Harlan County BOE approves speech therapy service

Published 10:50 am Friday, September 15, 2023

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The Harlan County School Board held a special meeting recently, discussing items including a contract for speech and language services at Evarts Elementary.

The board chairman called the meeting to order. Superintendent Brent Roark then called on exceptional child instructor Jennifer Brock to bring the board up to speed on the contract for speech and language services.

“Over the past couple of years, we’ve seen a great increase with our students that are requiring speech services,” Brock told the board. “Currently, our speech therapists at all the schools are either at their caseload max or very close to it.”

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According to Brock, two speech pathologists were posted over the summer.

“We did fill one of those positions,” Brock said. “But we were unable to fill the second position. So, we have a vacancy at Evarts Elementary School.”

Brock pointed out there are two speech therapists in the district who have been traveling to Evarts Elementary School to provide support for Evarts Elementary students.

“They are also carrying pretty full caseloads at their own schools,” Brock said. “I had reached out to our CO-OP to see if they had any recommendations, and this was after reaching out to local colleges to let them know we had this spot available.”

Brock advised the board on Illumii therapy.

“This is a virtual speech therapy, and there are a couple of other districts that are using this service,” Brock said. “They will provide speech therapy services, they do evaluations, but one of the things we are going to try to do is our students that need a little more intensive therapy will continue to be serviced by one of our speech therapists in the district.”

Brock presented the board with a contract to retain the services available from Illumii for Evarts Elementary School.

A board member asked if a speech therapist would be hired to replace the virtual service should a therapist become available.

“We have kept the job posting up,” Brock answered. “We are still looking to hire a speech therapist.”

The board passed a motion to enter into a contract with Illumii to provide speech therapy services at Evarts Elementary School.

The board also considered shortened school days and weeks for some special education students.

“We do have doctor’s statements to support that,” Brock told the board.

The board passed a motion approving shortened school days and weeks for various special education students.

In other board activity:
– The board approved a contract for physical therapy/athletic support for Harlan County High School.
– The board approved a trip for KCEOC JACES preschool to Arrow B. Ranch in Jonesville, VA.
– The board approved Cumberland Elementary School’s trip to LMU to participate in GEAR UP program.