

• Approved reappointment of Dan Bensman to the Shelby County Libraries Board of Trustees.

By Melanie Speicher

mspeicher@sidneydailynews.com

Reach the writer at 937-538-4822.

Reach the writer at 937-538-4822.