Bexley schools in 2021: Superintendent search, more in-person learning on calendar
Bexley City Schools’ goals for 2021 include increasing in-person instruction time while adhering to COVID-19 coronavirus safety guidelines, continuing initiatives that focus on diversity,inclusion and students’ emotional well-being and a potential search for a superintendent, interim Superintendent Dan Good said.
The board of education agreed in mid-December to approve a new hybrid learning model for the semester that started Jan. 6. Administrators said the new model is designed to increase in-person instruction time.
“We are thrilled to have students return in person,” Good said.
Students in kindergarten through fifth grade will follow an a.m./p.m. model, with one group attending in-person classes in the morning and another group attending in the afternoon.
Students in sixth through 12 grades will alternate in-person and remote-learning days with no more than one remote-learning day between in-person classes.
The district also has streamlined the technology it employs to deliver remote learning, including making more webcams and computer microphones available to students, Good said.
“We have some new technology that will support students in quarantine,” he said. “When individuals are homebound via the health protocols, they will have more connection to teachers.”
The district is implementing a plan to recruit more substitute teachers to cover vacancies, Good said. As of mid-December, he said, 36 additional substitutes had been hired, many of them local residents.
“We should be able to fill our vacancies now because Bexley stepped up,” he said.
The board of education is expected to begin discussions about hiring a new superintendent in early 2021, Good said. The board appointed Good to the interim post in October after former superintendent Kimberly Pietsch Miller left to become superintendent of Eastland-Fairfield Career & Technical Schools.
Good, who has been superintendent of Columbus City Schools and the Westerville and Wooster school districts, said his contract with Bexley City Schools extends through June 2021.
“At some point in the first quarter of the year, the board will meet to discuss a succession plan,” he said.
The district also will search for a new director of student and community engagement, who will oversee diversity and inclusion programs and other initiatives related to students’ social and emotional development.
At its Dec. 15 meeting, the board of education accepted the resignation of Leisan Smith, whom Good said will join the Columbus School for Girls in a new role in mid-January.
While the search is conducted for Smith’s replacement, the district will implement training and programming that Smith outlined for the remainder of the 2020-21 academic year, Good said.
“We will continue to focus on anti-racism,” he said. “We have a plan in place to continue that work.”
As the coronavirus vaccine becomes more readily available as 2021 progresses, Good said he is hopeful that Bexley schools will be able to gradually return to in-person operations full time.
“As more people receive the vaccine, we will see more hope and optimism,” he said, “and the Bexley City Schools is reflective of that.”