Why an Indianapolis district turned to bus drivers to keep students on track
On a recent morning, several Wayne Township high school students missing class received wake-up calls. But it wasn’t a teacher calling, or a counselor. It was school bus driver Erica Woods, working double duty as a case manager to support students.
To keep high school seniors engaged and on track to graduate amid the pandemic, Wayne Township officials turned to a previously untapped resource: hourly employees still on payroll, but with time on their hands because students had switched to learning virtually.
Woods is one of 17 classified employees, or hourly staff, who served as the primary liaison for about 900 of the Indianapolis district’s seniors during eight weeks of virtual learning earlier this year. To safeguard against the pandemic, students learned remotely from Nov. 16 to Jan. 26. District administrators said the experiment was so successful that it will continue with 10 employees, even though high schoolers have moved on campus two days a week.
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