Grate talks 2020 school district initiatives

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Westfield Washington Schools has fostered a growth mindset for the new decade.

Supt. Sherry Grate said as the district grows, it is planning to be proactive and deliberate about projects.

“The school district has been very strategic to address growth,” said Grate, citing in-progress projects such as the expansion and renovation of the intermediate, middle and high schools.

“We are in the process of wrapping up the intermediate and middle schools,” she said. “At the high school, those projects are ongoing through 2020, so we will continue to work through those phases.”

Other 2020 plans include further establishing the eLearning program as well as strengthening Wellbeing Coalition relationships.

“We are in (the second year) of eLearning. While we have not exactly had the polar vortex just yet, we are ready to go in case that might happen this winter,” Grate said. “After the first year of eLearning, we got some great feedback from students, staff and families we used to refine processes for year two.”

The district is continuing its relationship with the City of Westfield and the Hamilton County Community Foundation to enhance the Wellbeing Coalition.

“This is about what we can do to address the needs of youth, adults and seniors,” Grate said.

Another recent implementation is Purposity, an app that posts community needs to for others to fill.

Another focus of WWS in 2020 is continuing to work with social/emotional learning.

“That ties in well with the work of the Wellbeing Coalition. We are very focused on removing barriers for access to care for social/emotional needs of students of all levels,” Grate said.

A new partnership with St. Vincent provides licensed mental health counselors at each of the district’s schools.

Sometime in the near future, the district will launch an app connected to the WWS transportation department.

“Soon, we are going to be able to rollout an app tied to our transportation department where parents will be able to see where buses are on their routes and have an idea when their child will be picked up or where the child is on their route or when they may be delivered home,” Grate said. “That will streamline communication between transportation and our families, and we look forward to this being another communication tool.”

A release date for the app has not been determined.

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