MT utilizes ESSER funds for student success


By Martin Graham - mgraham@recordherald.com



Miami Trace Local Schools Superintendent Kim Pittser gave an update on the district Tuesday as they prepare to go back to school — including more information about the use of an Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) fund.

According to Pittser, Miami Trace will undergo changes this school year in both staffing as well as curriculum and program initiatives, all of which are connected to the District’s Strategic Plan. In addition, the ESSER funds will be utilized to support these operations and processes of the future.

“Schools in Ohio have access to one time grant money through the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund,” Pittser said. “Miami Trace has secured such funds for the next three years as they expire June 30, 2024. The district has determined allocations based on the needs assessments completed across the district by our administrative team. Additional personnel have been hired to assist with the framework for intervention known as the Multi Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS). There are five MTSS Specialists and five ESSER professionals assigned to the various buildings. These individuals will support the intervention processes implemented within our classrooms.”

Pittser also explained that Miami Trace has invested in educational activities that accomplish both closing the gap for struggling students and extending the learning for those students ready for more.

“The first summer learning academy took place this past summer and served over 250 students in the core areas,” Pittser wrote. “The district provided transportation and food service for all students who attended. This academy that centered on core instruction will continue the next three summers while the staff also incorporates STEAM camps. STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) camps expose students to concepts like coding and animation. More information regarding our summer academy 2022 and STEAM camps will be provided as it is determined by our staff.”

In addition to staffing personnel and summer intervention/enrichment activities, ESSER funds have also been used for cleaning supplies, masks, custodial equipment, a project to upgrade and improve air quality in school buildings, compensation for staff for the added responsibilities and duties as a result of the pandemic while operation in-person learning, and technology devices and internet connectivity for students.

According to Pittser, this year one of the main curriculum program initiatives for the district stems from the “District Strategic Plan Strategy 2: Create opportunities for students to identify and explore career field connections.” To assist this, the district has acquired a program called, “Naviance.”

“Naviance will help us assist students in finding their ‘E,’” New Secondary Curriculum Director, Ann Boerger said. “Their ‘E’ could be: education (meaning higher education), enlistment, employment, or entrepreneurship. We are excited to implement this program at both the middle school and high school buildings.”

Another initiative for the district is the creation and implementation of a “Digital Wellness Plan.” Technology director, Amy Gustin, and technology infrastructure coordinator, Jimmy Enochs, along with their district level committee, will lead the efforts in this design.

“The purpose in developing and implementing this plan is to address the health and safety of all students in a digital learning environment,” Gustin said recently. “With the influx of online learning platforms, it is important that our students receive this support.”

“The goal is for every student to acquire the technology tools to gain a positive experience on their educational journey,” Pittser wrote. “All of these aspects connect to our district strategic plan in the areas of teaching and learning and district operations. Our goal remains to provide opportunities for and relationships with our students that will foster their roads to success. These are just a couple of the programs being implemented within the Miami Trace District. We are thankful for our staff dedication and family and community support as we continue to expand the well-rounded education experience fostered at Miami Trace.”

Reach Martin Graham at (740) 313-0351 or on Twitter @MartiTheNewsGuy.

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By Martin Graham

mgraham@recordherald.com