The Monroe County Community School Corporation Board discussed online programming for the 2021-22 school year and five policies regarding carrying weapons on property under MCCSC control or supervision at the MCCSC Board of Trustees meeting Tuesday night. Newly appointed board member Erin Cooperman also took her oath of office and became the official District 5 member.
The new online program, I Am MCCSC Online, allows any MCCSC students to receive virtual instruction from MCCSC teachers throughout the 2021-22 school year, said Markay Winston, assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction.
The MCCSC teachers selected for the program could teach courses in-person and virtually, but they won’t do both at the same time, like many teachers had to do this year, Winston said. Students may be grouped into certain classes with students from different schools, such as Bloomington High School North and BHS South.
Many of the classes will be taught live through Microsoft Teams, and the students will be expected to have their cameras on during instruction, Winston said.
Applications for the program open Wednesday and will stay open until May 14, Winston said. Based on the number of K-8 students interested, there may be a lottery from May 17 to 19 to determine which students can participate.
Students with health concerns will be given priority in the lottery, Winston said. In addition, minority groups, such as students with disabilities and Black or brown students, will be represented in the program in numbers proportional to their representation in the MCCSC, she said.
“If we had 12% of students with disabilities in our overall population, we would want to make sure that we had 12% of our seats, at least 12% of our seats, available to students with disabilities,” she said. “Equity is at the forefront of our recommendation.”
Parents and students will be informed on their acceptance or rejection into the program May 28. Before the school year starts Aug. 4, parents and students will participate in a mandatory orientation at a to-be-determined date.
Students who leave the program during the school year will not be allowed to re-enter, Winston said.
“We cannot accommodate the back-and-forth that we had to accommodate this past year,” she said. “It’s not fair to the student, and it’s really not fair to the teacher who is trying to juggle and manage many students in the classroom.”
The board also submitted five different safety-related policies for first reading, which is when the policy is seen for the first time at an official meeting. In total, these policies prohibit professional staff members, administrators, students, visitors, and support staff members from “possessing, storing, making, or using a weapon in any setting that is under the control and supervision of the Corporation for the purpose of school activities approved and authorized by the Corporation,” according to the policies’ text.
“In light of national and state-level events, as well as local community conversations, and in an effort to ensure that our schools are as safe and equitable as possible, the board has requested a first reading tonight of various MCCSC safety-related policies,” MCCSC Board President Cathy Fuentes-Rohwer said.
Fuentes-Rohwer also asked MCCSC Superintendent Judith DeMuth to write a policy for a second-and-final reading which would not allow school resource officers to carry weapons on school property.
Cooperman, who was appointed to the board by the unified Monroe County Circuit Court April 6, took the oath of office to become an MCCSC Board member at the meeting. Cooperman will fill the District 5 seat, which became vacant on Jan. 25 following the death of Keith Klein, who had been a member of the board since 2009.
“Everyone has been so kind and warm as I have been starting in this position,” she said at the end of the meeting. “I know I have big shoes to fill, in terms of filling Keith Klein’s position, and I am really looking forward to working with you all.”