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Read more about some of the action steps Centerville Schools are taking to help students make learning leaps during the 2021-22 school year.

The global COVID-19 pandemic has impacted all of our lives in some way, and teaching and learning were no exception. From the time school buildings were closed in March 2020 through the subsequent months of uncertainty, teachers, students and their families did their best to keep learning moving forward.

With all students back in classrooms five days a week and a return to best practices, including small groups and hands-on learning, Centerville Schools are focused on making learning leaps during the 2021-22 school year.

Adam Ciarlariello, the district’s director of secondary education, and Cherie Colopy, the director of elementary education, spoke about these efforts during the Centerville Board of Education meeting in September. A recording of this meeting is available at https://youtu.be/NR6mXVOdJoo (their presentation begins about 18 minutes into the meeting).

“We have access to many data points, including state test scores from last spring, MAP assessments from this fall, and real-time information from our classrooms, to gauge where students are and build on those strengths,” said Ciarlariello. “We are referring to our district goal as ‘Leading the Rebound,’ which means our staff is using the data that we have to collaborate with each other, partner with students and families, and ultimately see positive learning leaps for our students.”

Ohio’s State Report Cards are being released this week to provide districts with data to help with recovery and improvement planning. Both Ciarlariello and Colopy noted that national and district data shows that mathematics learning has been impacted more than English language arts during the pandemic. Specific grade levels and subgroups of students were impacted in different ways. Taking all of this into account, the district has already started taking action steps to address student needs.

“None of us are surprised that teaching and learning were impacted during this pandemic,” said Colopy. “There are many metrics we use across the district to look at growth and achievement over time and to inform our work moving forward.”

Over the summer, reading and math intervention were offered by invitation to K-8 students after reviewing standardized test information, classroom performance data and recommendations from staff. In addition to typical high school summer school offerings for remediation and acceleration, Centerville High School offered intervention services to students to receive additional skill and strategy instruction, content instruction and test taking skill support.

Teachers are collaborating and participating in ongoing professional development. For example, curriculum leadership teams were formed to investigate data for specific grade levels and subject areas. The district moved forward with fully implementing new math programs for preschool through high school that better align with Ohio’s Learning Standards, as well as strengthening math support at all grade levels through additional classes and instructors.

Social-emotional well-being also is important because of its impact on the educational experiences of children. In addition to using Ohio’s Social Emotional Learning Standards, which outline ways that schools can help students build competency in self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship skills, and responsible decision-making, Centerville Schools also received feedback from students last spring through a survey that asked them to consider their classes, their feelings, and how they receive help from other people. Students and teachers will have an opportunity to provide more feedback in the coming weeks.

“This is really a whole child assessment to check in on their feelings around school,” Ciarlariello said. “We know that in order to learn effectively, students need to feel safe and valued in the school environment.”

Colopy said that although some students are struggling, many have shown growth despite the conditions of the pandemic. “It’s our challenge to meet the needs of all of our students,” she said.

COVID grant relief funding has helped support many of these initiatives, helping the district to reduce some of the expenses from its General Fund. An explanation of these grants and how the district is utilizing the funding is available at www.centerville.k12.oh.us/learning/curriculum.

Centerville City Schools serve about 8,200 students in Centerville and Washington Township in southwest Ohio, offering a variety of educational programs to a diverse student population. The district operates 13 school buildings, as well as two preschools and a bus facility accommodating and servicing more than 120 buses that also transports daily to 14 public and 15 non-public schools. Visit www.centerville.k12.oh.us for more information.

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