Covington BOE hears online learning outcomes

By Aimee Hancock

ahancock@aimmediamidwest.com

COVINGTON — The Covington Exempted Village School District Board of Education discussed the SchoolsPLP online learning program and statistics from this year during its regular meeting Wednesday.

SchoolsPLP is a technology-based learning software used to facilitate remote learning. Covington, as well as many surrounding districts, offered this program to students who opted not to return to in-person schooling this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to Covington High School Principal Josh Meyer, participation in the program resulted in less than ideal outcomes for students.

“While the program was certainly necessary due to the unknowns of COVID, we found that many of our students who stayed out of school and learned online really struggled academically,” Meyer said. “The high school students who participated in the program experienced a high failure rate, earning as many Fs as A (grades). This is not what we expect at Covington, and it is our goal to get the students back in the classrooms next year so that we can help them return to their previous levels of success.”

Meyer also said many students who participated in the program were identified as “excessively absent or truant” in terms of online attendance.

“It is clear that the students who attended school in-person and learned from our teaching staff outpaced most of the students who participated in the online learning program,” said Superintendent Gene Gooding. “While there were students who did extremely well online, we have always believed that in-person learning is the best option for most students, and the data that we received this year certainly backs that up.”

In total, the district spent $117,680 to pay for the students’ online course work, according to Gooding.

“By providing this service, these students were able to remain Covington students and the district received state funding for them that more than covered the cost of the online program.”

Gooding said he agrees with Meyer that the goal is to get students back in the classroom.

“This option was certainly necessary this year due to the pandemic and the concerns that many students and parents had about returning to school,” Gooding said. “Hopefully, next year most of these students will return to the classroom where they can receive in-person help from our remarkable teaching staff.”

The following items were approved during Wednesday’s meeting:

• Commendations to Carlie Besecker in long jump and the 4×800 relay team, which includes Bennett Welborn, Asher Long, Mic Barhorst, and Devin Brummitt, for qualifying for the regional track meet. Congratulations to Bennett Welborn for placing fifth in the 1600 meter race and Asher Long for placing seventh in the 3200 meter race at the OHSAA regional track meet.

• Adoption of the 2022 J.R. Clarke Public Library budget, as the taxing authority for the library.

• A list of recipients of the 2021-2022 Covington Scholarship Fund and Felger Scholarship.

• Participation with ACE Digital Academy, an internet-based educational delivery system designed for grades K-12, providing alternative education options for credit deficiencies, alternative programs, students being schooled at home and/or summer school programs.

• Purchase of MAP Growth K-12 and MAP Reading Fluency add-on, at a total cost of $8,700 for the 2021-2022 school year.

• Testing of all school drinking water for Legionella by Pace Analytical for a total cost of $6,449. This is necessary due to the drinking fountains sitting idle while not in use during the past year due to COVID-19 restrictions.

• New Creations Counseling Services, at $16,500, for one day per week plus one day every other week.

The board held an executive session with no action taken. The next meeting will be held Wednesday, July 21, at 5:30 p.m., at Covington Elementary School.