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March 5, 2021 View as Webpage
Written by: Barbara Hammontree Bennett, PE, PS, LEED-AP – Vice President of Education and Workforce, Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce and Stark Education Partnership Board Member

Bold leadership is needed when it comes to the attention and action needed to not only educate our Stark County students, but to also address their mental and physical wellbeing during and after this pandemic. And from what I can see in Stark County, our superintendents, administrators, teachers and support staff at ALL of our Stark County schools have provided bold leadership to keep our Stark County students safe and in the face-to-face classroom setting.

Studies are showing that children are better off in a face-to-face instructional setting for many reasons including well-being checks, mental health issues, socialization skills and of course this is the best way to advance their education. The CDC confirms it is safe to open schools, and our kids need to be in school.
As of mid-January, one third of Ohio’s public schools have not gone back to face-to-face instruction yet. Stark County is one of the few of Ohio’s 88 counties to provide face-to-face instruction the entire year. And as of January, Canton City Schools is the only one of the eight major urban districts in the state to provide face to face instruction.

For this I applaud the Stark County school districts as I believe the superintendents and their staff members “get it”. Our Stark County Health Departments “get it”. Now we have to work to make sure our families “get it”.

The lingering effects of the stress and anxiety this year has placed on our students and our school staff are not known yet. As you can see, our county is – and will continue to be – a leader in advancing the entire well being of our students. As part of this, our Chamber Education Committee has developed a plan of action to encourage business engagement with our school systems. The plan will be rolled out through [the ACTION Online Newsletter] in the coming months.

Oh what a year – indeed!
The Stark Education Partnership (a 501(c)3 non-profit organization) collaborates with education, business, civic and community members across the entire spectrum – cradle to career – to create and respond to opportunities that will provide ALL students with education and career success.