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Fort Frye BOE hears from Educational Service Center superintendent

BEVERLY — The Ohio Valley Educational Service Center is for casual onlookers a behind-the-scenes operation. The center’s superintendent, Andy Brooks, brought it out to the forefront at a meeting of the Fort Frye Local Schools board of education Wednesday night.

Brooks said he’s on an introductory tour, having taken charge of the center about 10 months ago, and he also wanted to advise local education leaders of new initiatives coming up.

The ESC already provides preschool services for the district at Lowell Elementary School.

“There’s a waiting list there, and we would love to see you expand it,” he said. The center, he said, also is in the process of establishing mental health services for preschool children through a partnership with L&P Services and a grant being sought from the Washington County Behavioral Health Board.

“It’s the first opportunity to address mental illness and trauma in preschoolers,” he said.

Brooks also noted the ESC’s applications for grants related to helping children read.

“We’re applying for the next round of grants for striving readers, and we want to be able to set up model classrooms for the region,” he said. “There’s also the Heroes project, a partnership with The Ohio State University, preparing intervention specialists to teach children who are challenged with reading.”

The ESC also is offering a virtual academy for children who aren’t adapting well to traditional schools, either for individual classes or a full curriculum. Brooks explained that those children often turn to homeschooling or independent online schools, but being able to offer a virtual academy would give Fort Frye the chance to keep those children in the school district while still providing an alternative method of study.

The ESC also provides special needs instruction through Ewing School in Marietta, occupational, speech and physical therapy, staff development, data assistance and legal resources for schools.

“We’re continually exploring other ideas,” he said.

In other matters, the board:

¯ Welcomed a class of about 20 seniors who sat in as part of their government class

¯ Approved five supplemental contracts

¯ Authorized the purchase of a new school bus for $91,983

The next regular meeting of the board is scheduled for 6 p.m. March 19 at Lowell Elementary School.

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