Crothersville officials provide update on school year


The 2019-20 calendar for Crothersville Community School Corp. recently was approved for the second time.

The first time was more than a year ago, months before the start of the school year. The second time was Monday night during a board of trustees meeting.

A revised calendar was necessary after schools were forced to close their doors until the end of the school year and use eLearning and state-approved waiver days because of the coronavirus and COVID-19 pandemic.

Superintendent Terry Goodin said the last student day will be May 1, the last day for noncertified employees is May 22 and the last teacher contract day is May 26. The revised calendar received unanimous approval.

“The teachers are doing a grandiose job,” Goodin said. “They’ve been reaching out to students. Every student has been contacted through this process. The folks who didn’t reply, we actually sent police to the home to do a welfare check to make sure everybody was OK, and it all worked out, so everybody is online and moving along.”

Board President Dale Schmelzle said he could see some challenges in homes with multiple children and parents having to add eLearning to their daily routine, especially if their internet is slow or the parents might not understand the homework or how the electronic device works.

“I could see how there might be troubles in all of this process, so the children might need some additional help, and are we providing the help that they are needing?” he asked.

“There are definitely struggles because this is something different, this is something new,” Goodin said. “Our students and staff are familiar with eLearning because we’ve been doing that, so it was a much easier transition for our school than it has been for some schools that have not done that traditionally. It has been a pretty smooth transition really.”

The corporation has been fully one-to-one since the 2016-17 school year, which has allowed Crothersville to use eLearning to make up for missed days.

Goodin encourages parents or students to reach out to their teacher if they have any issues with eLearning.

“The teachers have been going above and beyond to make sure everybody gets what they need. We don’t want anybody to feel overwhelmed or frustrated, so we want to make sure we do everything we can to help them,” he said.

“This is all less than ideal,” he said. “We want the kids here. Even though we’ve been through this before, this is still a learning process in this length of time for eLearning. I think our teachers are really doing well. I think our students and parents have stepped up. I can’t say enough. Everybody has kind of pitched in, and it has been a team effort, and we’ll continue to move forward. We just hope things continue to go smoothly.”

Trustee Linda Luedeman said the Indiana Department of Education has really emphasized showing grace to families because these are extenuating circumstances.

“It’s one of those deals where we’re going through this, and hopefully, this doesn’t extend into the fall,” Goodin said. “Let’s keep our fingers crossed.”

Luedeman asked Goodin about the plan for teachers between the last student day and the last day of their contract.

“They are going to be on their own,” Goodin said. “They will be trying to track down students that maybe didn’t do some work or something like that, trying to gather all of that information. They are under contract. The governor decided they can do what they want to do. There’s nothing really we can require them to do.”

Goodin also said both principals are conducting virtual meetings with the teachers.

Trustee Tiffany Reynolds asked about the noncertified employees. Some chose to stay home during the pandemic, while others are working. Either way, they are getting paid.

Goodin said some teachers have chosen to keep their aides as resources during eLearning, while others have not.

“The teachers are used to working with the certain aides that they have, and they are still working with them if they are able to do that,” he said. “Some of the teachers have decided not to do that. That’s their call.”

Students also are being served by picking up lunch at the school twice a week. On Monday, they can get food for that day, Tuesday and Wednesday. On Thursday, they receive food for that day, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Goodin said that will continue until at least May 1, possibly longer.

The Kids Pantry at First Baptist Church of Crothersville’s food pantry also is providing food for students.

“I do know a lot of parents have reached out to me and said that (the school providing lunch) is a huge help what you guys are doing as far as them being able to get the food,” Reynolds said.

As students have been out of school, Reynolds said she has noticed more people at the track with their animals on a leash or running loose. Goodin wants to remind people that pets are not allowed on school grounds.

“There are multiple people walking, which is fine, they are practicing social distancing, but I would hate for something to happen on the track with an animal and a kid get bit or a dog get loose or whatever,” Reynolds said.

Finally, Goodin gave an update on graduation. He said right now, the plan is to have a drive-thru ceremony.

“We’re going to try to have something on campus, everybody stays in their cars, nobody gets out,” he said. “We’re going to try to have a way for the students to be able to come get their diplomas. The weeds of it we’re still trying to work out. … We’re trying to figure out some type of a ceremony.”

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