Home program meets 'very important need'

April 27, 2003|by ANDREA ROWLAND

Public school systems in the Tri-State area provide minimal home instruction for students with physical illnesses and emotional and behavioral problems.

Washington County's Home and Hospital Instruction program "meets a very important need," said Jim Russell, guidance supervisor for the county Board of Education.

"We certainly can't afford for students to get behind in school, and the program is a link back to their homeroom teacher, their school and their class," Russell said.


The program pairs students unable to attend school for three weeks or more with adults - all of whom are at least qualified as substitute teachers - for six hours a week of one-on-one instruction, Russell said.

The state Department of Education established the six-hour standard - a minimum to which home instructors usually add independent assignments, he said.

The program's part-time instructor roster includes 66 people who help students learn skills needed to complete course work mapped out by classroom teachers, Russell said.

Physicians or licensed psychologists have recommended about 165 students for the program since the 2002-03 school year began last August, and about 50 students currently receive home and hospital instruction, Russell said.

In Berkeley County, W.Va., certified teachers this year have provided about 200 eligible students with at least four hours per week of home instruction, said Dave Marchette, coordinator of the county's Homebound Instruction program.

"It's like a second job for our teachers," he said.

Certified teachers provide at least five hours a week of home instruction for eligible students in the Chambersburg (Pa.) Area School District, said Ted Rabold, assistant superintendent for pupil personnel services.

About 21 students are enrolled in the school district's Homebound Instruction program, Rabold said.

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