By Jeff Gallatin
District officials are working on ways of providing as smooth a ride as possible for students adjusting to meeting new state reading requirements in the North Olmsted City School’s annual summer school program.
Lisa Ryan-Curtin, director of pupil services for the district, at a board of education work session Thursday discussed with the board and administration officials ways to upgrade the programs and alter transportation for the summer school sessions.
Ryan-Curtin said the program will again be at the middle school, which helps the district provide a better learning environment for the programs. She said the middle school has several advantages. She noted it is centrally located in the district, provides easy accessibility from the parking lot, is one of the summer school lunch program sites and has air-conditioned classrooms.
She said one major focus will be expansion of the summer reading program.
Larry Orrach, director of curriculum and instruction for the district, said this will help the district better prepare students for the state-mandated third-grade reading requirements for students.
He said the district is already working with students it has identified as needing help to meet the new reading requirements. Ryan-Curtin said the summer reading program will give them a stronger base and enhance their ability to learn for future years as well.
District officials said the programs will again be free, but the costs for transportation, $32,852 for the summer 2013 program, prompted the district to only provide transportation for families with mitigating circumstances. District officials said they will pursue options such as working with parents to set up carpools and accessible group transportation for the sessions.
This year, the school program will have both middle and high school students at the site, Ryan-Curtin said.
“This will provide a unique opportunity for the older students to act as mentors to the younger students,” she said.
After the meeting, Superintendent Mike Zalar said the district is working on providing the best possible summer program.
“The North Olmsted Schools have historically provided a well-rounded summer school program, at no cost, to the families of children with disabilities,” Zalar said. “We are looking for ways to reduce the operating costs of the program so that resources can be shared with more students.
“We would like to expand our summer school program to include second- and third-grade students who have either not passed, or are at risk of not passing, the Ohio Achievement Assessment (OAA). With the Third Grade Reading Guarantee coming into practice for the 2014-2015 school year, we will need to provide extra help and intervention services to those students who are in danger of being retained.
“As the requirements for high school graduation continue to increase, we are looking at providing additional opportunities for students to earn their math credits through a blended learning format. Blended learning is a combination of using computer technology in conjunction with direct teaching. It provides the student with both flexibility and access to Web-based instruction through the Internet. The wave of the future is using both teachers and technology to provide students with real-world, 21st-century learning skills.”