Vigo County students to finish academic school year with in-person learning 4 days a week

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TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — With just weeks left in the academic school year, Vigo County School Board officials announce that in-person class will continue just 4 days a week.

“Keeping in routine was important to the board, so we will finish out in that way,” Superintendent Rob Haworth said.

Haworth says at this point in time, it’s his intent to see in-person classes five days a week next academic year.

Currently, Monday is used for an e-learning day, a topic the school corporation hopes to capitalize on to save enrollment numbers.

“People overestimate the number of students that are physically leaving us and going to our neighbors, what they underestimate is the number of students that are participating in online education … I think we will make a difference if we’re bold enough to say ‘let’s take our virtual shool and make it a commercial online school to attract from all over the state.'”

Haworth says Vigo County’s virtual school program is just two years old, but it’s his goal to attract students from the Indianapolis area. Right now VCSC has 13,449 students both online and in class.

But changes are on the horizon.

Garmong Construction won the bids on Monday to begin major renovations to Otter Creek Middle School. The project will build a second gym for the school, provide an orchestra room for students currently using the teacher’s lounge and other expansion projects. Construction will begin this summer.

Also rolling out this summer, a co-design parternship between Meadows Elementary School and the Boys and Girls Club.

Haworth says that project was supposed to start last year, but was delayed.

The club will have activities at this school this summer and next school year will provide tutoring and STEM lessons to students and potentially add a music program.

“That extra set of eyes on homework right after school to make sure it gets done. The partnership we have with using our curriculum in their after school activities creates this seamless transition, at least that’s what our hope is.”

A demonstration was also given at Monday’s meeting on “Thought Exchange,” which is an online tool so parents can provide feedback on VCSC projects. The tool was introduced to hear more from parents on what the corporation should do with it’s three high schools.

The audience was asked to scan a QR code and give some feedback on what they’d like to hear at future school board meetings. The purpose of this tool is to generate more feedback from parents whether they’re at meetings in-person or virtually. Feedback on VCSC’s three high school renovation plans is especially the focus of the tool.

“We hope to meet our parents and our community where we live and where we see them all the time and that’s on their phones,” Haworth said.

You can join Thought Exchange by going to TEJoin.com.

Haworth says officials hope to have vaccination clinics at all three high schools by the end of May.

The VCSC is to receive over $30 million in stimulus money from the Indiana Department of Education. The money set aside for school corporations is to address pandemic challenges schools continue to face.

At Monday’s meeting, Haworth says the school board plans to go back to strategic planning.
That’s to determine how the money will be spent.

Haworth says the school corp is just one year into a brand new strategic plan that didn’t account for a pandemic. They will not throw the current 5-year strategic plan out and that it’s been a great guiding tool for difficult times.

“There is great responsibility with the spending of those federal funds, so I believe we need to go back into strategic planning in may in order to address where exactly we believe those dollars should be spent.”

The federal stimulus money can be used to reimburse approved expenses up until september 2024.
Under federal requirements schools have to use at least 20 percent of funds to support accelerated learning.

That can be summer learning or afterschool programs.

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