Local principals visit area schools in ESD-sponsored program

January 10, 2024

Brad Francis showed local principals the concepts of his Hart High School class.

Local principals visit area schools in ESD-sponsored program

West Shore School News is presented by West Shore Educational Service District in partnership with Mason County Press and Oceana County Press.

HART —Recently, groups of local principals set aside a morning to visit classrooms in several different school districts in the West Shore Educational Service District, which includes Mason, Lake and Oceana counties. The ESD’s Instructional Services Department coordinates and pulls together the educator groups who participate in traveling to the various schools.

“For school leaders, Instructional Rounds delivers a solid return on the investment of their time,” said Amy Taranko, the West Shore ESD assistant superintendent of Instructional Services.

“The leaders are able to observe and talk about a variety of teaching and classroom management practices,” Taranko said. “This helps them affirm the good strategies they’re already doing back in their districts and also helps them see new possibilities as well.”

An example of a valuable and inspiring Instructional Rounds visit was the group’s observation of the Adaptive Physical Education Class at Hart High School taught by Brad Francis.

The Adaptive P.E. Class combines 18 general education students with nine students with disabilities from the ESD’s program for moderate cognitive impairments (MoCI) located in Hart High School.

While Francis is a teacher for Hart Public Schools, the MoCI program (also known as the Oceana County Stargazers) is taught by ESD special education teacher Mia Altland. The ESD students range in ages from 16-26.

Francis has an uncanny ability for nurturing peer-to-peer support and all 27 students in Adaptive P.E. learn from each other and build relationships.

“My objective is to structure a class that sparks movement and physical activity for every student,” said Francis. “And, because the students enjoy and encourage each other so much, it happens!”

Students in Altland’s MoCI program who have visual impairments or are in wheelchairs also get in their exercise with the support of ESD paraprofessionals Kim Scofield and Jeannie Miskosky.

“It’s easy to see why Brad’s Adaptive P.E. Class impressed everyone in the Instructional Rounds group,” said Taranko. “This is just one example of the fantastic teaching and learning taking place throughout our region that few people are fortunate enough to see in action.”