By Brian R. Gerber
Service Centers (ESCs) are celebrating 100 years of educational service.
ESCs were first established as county offices of education in 1914.
Western Buckeye ESC was previously known as the Paulding County Board of
Education and Van Wert County Board of Education. Over time, county
offices evolved from regulatory agencies to service-oriented agencies
and, in the mid-1990s, became ESCs and experienced several statutorily
required mergers and consolidations.
The Western Buckeye
Educational Service Center’s main objectives are to support improved
academic outcomes and reduce cost to partner schools through a shared
services delivery model. This includes sharing Speech, Occupational, and
Physical Therapists. We also share School Psychologists, Gifted
education and grant writing personnel. Western Buckeye ESC provides
curriculum directors and special education directors to meet the needs
of our partner schools. The overall goal of our agency and staff is to
positively impact student achievement. ESCs all over Ohio are providing
similar academic and operational support services to schools. As a
matter of fact, ninety-seven percent of school districts statewide are
actively engaged with their local ESC.
Other ESC instructional
services include Itinerant special education and related services staff,
paraprofessional support, preschool special education support, 21st
Century after-school programs, and Alternative Schools. Our Alternative
School tailors curriculum around the emotionally disabled students to
meet their specific learning needs. It also has an Opportunity side that
serves those students who need to recover credits in order to meet
graduation requirements. The administration and staff at the
Alternative/Opportunity School work together with partner school support
to develop a curriculum that will allow their students to succeed and
graduate. This is directly related to the economic vitality of our
community and state. These students range from the most gifted to the
most at-risk, including special needs students and other at-risk
populations such as dropouts and adjudicated youth.
Service Center noninstructional support services include bus driver
certification, bus driver physicals, teacher licensure, Ohio Bureau of
Criminal Investigation/FBI background checks, maintenance of LPDC
licensure and substitute list, security upgrades to the Alternative
School and Thomas Edison Early Childhood Building, parent mentoring,
county spelling bees, juvenile court liaisons, and student attendance
officers. We also work with our local schools by inputting data into
DASL in order to keep student files current. Western Buckeye ESC pays
for or subsidizes these programs in order to assist our partner schools
in keeping costs down.
Western Buckeye ESC is very proud of our
history of providing shared services that enhance student achievement
and drive down the cost to our partner schools by sharing staff to save
money for the good people of Paulding and Van Wert Counties. Assisting
our partner schools is an educational task we have been accustomed to
providing for the past 100 years since 1914. We look forward to
partnering with our schools and the state of Ohio for the next 100 years
Yours in Education.