Local schools to utilize 'eLearning day' in response to missed classroom time
Following an application process managed by the Berkeley County School District Office of Technology, BCSD was one of 10 school districts approved this year for the second phase of a South Carolina Department of Education eLearning pilot. BCSD is the largest school district participating in the program, according to a press release.
More than 20 districts looked to join the second year of the program, which allows students to remotely make up days missed for inclement weather. BCSD was selected for the pilot following a review of all applications and a scoring process.
Should BCSD experience inclement weather, such as last week’s Hurricane Dorian closures, the designated inclement weather instructional calendar dates will be used for students to participate in instruction from home through primarily virtual methods. Teachers will attend school during regular work hours and be able to communicate virtually or by phone to support students who are working from home. There will also be tech support available from the Office of Technology. Teachers may use the remainder of the day as a workday.
“This is an amazing opportunity for our students and teachers,” said BCSD Superintendent Dr. Eddie Ingram. “Teachers value their workdays, and our students benefit from that ability to plan and reflect at different points in the school year. We are also very appreciative of the work done by our Office of Technology to gain approval for this program.”
BCSD Chief Information and Technology Officer Diane Driggers said the district’s acceptance in the eLearning pilot is a “true culmination” of work being done behind the scenes at BCSD for several years.
“If we didn’t have the equipment in place, if our students didn’t have access to the Chromebooks and other technology, this wouldn’t be possible,” she said.
In addition, grants providing students with internet hotspots and the recently-launched partnership with Home Telecom providing free internet in some homes, build a foundation for what Driggers believes will be a successful pilot.
“It’s been quite a journey to get to this point. This is our 4th year having Chromebooks. The fact that we are at a point where we have 36,000 Chromebooks and all teachers have laptops, really makes all our efforts come together,” she said.
Accommodations will be made for primary age students and those without internet service. Students will have three days to make up work if they are unable to complete assignments on the designated eLearning day. If work is not completed in that three-day period, the student will be marked absent.
BCSD 2019-20 ELEARNING MAKE-UP DAYS:
October 25 (potential pilot day), March 13, and April 10.
More information about eLearning days will be posted on school websites throughout the year. The district has established an eLearning team made of principals, teachers and members of the Office of Technology. That team will meet regularly and make improvements and/or changes to the eLearning strategy as appropriate. Stay informed by following Berkeley County School District on Facebook.
During last week’s storm, Bishop England High School also implemented virtual learning days, according to a letter sent home to families from Assistant Principal Mary Anne Tucker. Teachers provided daily instruction to students for core classes, using a variety of online platforms. The assignments did not require textbooks, as most students left school on Friday, Aug. 30 without taking materials with them that would be required for an extended closure. Students were able to access their daily assignments through the platform that each teacher uses to post regular assignments and information, stated the letter.