LORAIN — The Lorain school district will be making more time for its teachers to delve into student work and data next school year with an early release day once a month.
At a quarterly Academic Distress Commission meeting Monday night, Lorain Schools CEO David Hardy said in surveys teachers were asking for more time to get into those types of things so the second Tuesday of every month, students will get out early.
“There’s that additional time being allocated to teachers for instruction when kids are not present,” he said, noting this is in addition to planning periods teachers have throughout the day. “They had an additional time every month to dig deeper.”
Commission member and former district administrator John Monteleone said this is something the district did several years ago but had moved away from recently.
“One of the reasons we got away from that practice is because it put a lot of burden on our families as far as releasing the students early and not having day care, families that were working,” he said. “I’m sure you’ve already thought about it, but I think it’s good for people to hear how you’re working with wrap-around services.”
Hardy said the kinks to that still are being worked out, but it was in the forefront of the administration’s mind when putting the schedule together.
“That was one of the biggest obstacles we had when creating the schedule, thinking about how we can get kids to different programs and stuff,” he said. “We’ve had conversations with some of our partners to think about that. We also still have a lot of legwork to talk with parents to understand what they need from us. We have a little bit of time but we still have to get it worked out.”
At the meeting, resident Lynda Lee said she thinks Hardy is doing a good job, but she wishes the school board would stop making playing games with putting a $3.1 million renewal levy on the ballot, one of its few powers left after the district was taken over by state House Bill 70.
“I would like to give you a vote of confidence,” she said. “I feel like you’re doing a great job. I don’t know how other people feel but I feel a lot of negativity coming from the board and it’s always in the newspaper. A levy needs to be passed. I get agitated when the board acts like they didn’t know this was coming. Scores didn’t increase.”
Resident and retired teacher Nancy Cook asked the commission if there was anything the body could do to put a levy on the ballot if the school board decided against it.
“That’s the one thing under House Bill 70 that we do not have direct authority over or the ability to impact in any way so if you see us being quiet on the issue it’s because we don’t have a ton of answers because it’s not something we have influence on,” Hardy said. “I think that the power lies in our community to voice what they want to see in our schools. It starts with a petition and starts with a conversation.”
Commission Chairman Tony Richardson said if residents really want to see a levy put on the ballot they should reach out to their elected officials and tell them that.
“But in terms of the commission as a body, it’s clear in House Bill 70 that we don’t have the duty or power to put on a levy,” he said. “I think as a community, if that’s something you feel needs to be done, I think that’s something you petition your government for.”
Following the meeting, Richardson addressed statements made earlier this month by school board vice president Mark Ballard, who said he would only vote to put a levy on the ballot if Hardy and Richardson both resign.
“I met with him after that and I thought it was a good conversation,” Richardson said. “I encouraged him to speak to his fellow board members about allowing the people to decide about the levy for themselves. This is a democracy, right?”
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