Sentinel Progress

PICKENS COUNTY — Looks like snow days for students are becoming a thing of the past as the School District of Pickens County is the latest South Carolina school district to pilot a program of “eLearning” this year.

The plan, which allows students to make up inclement weather days by completing assignments online, is part of a program the SDPC was accepted into by the South Carolina Education Oversight Committee at their August meeting.

“This is a change that I think our parents and students will be excited about, and I’m very grateful to the EOC for working with us to make it happen,” said Dr. Danny Merck, SDPC Superintendent.

SDPC Information Specialist John Eby said because Pickens County schools are “1:1” in grades 4-12, in the event of inclement weather, students in grades 4-12 will be given electronic assignments to complete, while students in younger grades will also be assigned make-up work.

“One to one” (1:1) means every student has access to a school-issued device such as a Google Chromebook, which they can take home each day, Eby said.

If everything goes as planned, the three “Inclement Weather Make-up Days” on the 2018-2019 school calendar are not expected to be used this year, he said.

“The uncertainty surrounding inclement weather days has always been an issue; parents make plans, students fail to attend, and schools find it difficult to have a normal school day with lowered attendance. It’s great whenever we can put technology to use to solve long-standing problems,” Merck said.

As inclement weather days occur, SDPC and schools will remind students and parents of eLearning day requirements, officials explained.

Digital learning packets will be made available for students via “Schoology,” the district’s primary online learning management software.

Additionally, digitized lessons can also be downloaded to devices for students without internet access. Activities will center in continuing instruction on the S.C. academic standards on the instructional calendar for that day or week, they said.

Just last month, Anderson School District 5 made state headlines for being the first in S.C. to pilot such a program when it was announced on July 25.

Like SDPC, Anderson 5 was selected as part of an eLearning pilot program that lets students access assignments at home via Google Classroom with Chromebook devices. Anderson 5 students in grades 3 through 12 will be required to take their Chromebooks home to access the assignments, officials said.

As with Pickens County, the district stated internet connectivity is not required for these assignments as the assignments can be downloaded ahead of time so students can have access to their work without WiFi.

Snow Days to become a thing of the past. Days to become a thing of the past. Courtesy photo
SDPC will use “eLearning” for bad weather days. will use “eLearning” for bad weather days. Courtesy photo
Students to make up inclement weather days by completing assignments online. to make up inclement weather days by completing assignments online. Courtesy photo
SDPC to use “eLearning” on inclement weather days

By Kasie Strickland

Reach Kasie Strickland at 864-855-0355.