YOUNGSTOWN — As most Youngstown families prepare for a new school year that will start entirely from home on Aug. 31, schools CEO Justin Jennings on Tuesday shared more details about plans for remote learning.
During his monthly update at Youngstown’s Board of Education meeting, Jennings said the school district’s full remote learning plan is almost complete and will be released next week. The plan includes many options for each student's needs, he said.
“We really try to reach every avenue and every scholar we could,” Jennings said. “There’ll be some areas that we missed probably, but we’re going to make sure that we do our best to make sure that we rectify the problem as quickly as possible.”
Here are some aspects of the school district’s plan so far:
• Regular remote class sessions will be scheduled for Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. Classes will be a mixture of videos that are pre-recorded to meet the standards for each grade level, as well as interactive lessons.
Jennings said the goal for Wednesday is to have office hours in the morning for students to speak with teachers and professional development for the staff in the afternoon.
• The district is looking at two shifts of classes: one on normal school hours and the other from 12 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. That way, teachers and students could have an option of picking a shift for classes.
Jennings said teachers are completing a survey about it and the option will also be assessed after the first few weeks of school to decide if it should be done.
“I think it’s something that will be convenient,” Jennings said. “That idea actually came from our teaching staff, and I think it’s a great idea from them to be able to do that.”
• All students will receive a “device” to have access to their schoolwork over the Internet. Jennings hasn’t said what kind of device students will receive. Students and families that do not have hardwire Internet access will be able to receive high-speed Internet through AT&T or Spectrum, Jennings said.
• Jennings said there are plans for students who are homeless or live in a shelter. Families will be able to have access to a hotspot so the students can work on their device. Since students aren’t able to stay in the shelter during the day, the district is looking for a safe place for students to work.
• English-language learner students, as well as students who have learning disabilities or receive special education services, will have access to special programs, Jennings said.
• Jennings said the district will begin to form a restart plan after the first few weeks of the remote learning.
Other updates from the board meeting:
• Jennings said he plans to release the district’s 10-year strategic plan called YOUprint 2030 in three weeks. He has been using information from teachers, the community, town hall meetings and staff members to get input to create the plan.
• Jennings outlined job cuts and new hires, including the elimination of the positions for the director of athletics and physical education. There is now an athletic director at each high school and an athletic director for middle school and elementary sports.
The district also laid off two people in the curriculum department, and a person in human resources for personnel and equity, which will be absorbed into other roles.
The district hired a new supervisor of transportation who will organize the inspections and transportation to schools that are still having in-person instruction. Jennings also hired a chief of staff to work with the deans, principals and assistant principals in the district.