Carlisle Superintendent Larry Hook said his new motto is “adapt and evolve” as the school district works to figure out how to educate students during the coronavirus pandemic.
Hook gave an update to the Carlisle Board of Education on Monday on the measures being taken to ensure students are learning under the extraordinary circumstances as a result of the pandemic that has closed the schools and many businesses.
He said staff had been instructed to have contacted all students by Monday and that tools such as Google Classroom are being used by high school students while younger students have been given instructional activities. Hook said if any students had not been contacted by their teachers, they were to contact their principals for follow up. In addition, some food service is being delivered to students to 10 locations in the district and at Grigsby Intermediate School.
However, Hook said things become “more problematic” as the age range of students goes down. He said some students do not have access to the internet or have devices such as laptops at home.
He said the district understands that they will not see performance outcomes and results as expected but that “this is a dramatic, unforeseen change.”
Hook said the district is aware of the state tests and the end of course exams that are required by law and hopes the state will grant some relief to the local districts as the federal government has already done. He said a lot of people have already been hurt by the pandemic in which their livelihood have been threatened as businesses and employers are being limited or shuttering.
“As of today, a lot of forgiveness is going to be needed from Columbus,” he said.
Hook said he feels for this year’s senior class as the pandemic is now is threatening the prom and graduation. He said neither event has been cancelled, but “you can’t make plans until we know.”
In other business, the board unanimously approved a tentative agreement with the Carlisle Teachers Association for a new three-year contract. The union represents 103 certified staff members.
The new contract, which goes into effect on July 1, 2020, includes a 2 percent increase each year of the pact. It also includes some language changes that moves the sixth grade to the elementary school instead of the middle school, Hook said.
He said there were no other changes to healthcare and other benefits.
The board also unanimously approved the retirement and rehiring of Hook as superintendent for one year, effective on Aug. 1 with a 10 percent reduction in his current annual salary of $146,516. Hook is completing his final year of a five-year contract which expires July 31.
He said last week that he would like to stay on for the opening of the district’s new $49 million school building serving pre-K through 12th-grade, which is expected at the beginning of the 2020-21 school year.
Prior to coming to Carlisle 10 years ago, Hook served as Springboro’s assistant school superintendent.
Several residents felt that it was time for Hook to move on and wanted a change in superintendents before the new building opens, while other residents and former board members praised Hook’s work in the district.
Hook was also praised for guiding the successful 6.2-mill bond issue campaign in 2017 when 67 percent of the voters approved the local funding for the new building, which has been under construction for about 14 months. The state is covering 59 percent of the costs, and the bond issue is covering the rest. District officials said the building project was “on time and on schedule.”
Hook was also a finalist for the superintendent’s job in Tipp City but was not selected from the field of 27 applicants.
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