The Greenville County School Board had their November 10, 2020 meeting and here are the highlights.
It’s no secret this year has been a huge struggle for teachers, students, and parents as they’ve gone back to school in some fashion or another. But the first quarter grades reveal just how much of a struggle it’s been.
Out of the 72,832 students enrolled in Greenville County Schools, 16,047 have one or more F’s, which is equal to about 22% of all students enrolled in the county.
Double the number of virtual program students have more F’s than in-person students. But even comparing numbers from last year between in-person students, this year’s hybrid eLearning and in-person students are having a lot harder time with their studies. Last year, 5,327 students in in-person learning had one or more F’s and this year, that number is 8,566, a 10% increase.
High school virtual program students seem to be struggling the most, with more than half have one or more F’s. Virtual Program middle schoolers are next with nearly 40% having one or more F’s.
Superintendent Dr. Royster said that these numbers weren’t all together unexpected as the district was worried from the outset about the complete overhaul of the new learning systems.
Associate Superintendent of Academics Jeff McCoy said that many of the F’s are due to students not handing in work.
What is the school district doing to help?
Math and ELA intervention programs in elementary school will continue. These have already been in place. In middle school, Read180 classes will continue.
Starting November 6, GCS will provide transportation for all brick and mortar students, have between 6-8 students per teachers, and compensate teachers for tutoring after-hours. They will work on identifying students with F’s and see what kind of intervention they need. The district uses a process called the OnTrack process that identifies students who need intervention.
Intervention in the K-8 Virtual Program will be looking at 45-60 minute after school sessions at least two days a week. This could happen before or after school and possibly on weekends, all virtually.
There are remediation blocks built into schedules but schools will add more, up to three times per week for elementary and twice a week for middle. Intervention focus will be geared towards reading and math.
If more intensive intervention is needed for virtual only students, GCS is looking at possible in-person options that focus on the core academic areas.
For high school intervention, teachers teach both brick and mortar and virtual and would be available for 30-45 minutes before school. Virtual students are welcome to come to school if they can for this extra work. There will be after school hours for one day a week with the current two days per week in-person attendance. High school students who are struggling may be able to come back to school in-person more than twice a week but overall, there are no plans for high school wide in-person attendance more than two days per week.
How do teachers feel about returning to buildings?
Dr. Royster said they only surveyed middle school teachers, who are generally reticent about coming back in-person. He’s meeting with teachers this week.
The district indicated they are looking at a safe path to move forward to bring back teachers and students and will move forward to do so.
Dr. Royster was asked about those teachers who are still worried about returning the classroom. He said that teachers are expected to show up for school if they don’t have any medical underlying issue. The protocols in place are not designed by the school but rather by public health experts.
Dr. Royster said to expect an announcement early next week about bringing back middle schoolers five days a week to in-person school.
High School Schedule Changes
All high schools in the Greenville County School district will be moving to block scheduling starting next school year, 2021-2022. Classes will be 90 minutes instead of 50 minutes. For detailed information, see this link from GCS.
This is a summary of the benefits of block scheduling that the district posted in the school board meeting: