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As Gordon County Schools nears the end of the most unusual school year in memory, exciting things are being planned for 2021-2022.

In line with the district’s strategic plan, expanded opportunities will bring academic and professional growth opportunities for staff and students beginning as early as this summer. Using Federal COVID Relief Grant Funds, the district will be able to provide many of these opportunities at no cost to families.

Gaps in face-to-face instructional time over the past year as schools all over the country have dealt with COVID closures and quarantines have created learning losses for many of our students. To ensure students have the best possible foundation for reaching their academic goals going into a new school year, Gordon County Schools will host a summer learning extension program focusing on continuity of services for students who may need additional instructional time. This summer extension program will provide select students in grades K – 12 the opportunity to participate in structured remediation and enrichment activities in district schools. Transportation will be provided for those in need of it. Additionally, all elementary and middle schools will each be provided an academic teacher interventionist whose focus will be on providing academic support to students who may have experienced learning loss due to interruptions in face-to-face instruction. These positions will be staffed by teachers-on-assignment for the next two years.

While VAL (Virtual At-Home Learning) provided an alternative this school year for students who were unable to attend school because of COVID concerns, the district is excited to welcome back all PreK-8th grade students to school campuses full-time for the 2021-2022 school year. Replacing VAL for high school students will be an all new opportunity called Gateway Virtual Learning Academy. This will be an application-based alternative to the traditional high school experience for students who choose to pursue it. With an in-person component for support and scheduled use of classroom space for those who do not have reliable internet access at home, the Gateway Academy will be a more permanent virtual option to promote student success in high school. Applications for the 2021-2022 Gateway Academy will be available beginning March 29 and will run through April 26.

At the other end of the educational spectrum are Gordon County’s preschoolers. To help prepare them for PreK, Gordon County Schools will begin offering Preschool Play and Learn (PAL) for 3-year-old children beginning in 2021-2022 and follow Gordon County Schools’ academic calendar. This tuition-based program will be housed at Belwood Elementary School and will be open to children throughout Gordon County, regardless of residence attendance zone. Registration for this program will begin later this spring and space will be limited.

Families can expect an absence of the traditional school supply lists to start the new school year, as the district will utilize COVID relief funds to purchase all requested supplies for each classroom in the district. This will continue each year that relief funds are available. Moreover, schools will receive additional water bottle refilling stations, and enhanced cleaning protocols in schools will continue indefinitely. Replacement technology for student use will also be provided through relief funds.

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