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Coronavirus pandemic alters Quest for Success format

STEUBENVILLE –The 21st Century Quest for Success is altering its program in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic and youth will now participate in a blended format.

The program, which is now in its fourth year, is provided through the Jefferson County Educational Service Center and serves Jefferson County students in grades five through eight who attend the Buckeye Local, Edison Local, Indian Creek Local, Steubenville City and Toronto City school districts as well as Bishop John Mussio, the School of Bright Promise and Jefferson County Christian School. Quest for Success partners with Brightway Center, Coleman Professional Services, Franciscan University of Steubenville and the Ohio Valley Youth Network with the goal of increasing opportunities for student success in literacy, mathematics, social development, family support and community involvement.

Officials said remote centers will be offered to continue programming for youth in grades five through eight around the county. Quest for Success will operate Monday to Thursday from 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. at its location along 2550 Cherry Ave. in Steubenville but will continue remotely from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. through JCESC and the Ohio Valley Youth Network, which are also in Steubenville.

“In response to COVID and the Restart Program implemented by the Ohio Department of Education and 21st Century Quest for Success, we have taken a blended approach this year,” said JCESC Administrator Mark Masloski, who serves as program manager. “We had a conference with ODE officials and there are measures for assessing student health, practicing physical distancing, sanitizing surfaces, exercising good hygiene, wearing masks and other components relevant to a student’s daily journey — from stepping on the school bus, to learning in the classroom and eating in the cafeteria. There also are considerations for ensuring equity, social-emotional learning and behavioral health; approaches for professional development and effective remote learning; and ideas for assessing students’ learning needs and meeting them where they are.”

About 150 students from throughout the county are participating in on-site activities such as character education, On Track, individual tutoring, culinary arts and social-emotional learning while remote subjects include academic tutoring, literacy and math intervention, crafts, a Young Entrepreneurs/Financial Literacy class, chess club, drama and acting, martial arts, youth “Jobs for Life” and computer lab time.

Quest for Success utilizes Renaissance and North West Evaluation Association academic programs and conducts activities with its community partners during the after-school sessions. Coleman Professional Services provides counselors to support students’ social development; Brightway Center has offered programming aimed at promoting positive relationships and decision-making; the university education department hosts family literacy events; and the JCESC provides programs to promote college and career readiness skills. Masloski noted that COVID restrictions have impacted activities at Brightway Center, for now, but there are hopes to conduct other events that are fun and educational.

“We are planning to do the Dome Theater science education series in the spring based on county health department regulations and another Christmas dinner with all health department regulations adhered to,” he continued.

Quest for Success is made possible through a five-year, $850,000 grant from the Ohio Department of Education. The grant provides $200,000 annually for the first three years, followed by $150,000 during year four and $100,000 the final year.

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