BELOIT—School District of Beloit Interim Superintendent Dan Keyser said the district is meeting with community organizations to explore opportunities to help students and families during distance learning.
Keyser discussed the partnerships during a COVID-19 update to the board on Tuesday.
The School District of Beloit will offer online-only schooling for the first nine weeks of the of school year starting Sept. 8.
On Tuesday Keyser told the board he has been meeting with the Stateline Family YMCA, Community Action, Beloit Public Library and Stateline Boys & Girls Club to discuss collaboration.
Keyser said the Stateline Family YMCA has reached out and is offering low-cost opportunities for families to have their students be at the Y for the day where they would have access to Y services as well as opportunities for tutoring and wifi access.
According to information from Stateline Family YMCA CEO Ann Hankins, the YMCA Ironworks branch will offer remote learning days for families who need supervision for their kindergarten through fifth grade students weekdays from 6 a.m.—6 p.m. Students will be put in small cohorts to complete their distance learning assignments. Y staff will supervise students as they work independently. There is room for 20 students at the Ironworks branch.
Although there are fees, Hankins said Wisconsin Shares is accepted for the program, and YMCA financial assistance is available. No one will be turned away for inability to pay.
“In addition, we are working with the School District of Beloit and community partners including the Stateline Boys and Girls Club, Community Action and the library to look into other options in terms of drop-in tutoring options as well,” Hankins said.
Last week, the Stateline Boys & Girls Club, 1851 Moore St., Beloit, announced it will be offering essential full-time childcare with virtual learning support starting on Aug. 31.
Keyser said the Boys and Girls Club is asking for chairs and desks.
“We are very much happy to provide them with desks and chairs that we were going to surplus,” Keyser said.
Keyser said the Beloit Public Library will offer free online tutoring where students get homework help, submit questions, interact with tutors digitally, create online study groups and practice standardized tests online.
According to information from the Beloit Public Library, Arrowhead Library System’s Rock County public libraries are providing the service called Brainfuse to all library card holders from the public computers at Beloit Public Library or from any computer with internet connection. Brainfuse offers personalized homework help in core subjects as well as SAT preparation. It’s HelpNow program provides differentiated learning solutions for students who have the chance to communicate with live, online tutors. There is also a writing lab where students can obtain feedback.
Keyser said he and other Rock County superintendents continue to meet with the Rock County health department. The county is at just over 4 percent positive rate for 14 day average, a downward trend.
At Tuesday’s meeting the board also submitted two recommendations for the state—to waive standardized testing requirements and waive school funding tied to enrollment. The recommendations will be sent to the Wisconsin Association of School Boards (WASB). The WASB will consider recommendations from all over the state and will vote on which ones to recommend. If approved, the WASB would advocate it to the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, according to information from Board Vice President Megan Miller following the meeting.
“I think the enrollment resolution is important for the state because there are rural and other disadvantaged school districts that don’t have resources they need to respond to COVID-19. If they lose enrollment for this year, it seems harmful to already marginalized school districts to tie funding for their enrollment for this year because of COVID-19,” Miller said. “Due to COVID-19-specific challenges students are facing across the state, we’d like to give one more year for children to adapt and not have to focus on testing at the state level.”
Miller said school districts will still be monitoring student progress through Measures of Academic Progress (MAPs) tests to evaluate student learning.