By Brian R. Gerber

WBESC Superintendent

Educational 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.

Educational 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 and beyond.

Yours in Education.