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Company pitches plan to boost BDD learning model

LISBON — With the COVID-19 pandemic emphasizing some of the areas needing improvement with the county Board of Developmental Disability’s programs, the board on Wednesday heard from John Theis of Whole Student Learning.

Theis presented the board with some ideas for making the programs to provide improvements to curriculum and better communication with the families and clients served by the CCBDD.

Not in favor of reinventing what teachers are currently doing for students, Theis said he believes his company can assist them in improving. He believes there are some great teachers who have already created great content for their students. His company would help them enhance what they are offering.

Additionally, he said every student needs a personalized educational plan, which includes various ways to help students with their specific needs. Some enhancements could include tutoring, project based learning kits and professional development for teachers. They would help with individual support for students, such as speech pathologists, occupational or physical therapy and technology support.

If the board wants to begin testing the new concepts in the fall, Superintendent Bill Devon suggested the board should make a decision by the next board meeting in April so work can begin. However, he also indicated he wanted to talk further with Theis about the ideas and possible costs.

One board member, Stephanie Champlin, who has sat in on committee meetings about the program Theis is suggesting, said she was in favor of moving forward. She approves of parents and teachers being able to find everything in one place for the student, an app that can be downloaded.

“I really feel this will be beneficial for everyone involved,” Champlin said.

In other mattes:

— The clients have been invited to attend a Movie Night with a Grease or 50’s theme at the Firestone Farms in Columbiana on March 26. The board approved $4,000 to cover the costs of refreshments for the event, which will be a celebration of Developmental Disabilities Month. Devon said the board is appreciative of Jeremy Mackall from Firestone Farms for making the event possible for the students. Orange Leaf Frozen Yogurt also will be involved, according to Devon.

— The board approved the graduation of six students from the Robert Bycroft School on May 20.

— The board approved an agreement with the Organizacion Civica Y Cultural Hispana Americana Inc. to provide interpretation and translation services for those Spanish speaking individuals the BDD programs are seeking to assist. Devon said there is a larger population in the Salem area and many are parents of young children needing early intervention services. The cost is $40 per hour.

djohnson@mojonews.com

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