ECS Board reflects on online learning

By Braden Moles -

EATON — During the Eaton Community Schools Board of Education meeting on Monday, June 8, board members took an opportunity to reflect and review feedback from parents and students on experiences with online learning options implemented near the end of the school year due to COVID-19 restrictions.

According to school officials, 423 parents or guardians and 227 students responded to a student feedback form which asked questions about their experiences with online learning

Some students responded that they were very satisfied with the online experience, though the majority of respondents were either satisfied or neither satisfied or unsatisfied.

While results were mixed on the experiences of students with online learning, Assistant Superintendent Melissa Imhoff said that most were appreciate of the effort put in by the staff to make it a bearable experience.

“A lot of them responded that as much as they didn’t like being away from school and it was very challenging,” Imhoff said. “They appreciated all that we had done for them in such a quick response.”

Teachers will submit surveys as well and when combined with the feedback from students, the staff will use this information to help determine the best way to move forward in case remote learning is required again.

“Our goal was to take this information and then say, ‘If this happens again, how can we be better?’ We know it was not the best situation for a lot of people, including our teachers, our administrators, our kids,” Imhoff said. “It was just a very difficult situation that we know we need to learn from. That’s what education is. If we don’t learn something, then we did not do what we’re talking about.”

If the need does arise for remote learning again, a focus for the board is ensuring that they are prepared in case a shutdown happens suddenly like it did in the final months of the 2019-20 school year.

“Our students did not leave on their last day of [in-person] school with devices in hand, and we know we can do better,” Imhoff said.

Imhoff said that the biggest challenge will be helping families that had difficulty with internet connections at home.

Superintendent Jeff Parker said that the focus of this summer will be making sure the schools are prepared not only if they get shut down again, but if it happens as quickly as it did back in March.

“We will have enough Chromebooks that if the governor does the same thing, if we have to have an extended closure again, instead of having to have a Chromebook pickup two weeks when we’re into this, we can say, ‘Okay, [Gov. Mike DeWine] ordered us closed on Monday,’ which is what he did on a Thursday, and we can say on Friday, that’s our whole day, is gonna be getting those Chromebooks together so those kids can walk out with those Chromebooks on that Friday or if we come back on that Monday, they walk out on that Monday with it.”

Summer School

Another point of emphasis during the board meeting was the approval of the Summer School Program for students in grades K-5.

For students participating, classes will begin on June 22 and last for a total of 18 days until July 23. Students will have each Friday off in addition to the Wednesday and Thursday prior to the Fourth of July.

“We’ve worked with the Preble County Health Department and it really won’t look a whole lot different than what our summer school and K-5 has looked like in the past because they’re small classrooms anyways,” Parker said. “So we’ll be somewhere between 8-10 in each classroom.”

There will be a two-hour morning session and two-hour afternoon session with a cleaning period in between each session. This will help to maintain social distancing while ensuring that every student can get their time in.

It is recommended that students wear masks, but they will not be required. For parents or students who do not yet feel comfortable returning to classes or have health concerns, the school is offering an option to complete summer school through a remote learning option.

“One thing that will be different is we will be offering at least one remote learning summer school…on the letter that we’re going to send out to parents, they can let us know what they would prefer to do,” Parker said.

In other business:

•The board approved Superintendent Jeff Parker for a five-year contract, effective August 1, 2021, and ending July 31, 2026.

•The board approved the list of graduates for the Class of 2020.

The Eaton Community Schools Board of Education will hold a special board meeting on Monday, June 29, at 3 p.m. to wrap the fiscal year. The next regularly scheduled meeting will take place Monday, July 13, at East Elementary School, at 6 p.m.

By Braden Moles

Reach Braden Moles at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @BradenMoles

Reach Braden Moles at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @BradenMoles