May 24—Taylor Community School Corporation is targeting learning loss with its COVID-19 relief funds.
The school district received $834,000 in federal funding from the second wave of pandemic relief. It is set to receive more than $1.8 million in a third round of funding.
Some of these funds will go toward the creation of six new positions: three student support coaches and three behavioral specialists.
The student support staff positions will work with classrooms, small groups of students and individual students. There will be one assigned to each building: elementary, middle and high school.
Same goes for the behavioral specialists, one for each school building. These specialists will work with children to get them in a position where they are ready to learn, along with the school
"Before any student can learn, we have to have the appropriate behavior," said superintendent Chris Smith.
The district is contracted with Community Howard Behavioral Health, which offers mental health services, however they are not at Taylor every single day. The school-hired behavioral specialists will be.
"I'll have these people here every day," Smith told the school board earlier this month. "We'll help these kids who really need help."
Smith said they intend to have people for the positions approved next month. These staff will be on a temporary basis. Relief funding will afford the positions for the next three years, though Smith said they hope to find a way to make the jobs permanent in the long term.
The new staff is aimed at students who might have fallen behind due to the pandemic, virtual learning, quarantine and being out of the classroom.
"This is a huge win-win for Taylor putting our money into this," Smith said.
The district will also use some federal funding to reward staff for their work during the pandemic. Stipends of $500 for part-time staff and $1,000 for full-time staff members were approved by the school board on May 12.
"Everybody in our staff did something extra," Smith said. "We took care of everybody."
Spencer Durham can be reached at 765-454-8598, by email at email@example.com or on Twitter at @Durham_KT.