Stepping Up: Early Childhood Resource Center; Youngstown City Schools

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Early Childhood Resource Center

AUSTINTOWN, Ohio — The Canton-based Early Childhood Resource Center is helping Temporary Pandemic Child Care programs to access resources, communication, mini-grants and staffing to stay operational and provide child care for essential workers during the COVID-19 crisis.

The center is also supporting parents by providing referrals to licensed Temporary Pandemic Child Care programs.

Available support includes:

  • Referring essential workers in need of child care to licensed Temporary Pandemic Child Care Programs that have openings.
  • Linking displaced child care workers with licensed Temporary Pandemic Child Care Programs that need workers.
  • Providing technical assistance, communication, and resources for Temporary Pandemic Child Care Programs, including mini-grants for supplies and equipment. 

Child care administrators, provider, and parents seeking information or resources can call the center at 877 691 8521. 

Youngstown City Schools Provide Virtual Training for Educators

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — While schools are closed to slow coronavirus spread, Youngstown City School District educators are hard at work, sharpening their vocabulary instruction skills through Keys to Literacy.

East High School launched its online professional development and coaching Wednesday, with 9th through 12th-grade teachers meeting virtually for the first time in teacher-based teams about the Key Vocabulary Routine. Other schools will follow using a virtual meeting platform as all 6th-through-12-grade teachers have been a part of the literacy initiative initiated this school year. 

“Aside from the engaging discourse, witnessing the camaraderie of the East staff being reunited, department by department with their building leaders, was very heartwarming,” said Maria Pappas, the district’s chief of core curriculum.

Improving scholars’ literacy is one of the early goals CEO Justin Jennings set as he began to craft his strategic plan for YCSD. Building background knowledge and vocabulary was the first step.

“Every teacher is a teacher of reading,” Jennings explained.

East High Principal Jeremy Batchelor lauded his staff for adapting to the challenging circumstances.

“Obviously we were not expecting to have to move to this mode of training,” he said. “However, our staff has been extraordinary in adjusting. Their professionalism and engagement in working through the state mandated closure has been second to none. The Keys to Literacy PD [professional development] has been a vital part of our work to address literacy in our district. The virtual professional development will allow us to continue that work at a high level. I am so proud of the participation and engagement that took place today on our first session and we’ve already scheduled a follow-up session.”

Christine Sawicki, chief academic officer for YCSD, agreed.

“Improving literacy instruction for all of our scholars has been the district’s main focus this year,” she said. “All of our staff members have been involved in ongoing literacy professional development sessions throughout the year. In order to continue this level of support and learning for our staff members during the mandated school shut down, we have scheduled several virtual professional development sessions for them. We commend them for their dedication each day and are impressed by their actions. Our staff has truly embraced the newly learned strategies this year as well as the new mode of professional development delivery.”

Schools shut down March 17 under Gov. Mike DeWine’s state-wide order. YCSD educators prepared packets of lessons that were sent home with scholars to last for three weeks and the district is preparing for another distribution of assignments in case the shutdown is extended beyond that time.

Keys to Literacy is a leading provider of literacy teacher training, curriculum, ongoing coaching and materials for educators across the country. 

When used across multiple grade levels, students benefit from a consistent approach to vocabulary instruction as they move from grade to grade and subject to subject. 

“That is the beauty of our work this year,” Pappas said. “We are making an impact through the use of a set of consistent, winning strategies to teach vocabulary across subject areas and grade levels.”

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.