As Whitehall City Schools begins the 2020s decade, district officials say equal emphasis will be put on providing the support at-risk students need and helping educators identify the best paths to reach those students.

"Every year, the goal for Whitehall schools remains the same, but the strategies for achieving that goal -- creating success through personalized learning for every student, every day -- vary from year to year," said Superintendent Brian Hamler.

The district is launching two initiatives in 2020 to stay on track in achieving the district's continuing goal, Hamler said.

Those two initiatives are the implementation of a multitiered system of supports, or MTSS, and a focus on improving teacher clarity, Hamler said.

"MTSS is a framework used to provide targeted support for struggling students through early interventions," Hamler said.

Teacher clarity is the measure of clear, two-way communication around four main areas of instruction: clarity of organization, clarity of explanation, clarity of examples and guided practice and clarity of assessment and learning, Hamler said.

"We believe if we provide the right supports and deliver instruction with great clarity, every students will succeed every day," Hamler said.

A new building addition at Rosemore Middle School, 4800 Langley Ave., also lies over the horizon in 2020.

Rosemore Middle School is 91,000 square feet with 32 typical classrooms; the expansion will add 28,000 square feet with eight classrooms, said Ty Debevoise, director of communications and marketing for Whitehall schools.

With the addition, Rosemore will be designed to accommodate 858 students, Debevoise said. The school's current enrollment is 743 students.

"We are hoping (to have it open) for the second half of the 2020-21 school year," Debevoise said.

Overseeing the expansion of Rosemore Middle School is among the most significant tasks of the school board next year, said board President Mike Adkins.

The board also will continue to lobby for additional state funding from the Ohio Department of Education in 2020.

"We're a capped district," Adkins said, which limits Whitehall's annual funding compared to similar districts.

The opening of a health center inside Whitehall-Yearling High School is another expected highlight for which the board paved the way in 2019, Adkins said.

The school-based health clinic will benefit the school district and the public and is the first school-based clinic in central Ohio, said Jenn Schehl, development and marketing director for Heart of Ohio Family Health Center.

With architectural fees and other expenses included, the total cost for construction is estimated at $90,000, which will be provided by the Educational Service Center of Central Ohio, Debevoise said.

kcorvo@thisweeknews.com

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