Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Ironwood board passes extended learning plan


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Ironwood -- In what will likely be the first of many such votes, the Ironwood Area Schools’ board of education approved the district’s Extended Continuity of Learning Plan Monday.

Superintendent Travis Powell said the plan contains a fair amount of overlap with the similar plans the district has passed since the start of the pandemic in March.

The document lays out how the district will educate students if they are forced to stop in-person learning again due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The big difference between the plan approved Monday and the policies the district already put in place is the focus on how students would be assessed if in-person learning can’t take place.

“The main thing about the extended continuity of learning plan is that it adds requirements for the school to identify benchmarks and progress targets, and then methods for assessing student growth towards those targets,” Powell told the Daily Globe after the meeting. “Those were pieces that had not previously been specifically included in the Preparedness and Response Plan or the original Continuity of Learning Plan. That’s the main focus of the extended Continuity of Learning Plan.”

During the meeting, Powell said the state is requiring the board review and reaffirm the plan each month. The document has already been approved by the Gogebic-Ontonagon Intermediate School District.

In other action, the board:

-Heard that the lawsuit the district was involved in regarding whether the relevant insurance companies had to pay several local governmental bodies money in connection to former Ironwood Township Treasurer Jyl Olson-DeRosso’s embezzlement case has been settled and the money is expected to be distributed later this week.

—Approved a one-year contract with the GOISD to enable the GOISD to continue providing special education services to its member districts.

—Heard information on the renewal of the district’s operating millage which will be on the Nov. 3 ballot.

—Passed a motion reaffirming the board’s previous decisions that have been made during the virtual board meetings over the course of the pandemic. The motion was in response to the recent Michigan Supreme Court ruling limiting Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s power to issue executive orders as part of her effort to combat the spread of COVID-19 in the state, Powell said after the meeting, including orders allowing local governing bodies to meet remotely. He explained that as the court ruling was retroactive, the district was advised to make a motion reaffirming the decisions made during recent meetings as a precautionary redundancy -- even though the meetings were legal at the time they were held.

—Authorized the district to seek bids for its motor oil contract and to purchase a new dishwasher for the school kitchen.

—Approved the monthly personnel policy.

—Renewed the district’s membership in the Ironwood Area Chamber of Commerce.

—Approved the 2020-2021 parent-student handbook and addendums to the district’s distance or remote learning goals and expectations.

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