Township of Houghton-Portage. focus on elementary intervention | News, Sports, Jobs

HOUGHTON — Michigan K-12 schools will be able to apply for public funds to address student learning loss during the pandemic.

Superintendent Anders Hill made a presentation on the funds at Monday’s district council meeting, a requirement of the grant application.

Public Law 144, which went into effect in June, provides $52.056 million from the Governor’s Education Emergency Relief Fund (GEER) and the Federal Elementary and Schools Emergency Relief Fund. Secondary (ESSER) II.

The amount available for Houghton has not been announced, but could be as high as $50 per student, Hill said.

School benchmarks show elementary grades starting at lower levels than before the pandemic, Hill said.

The district is considering adding or expanding small group interventions, particularly at the K-5 level.

“If we can intervene early in children’s lives, we prepare them to succeed later in school,” said Hill.

Because the funding disappears after a year, the best-case scenario is to spend it on staff, Hill said.

“Sometimes with small group interventions, if you can hire the right people to work part-time, getting extra help for the kids helps them catch up,” he said.

The funds would also be used to increase access to technology and behavioral interventions for students. Hill is particularly looking to increase behavioral interventions for younger students, who have more needs.

The district will measure progress through benchmark assessments in math and reading, as well as state-standardized tests and social-emotional filters the district is adding this year.

Hill’s presentation will be summarized in a Powerpoint presentation that will be posted on the transparency page of the district’s website.

In other actions, the council:

• Heard a public comment from a parent of a sixth grade student, who was concerned about the harassment, violence and targeted abuse his child had suffered from another student in his class.

• Hiring of Helen Gerard and Annemarie Meyer as part-time second-grade teachers and Luke Skewis as elementary reading and math facilitators. Both mother and daughter are former district teachers.

• Approved a daily rate of $120 for substitute teachers, up from $110 previously. Districts hire teachers through the WillSub system, in which teachers choose the districts in which they wish to work. The $120 fare puts the district in line with three or four other districts in the area, Hill said.

“Not sure if that extra $10 is going to increase our subpool,” said Hill. “But we certainly want to keep the subs we have and make sure we’re competitive with those rates.”

• Heard from Hill, the district is holding a strategic plan meeting at 6:00 pm Monday at the high school library to get community feedback on the district’s strategic plan.

• Heard by Elementary Principal Cole Klein, the school would celebrate the second annual Rock Your School, where local musicians come to the school and play as students walk in and clash during school hour. lunch and recess. He also thanked Bob Wheeler for his efforts with the John Wheeler Memorial Fund, which donated $50 per teacher to purchase non-fiction books on science, nature and the outdoors.

• Approved the hiring of winter coaches for the 2022-23 school year. New this year are Skewis, who will coach freshman boys basketball, and varsity swim coach Kelly Weiss.

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