The Educational Service Center of Lorain County is one of the area’s best-kept secrets if you ask superintendent Greg Ring.  
The 101-year-old organization serves and supports the 14 school districts and 42,000 students in the county with 160 full-time employees and another 50 part-time workers. Think everything from programs for gifted students to technology resources and the Lorain Spelling Bee to a County Art Show for students and Early Learning Center preschool for special needs students and typical peer students. 
“We really do touch so many parts of the educational mission of our districts. We operate a little bit behind the scenes, but we can work in a shared service environment to really help them drive down costs and provide really quality services,” Ring says. “It’s all good work.”
One particular program close to Ring’s professional heart is the AntiVirus curriculum, a second-year character education program that was embraced by nearly a quarter of the districts in the 2016-17 school year. 
The 10-week program is targeted to seventh-graders, Ring says. Professional mentors go to the schools for 50 minutes to teach the traits of responsibility, hard work, ambition, emotions, restraint, common sense and generosity. 
“As an educator, a principal and a local superintendent, I’ve always felt our mission as educators, it’s more than just knowledge,” he says. “I think we have an obligation to foster goodness and those things you have to have to be successful in life.” 
The Educational Service Center of Lorain County (ESCLC) also provides delinquent education programs, homeless education and professional development for teachers and administrators. 
“Truly, we view ourselves as the hub of the county to meet the various mandates that come from the state and legislation, as well as to meet the needs of every district,” says Moira Erwine, senior director of professional development and curriculum and instruction. “We believe that, through our services, we’re establishing a legacy, as well as working toward supporting achievement (and) closing achievement gaps, while establishing a level of performance that’s expected by our districts.”  

Helping Hands 

Building on the success of the Educational Service Center of Lorain County’s first multi-district professional day held in fall 2016, an estimated 800 teachers, administrators and service providers in the Clearview, Columbia, Firelands, Keystone, Sheffield/Sheffield Lake, Oberlin and Wellington school districts will be participating in a Common Professional Development Day on Nov. 6 at Lorain County Community College. 

“Sharing services on this professional development day will save each of the seven districts a conservative estimate of $7,000,” says Moira Erwine, senior director of professional development and curriculum and instruction, adding that Lorain County Community College is sponsoring the venue.

Participants will start their day with a keynote presentation from internationally renowned speaker and author Jack Berckemeyer. Then they will select from 50 sessions designed to meet their professional development needs and allow them to develop strategies that will have a direct impact on student achievement.