GEORGETOWN — The Georgetown Exempted Schools Board of Education is looking into starting a mentoring and tutoring program with local church officials.
The program would bring anywhere between 20 to 30 volunteers to schools for one hour a week to tutor and mentor students. The volunteers will tutor children in kindergarten who are struggling with reading while the mentors will be assigned to middle school and high school students who have two or more suspensions on their record.
“We want people to have healthy relationships with these kids that struggle with a lot of aspects of their life,” Superintendent Christopher Burrows said.
Borrows and the local pastors council want to pilot the program in May and study it’s effectiveness before starting it fully next August for the upcoming school year.
The local teacher’s union, Georgetown Federation of Teachers, has offered to cover costs of any fingerprinting required for the program. Burrows said that GFT believed it would benefit the teachers and also show the community connection.
“I think it will just be overwhelming, the amount of people that will give, from 7:10-7:50 a.m., one hour a week to help a kid,” Burrows said. “And I think that at the end of the day, the mentors will gain as much from the students as the students will gain from the mentors.”
Kindergarten teachers are already putting together materials for tutors to use so they can be on the same page as the teachers while high school teacher Chad McKibben is putting together a packet for mentors.
Burrows is working with Church of Christ Minister Jason Galley and Georgetown Methodist Church Reverend Zedda Myers to start this program. If all goes well in May, the trio will put together a summer video campaign to place in all the town’s churches to encourage more participating in the mentor and tutor program.
Burrows next discussed with the board of education that there is a potential for Georgetown Schools to move from school days to hours.
“I think there’s a lot of advantages in making that move, in particular with the professional development that we can add into our calendar and not have to apply to the state for waiver days like we do now,” Burrows said.
In June 2013, Ohio Governor Josh Kasich signed into law a bill that mandates schools must have students for a minimum number of hours, instead of days. The law goes into effect for the 2014/2015 school year.
Schools that are operating under collective bargaining agreements dated prior to July 1, 2014 do not have to make the change for the next school year.
Finally, Burrows wrapped up by expressing his delight in the way the whole student body at Georgetown High School helped participate to motivate sophomores during OGT week. Burrows even said that some local businesses got involved in the school spirit, and that one day students formed a tunnel for the sophomores to run through as they entered school.
Later in the meeting, the board of education reviewed and passed the monthly financial report from Treasurer Eric Toole, passed a resolution accepting amounts and tax rates, and approved Toole to attend a public records training session.
The board also approved a contract to sign with Valtech Communications to be the school’s new telephone service provider. Toole said that the school would save around $1,200 per year due to state reimbursements and a lower monthly rate. The contract is a three-year deal.