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Alpena Public Schools kids get more help in pandemic

Courtesy Photo Alpena Public Schools teacher Melissa Jarema helps students while masked in a classroom in this photo provided by Alpena Public Schools.

ALPENA — Alpena Public Schools will participate in a program to help students struggling with the transition to online learning.

Assistant Superintendent of K-12 Curriculum Meaghan Gauthier on Tuesday told her school board’s Curriculum and Technology Committee the district was able to opt in to The Graduation Alliance’s Engage Michigan program, a state program to provide extra support for students.

“The purpose of it right now is to reach our kids who are not successful at engaging at school right now during the pandemic, whether that be kids who aren’t attending (in-person classes) or kids who have course failures,” she said.

Transitioning to online learning during the coronavirus pandemic has been a challenge for students.

Students who choose to participate in the Engage Michigan program will get an academic coach to work with them to answer questions, connect them with resources, and develop a plan to successfully finish the school year.

APS is allowed to recommend 725 students to participate in the program. Gauthier said the district is currently working to identify students who should be recommended.

Engage Michigan is available to APS students in kindergarten through 12th grade at no cost. Students qualify for the program if they:

∫ Did not engage in the district’s remote continuous education in the spring or fall of 2020

∫ Need intervention based on his or her absences or consistent disengagement in class

∫ Has disengaged in their education, is attending school irregularly, or is not progressing in his or her coursework

∫ Are in danger of failing one or more class

∫ Are low-income or are in foster care

Parents who may be interested in the program should reach out to their school administrator, Gauthier said.

Gauthier said the program will give the district more ways to reach students and that the program is similar to Northeast Michigan Community Service Agency’s School Success program, which also provides support and intervention to students.

She said school success workers have full caseloads and more families need support.

“That’s just exciting for us to have more capacity for our kids,” she said.

Crystal Nelson can be reached at 989-358-5687 or cnelson@thealpenanews.com.

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