MOESC’s Student Services Team Adaptations
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected everyone, and Mid-Ohio Educational Service Center (MOESC) is adapting to make sure that students continue to be served. This month, MOESC’s press releases will be focusing on showing the public what steps are being taken by each department or team. This fourth release will focus on the Student Services Team.
Mid-Ohio ESC Student Services staff includes Teachers; Intervention Specialists; Occupational, Physical, and Speech Language Therapists; Vision Specialists; School Psychologists; School Counselors; and Parent Mentors. Jennifer Crum, Director of Student Services, said her team jumped into action. “From the first day schools were closed on March 17th, MOESC student service providers began providing individualized instruction to their students, in the manner in which all students received instruction within each respective district.”
The following is a brief summary of the steps taken to adapt:
Staff have adapted their services so that parents and caregivers can help their children stay strong over the extended closure. Staff continue to collaboratively create instruction with their district teams including plans that are accessible, reasonable, and appropriate to best serve our students.
Mid-Ohio ESC and District Student Services administration and staff are communicating with parents to ensure that federal IDEA compliance timelines are met while establishing meeting times that are agreeable to all. Meetings are being conducted via phone conference or video conference.
Previously scheduled professional development opportunities are being reviewed and modified to support e-learning. In addition, new online professional development opportunities are being developed to support staff as they expand their knowledge of online curriculum tools and teaching supports. Those supports include: Google accounts/Drive and MS OneDrive support; Google classroom and surveys; Google Hangouts; and Zoom. Mid-Ohio ESC staff continue to network and share new online formats to provide multiple means of instruction and communication.
The Student Services Department will continue to assist its staff and districts in many ways during the extended building closures.
Crum said the changes have been met with both some difficulties as everyone changed their routines, but also some great successes. “There have been times over the past weeks where it has felt overwhelming and all-encompassing. And yet, it is amazing how our providers have adapted their services so that parents and caregivers can help their children stay strong over this extended closure. We have enthusiastically experienced moments of student success and engagement! Stories of students who are so engaged that they request additional opportunities to learn new skills via the online format! As providers, we want our students to be engaged and intrinsically motivated to learn more!”
Crum pointed out that many of the student service providers were personally taking on more professional development on learning to remotely reach their students. “I am most proud of the way in which our staff has committed to adding to their instructional repertoire ways to electronically connect with teaching teams, with families, and most importantly with students. We have many providers who have used digital tools before, but they were used to using it in the classroom in front of students. Through platforms like Google Classroom and Zoom, our teachers are excited about the ways to continue to use those digital instructional tools through online conferencing with students.”
Knowing that parents are a necessary and large piece to continuing services for their children, Mid-Ohio ESC’s Parent Mentors, Lindsey Schonauer-Howald and Cindy Wrobleski, collaborated with Ang Fetter, Special Education Consultant, to offer parents of students with disabilities an opportunity to network via Zoom Conferencing each Thursday evening of April at 7:00 p.m. Fetter has shared practices and tips with parents to promote positive academic and behavioral outcomes for children during the parent networking meetings.
"Some parents have expressed that they are completely overwhelmed with trying to balance work and having to facilitate learning at home for their children,” said Crum, “and the Zoom meetings have provided some comfort in knowing that they are ‘all in this together.’”