CLAYTON – Northmont School Board conducted its first remote regular meeting on April 13 under the Ohio State law governing school closing due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The meeting took place on the Facebook social media platform.
The meeting followed guidelines set by Ohio Attorney General David Yost in a letter from March 13.
Ohio Revised Code 3313.48 mandates that a school district must be open for instruction with pupils in attendance for a minimum number of hours each school year. The Northmont School Board specifies a minimum of 910 hours for students in grades kindergarten through six and 1001 hours for students in grades seven through 12.
The board approved a contingency plan for the 2019-2020 school year for students to make up the hours they have missed this year.
The plan provides for online learning opportunities for students to make up the hours in lieu of attendance on days when buildings are not open to them during the school year.
It authorizes licensed staff, including intervention and specialist personnel, to provide instructional support and related services by electronic method or telecommunication to district students while the state health director’s order to close schools remains in effect.
Plan guidelines align with curriculum and standards the students were currently meeting in their classes and specifies that assigned work not be due on the day it was assigned.
It further requires teachers to be available during normal school hours to provide feedback. Teachers were asked to use no more than three different apps and tools or services. The plan also said that communication should occur regularly with students and families.
During the abbreviated meeting, the board conducted regular board business, including reports from board members and Superintendent Tony Thomas.
Thomas said he was proud of the schools’ staffs, who were working hard to educate through the “Whole Child” concept.
“Between food distribution and reaching out to individual children to see that all their needs are being met, Northmont is really doing a great job,” said Thomas.
“We also implemented an initiative to show the community the Acts of Kindness that students and staff are carrying out. For each kind deed, we’re challenging families to place a Thunderbolt in their front window. We are Thunderbolts Serving Thunderbolts,” he said.
Thomas also addressed the hard work that has gone into the remote learning and how the staff has come up with many new and creative ways to make this kind of work meaningful to the students.
Regarding the district’s budget, Thomas said, “We’re expecting state revenue to go down with the governor’s anticipated budget cuts, and expenditures that will go up. This is a concern. We are fortunate to be a district that doesn’t rely on an income tax,” he said. “We will continue to monitor the situation closely.”
Board member Tom Walker complimented the staff on all the work that has gone into the food distribution program and how smoothly it has run.
Board President Linda Blum also praised the staff on the hard work she knows remote learning entrails, and how proud she is to be a Thunderbolt.
As liaison to Miami Valley CTC, board member Dr. Gerry Espeleta gave a short report about construction occurring there and said the construction project is on schedule.
The next regular meeting of the Northmont School Board is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Monday, April 27, at Union Elementary School located at 418 W. Martindale Road, Union.