Lorain City School District recognizes that all students and their families have been impacted by the pandemic unlike no other crisis during our lifetime. All of our students have been vulnerable during this unprecedented time. Also, we realize that students who encountered learning progress challenges prior to the pandemic faced challenges during the pandemic as well and that these challenges were likely exacerbated during the past year. Students and families in our district have been met with a wide range of non-academic barriers throughout this time. As a district, throughout the pandemic, we have invested time into personally connecting with and surveying our families to help us understand their needs so that we can serve through an equity lens. We will continue this personalized outreach as we continue to support our students’ learning pathways, social/emotional needs, and non-academic barriers.
The following services and programs are being developed in response to this feedback, and will continue to be evaluated through ongoing stakeholder input:
Increased Access to Technology | The Lorain City Schools will be expanding technology learning resources to those we serve in the following ways:
- Students: This fall all students will be provided with a personal ChromeBook, which will facilitate learning both in the classroom and at home. Please note that while learning will be held in-person this fall, students will be able to take their devices home so that learning can continue beyond the school day, on days in which they cannot be present at school, and during school closures.
- Staff: Beginning this summer all staff will be provided with a personal MacBook to replace the district's many antiquated and malfunctioning devices. This shift will also ensure all staff are universally accessing the same electronic platform, improving our ability to share documents, collaborate online, and support one another through our own professional learning needs.
- Community: We are exploring a partnership with the City of Lorain, Lorain Public Library System and others to provide free city-wide internet, helping to resolve accessibility inequities that have plagued our community for decades.
Extended Learning | The Lorain City Schools offered Summer Camp programming at every grade level to deliver face to face, hands-on opportunities that deeply engage our students beyond the school year. This approach is particularly important to our district as we seek to re-establish relationships and routines after a year in which our students spent the first semester of the year in a remote learning environment and the second semester of the year in a hybrid learning environment.
- Participation: The program was open to all district students as well as those needing targeted support based upon, but not limited to: Attendance rate (K-12); NWEA MAP and iReady diagnostic scores (K-8); Academic course achievement (9-12); Recommendation of Administrator, Teacher, School Counselor, Social Worker, etc. (K-12). We are pleased to share that alSummer Camp seats were filled before the regular school year concluded.
- Free to all: Summer Camp participants benefitted from free enrollment, free meals, free transportation, free before and after care, and free field trips.
- Partnerships: National Inventors Hall of Fame, Boys & Girls Clubs of Northeast Ohio, Cleveland Cavaliers, and the Lorain Historical Society, among others.
Expansion of the Arts | The Lorain City Schools have experienced a challenging financial past, resulting in major cuts to personnel, services and programming. As is often the case when cuts must be made, fine arts were among the first to go, even as there is overwhelming evidence that the arts have a dramatic positive impact within schools. Abundant research tells us that students who participate in the arts are more likely to graduate on time, have higher measures of self-efficacy and tend to score higher on state tests. We are rebuilding our arts experience in the following ways:
- Providing additional Visual and Performing Art teachers so that all students have access to fine arts programming
- Increasing the district budget for Visual and Performing Arts, ensuring programs are abundantly resourced for student exploration
- Increasing opportunities for extra-curricular arts programming by funding teacher supplementals that extend arts opportunities beyond the school day
Increasing Wraparound Services | Currently, MercyHealth - Lorain provides an array of basic medical services to students, families and community members through a medical clinic within Washington Elementary School. In response to family and community feedback, our schools will further expand wraparound services to include:
- Hiring additional social workers to help students, families and teachers address problems such as truancy, social withdrawal, overaggressive behaviors, rebelliousness, and the effects of special physical, emotional or economic problems. Social workers will also be called upon to help address issues such as substance abuse and sexuality issues in the higher grade levels
- Establishing partnerships to provide additional supports including dental care, vision care and mental health support
- Organizing Community Resource Rooms within our schools to safely and privately connect students and families to needed supports such as free legal aid, housing, financial supports, clothing, hygiene products, cleaning supplies and similar needs
- Hiring staff to implement and oversee the above services including an Executive Director and Director of Wraparound Services
Secondary Learning Continuity | The secondary learning team is extending and expanding coursework for students grades 6-12 through the following initiatives:
- Adding staff to teach high school courses at the middle school level, providing students in grades 6-8 with learning experiences in career technical education, early college, foreign languages, and extracurriculars previously offered only at the high school level
- Adding supports to our Success Academy alternative school so that students enrolled in this program have access to more robust coursework beyond English, Math and Social Studies.