22 percent of Troy students opt for e-learning

TROY — The Troy City School District Board of Education heard an update regarding online learning for the upcoming school year during its regular meeting on Monday.

According to Superintendent Chris Piper, 944 students have been signed up for the district’s e-learning option for the first semester out of a total of 4,200 registered TCS students.

A total of 508 elementary students in grades kindergarten through fifth grade and their parents elected for the virtual option, along with 80 sixth-graders, 142 junior high students, and just under 200 high school students.

Registration for online learning ended last week and the next step, Piper said, is to secure and finalize adequate staffing for each school and for all virtual classes.

“This poses different challenges for different grade levels,” Piper said. “With K-5, we have six buildings that have different numbers of students in different grade levels, so what we have to look at there is how many students are in each building, how many of those will go online, and how many will be left to determine how many staff members we will need.”

Piper said the district will have to get a bit “creative” in order to find a balance of students and teachers within the buildings. Though details regarding staffing are still being hashed out, he noted combining grade levels as a possible tactic.

“(Combining classes) is not something that is unknown to us,” he said. “We’ve done it before and many schools do that, but that might be something we have to do in some of those buildings to get class sizes that are appropriate and also to free people up to teach the online courses.”

Piper said while some school districts have decided to put e-learning students on online platforms that are separate from the schools themselves, TCS virtual courses will be taught by Troy teachers.

“We think that personal connection is that important,” Piper said. “Our approach is harder, frankly; it’s going to be harder for the administration to work through, it’s going to be harder for teachers to wrap their minds around, but I much prefer that versus putting (students) on an online canned curriculum that’s just easier to accomplish.”

Piper also shared information regarding board policy updates, which will include a policy regarding the use of face masks, which will be required for all students from kindergarten to grade 12. This specific policy information will be distributed to students and parents.

Board member Ginny Beamish gave an update regarding the Upper Valley Career Center’s decision for the upcoming school year.

“They have chosen to do the blended model,” she said. “They have divided the student body in half and they will go on alternate days and alternate Fridays.”

In other business, the board:

• Approved Then and Now purchase orders in the amount of $21,534.25, paid to Frontier, EMS LINQ Inc., Combustion Equipment, and Winner’s Computer.

• Approved a list of monetary donations in the amount of $111,261.58, as well as donations of supplies.

• Approved a resolution to establish petty cash accounts for the school year 2020-2021.

• Approved new/revised policies regarding non-discrimination on the basis of sex in district programs or activities and standards-based teacher evaluations.

• Approved a contract with Troy Christian Schools for student transportation, as required by Ohio law, though for years, Troy Christian Schools has agreed, as is permitted by Ohio law, to operate their own buses.

• Approved the 2020-2021 bus stop schedule.

• Approved a resolution to allow the district to advertise and receive bids for the purchase of two school buses.

• Gave approval for the application of grants for federal programs.

• Approved a list of resignations, retirements, substitutes, and volunteers for the 2020-2021 school year.