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Elementary School's $5 Million Renovation Planned in Ludlow

A $5 million renovation of Mary A. Goetz School in Ludlow was explored last week at the Ludlow board of education meeting.

Superintendent Michael Borchers said that the district needs to maintain its competitiveness.

"We want our district in good shape," said Borchers.

Additionally, Ludlow Independent Schools will contract with a firm well-known in the area to improve the district's branding, with a goal of embedding that brand throughout the district, Borchers said.

Ludlow Schools will also improve its social media use, he said, along with a redesign of other digital resources such as the website.

At last week's board meeting, members saw a presentation on the district's bonding power. The district's current bonding is $3.66 million with its available bonding at $5.1 million.

Urgent needs funding for the district is $25.8 million.

With that report, the board learned of the plans for renovating Mary A. Goetz, a project expected to include full renovations of classrooms with new ceilings and flooring, and renovation of restrooms and offices, new doors for classrooms, upgrades to technology, and a new security system.

The project is expected to start next summer.

Renovation of Ludlow High School would also be on the horizon in the near future, it was reported last week.

In other district business, Dr. Jason Steffen, the district's director of teaching and learning, reported on student remediation efforts.

In the seventh and eighth grades, there are 25 students in remedial reading, and 25 students in remedial math in each grade, and the goal is to give those students a double dose of the reading or math each day until they are very close to grade level, and then those students are moved out of the program, and more students are moved in.

The program is repeated in all the grades to an extent, and the students are showing definite improvement, Steffen said. 

In the younger grades, the focus is on phonics based programs to help the beginning readers.

"We know this will not be turned around overnight," said Steffen. "The goal is to get everyone to where they need to be by the end of the school year." 

Board member Wesley Dorger asked if the premise of third grade reading proficiency being the biggest predictor of high school graduation is taken into consideration, and Steffen said that it was one of the indicators they rely on.

-Patricia A. Scheyer, RCN contributor