A series of staff changes the Bexley Board of Education is considering for the 2019-20 school year is part of the district's implementation of a strategic plan that the board adopted last August, said Superintendent Kimberly Pietsch Miller.

Miller and the board discussed the staff changes at the board's Feb. 11 meeting. Miller recommends the district hire three instructional coaches -- two at the elementary level, one in numeracy and one in literacy, and a general instruction coach for the middle school and high school. She also recommends hiring a coordinator of experiential learning and community engagement to coordinate internships and other hands-on learning experiences for students.

In addition, Miller has proposed increasing the hours of elementary school counselors from part time to full time.

Miller said the board approved the job descriptions for the instructional coaches in December and she will formally present the schedule increase for the elementary school counselors in April when certified contracts have traditionally been presented to the board.

The purpose of the discussion Feb. 11, she said, was to inform the public that the district plans to fully implement the strategic plan, which includes these positions.

"I have talked to our board members about these positions over the course of the year, really since we implemented our strategic plan," Miller said. "All in all, these positions represent a 1-percent increase in our budget."

The instructional coaches would replace the district's existing teacher leader positions, Miller said.

"We would post those positions," she said. "It could be the same people that apply, but it would be an application and an interview process."

Miller said the salaries for the positions would not be determined until candidates are hired.

"They will be teaching positions, paid in accordance with the negotiated teacher-salary scale," she said. "However, the cost of these positions is partially offset by the fact that we will no longer have the teacher-leader position. The coordinator of experiential learning salary will be determined based upon experience but will also be based upon the teacher scale."

The instructional coaches will rotate among Cassingham, Maryland and Montrose elementary schools and the middle and high schools, Miller said.

"The coaches then are able to work together also. Administrators are all working together," Miller said. "It really is creating a very collaborative culture to support teachers and impact instruction."

Board members said they support creating the new positions.

"I cannot tell you how excited I am to hear our faculty and administration drill down to the strategic plan. This is what we hoped would happen, as a board," said Melissa Lacroix. "I'm thrilled that this is based on research and (teachers') experiences."

Hiring the coordinator of experiential learning and community engagement would help students apply what they learn in the classroom to the real world, said board President John Barno.

"It's not only the academic sphere, but also in the everyday world of somebody that has something that they can offer our students," he said. "If we have somebody to coordinate that, I think that's really important."

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