As the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC) works to track cases of COVID-19 across the state, there is an understandable delay in reporting confirmed cases in public schools. Berkeley County School District is committed to providing stakeholders with accurate and timely information so the BCSD COVID-19 Case Dashboard has been updated to reflect the number of confirmed cases reported directly to Berkeley County School District. These numbers will be updated every business day to provide our community with a more accurate accounting of confirmed cases in Berkeley County schools.
The content of this database is general information for each location. Any necessary contact tracing is conducted by SCDHEC. This information is updated at the close of each business day. Please note the numbers provided are numbers of confirmed cases reported to the Berkeley County School District and are 14-day cumulative counts.
At the regular meeting of the Board of Education on Tuesday, October 27, the Board approved revisions to the Berkeley County School District (BCSD) instructional calendar to add four half-day virtual instructional program (VIP) days for students. Teachers will use the second half of those four days as workdays.
On these VIP days, students will be learning from home independently for half of the day. All student assignments will be loaded to Google Classroom and/or other learning management systems by 7 a.m.
BCSD half-day VIP/teacher workdays
- Thursday, November 12, 2020
- Monday, December 7, 2020
- Tuesday, December 22, 2020
- Monday, May 10, 2021
To further support students, each teacher will set office hours that are posted or will be posted in Google Classroom and/or other learning management systems.
Much like the eLearning days of the 2019-20 school year, teachers will have the flexibility to use time not spent assisting students to work in their classrooms, with their teams or participate in personal professional development.
Again, this is a remote learning day, and all students will be learning from home independently.
If you have any questions or concerns, please contact your child's school.
During Philip Simmons High’s morning announcements, there is often some sort of advertisement to students encouraging them to join upcoming “Spirit Days” by dressing in a certain theme.
As an incentive, the students receive a point for their Iron Horse Derby team by donning fun apparel.
The Iron Horse Derby is a new concept this year at Philip Simmons High, where a few student leaders are optimistic about leaving a legacy at the school, and show no pandemic is slowing down school spirit.
Establishing The Derby
The Derby is the brainchild of senior Shane McCartee, who is originally from Washington, D.C. He said the high school he would have gone to up north was known for having a lot of school spirit, with more involvement from the freshman class – something McCartee felt was lacking at Philip Simmons High.
“I kind of missed that super involvement that I had up there,” he said.
McCartee was particularly inspired by the Harry Potter franchise; fans are familiar with the four houses students are sorted into at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
Philip Simmons High has previously had “academic” teams with students divided up by grade level, but McCartee envisioned having four teams with a blend of all grade levels on each team, that way the seniors could be more participatory in terms of encouraging the lowerclassmen on their teams.
“I think the freshmen tend to look up to the upperclassmen,” he said.
The teams are Silver, Black, White and Purple. McCartee serves as a leader on the Silver Team, along with senior Joe Buceti.
Buceti said he and McCartee have always collaborated in the past on ways to promote school spirit. Buceti said he and other students supported McCartee’s idea of the derby.
“I, along with a bunch of other people, were just all for it, and understood that it was going to be…definitely a good thing in getting the freshmen and sophomores involved this school year,” he said.
Both students are part of the Renaissance Council Club. The main point of the club is to have students be leaders within the school while simultaneously working to improve the school climate and culture.
Social studies teacher and volleyball coach Jay Watterworth is the Derby’s advisor. Watterworth said McCartee came to him with the idea of the Derby last school year. While Watterworth was excited about the idea, the pandemic put a damper on implementation.
“I knew that his idea was strong enough that I wanted to make sure we implemented this program no matter what,” he said.
A few staff members joined a group of student leaders during the spring via Google Meet and started to plan what the new program would look like.
“This is our fourth year as a high school and now that we have a senior class who has been here all four years and are excited about being an Iron Horse, we are starting to see exponential growth in both student involvement and student pride,” Watterworth said.
Philip Simmons High is still a fairly new school; last year’s senior class was the first to graduate. This year’s graduating class opened the new school.
McCartee said he hopes this new idea will be one that turns into a legacy – something that will keep going for the years to come.
“It’d be super cool if I had kids and they were on the Silver Team like I was,” he said.
Students can earn “points” for their teams by participating in school-wide activities – like coming out to show support at athletic events.
“A lot of the culture of the school is surrounded by sports…but also how much fun going to a (game) is,” McCartee said. “So if everyone’s going to the football game on Friday, I feel like there’s more energy throughout the school.”
With the pandemic, the school is limited in school-wide events students can participate in, but so far the Derby has held “Spirit Days” with different dress-up themes. Students have dressed up for a “Country versus Country Club Day”, “College Day” and “Tacky Tourist Day". The school is also planning a Spirit Week in November.
Every person who dresses up on these days earns a point for their team.
“We’re trying to get more people to…go out of their comfort zone and participate in these kind of things and show school spirit,” Buceti.
The students are randomly assigned to the teams, but the school has tried to set it up so siblings are on different teams.
Three to four seniors serve as leaders on each team. With the current captains, Watterworth said there are staff members on the teams list names of students who they thought they had the character traits to be a student leader. They then sent out a Google Form to all the seniors on their perspective teams to vote and came with a top three.
Anybody on the teams can step up and lead different activities but the three seniors are expected to lead the group as a whole.
The teachers are also assigned to Derby teams and can earn points as well. Watterworth said the concept has taken off better than he could have hoped.
“Staff and students alike want to earn those points for their teams,” Watterworth said. “We are creating a display in the cafeteria where we will track the progress of the Iron Horse Derby and I think that will help too.”
In addition to limited events, another challenge caused by the the pandemic is getting blended distance learners more involved in the Derby by dressing up and sharing photos from home. The team leaders are working to make sure the BDL students still feel included.
“I think we’re just trying to set the ‘normal’ to be dressing up,” McCartee said.
Despite the challenges, McCartee said he does not think the pandemic has slowed down school spirit.
“I think this year we have way more school spirit that we’ve ever had,” he said.
With a larger senior class this year, along with younger siblings who have joined the school, McCartee said he has seen more participation.
He said he sees lots of students getting into the dress-up days.
“There’s been a drastic difference in participation,” he said.
The goal at the end of the year (pandemic-allowing) is to have a party for the winning team and award that team with some sort of trophy – one that will passed down each year to the next winning team.
Shooting for success
Buceti and McCartee said they think the friendly competition among the teams helps fuel the Derby.
McCartee said a lot of his friends really want the school spirit, but he is really pushing for this concept to stay strong within the next couple of years.
“I just think passing it on to the junior class, and then passing it one more time to the sophomores, I think that will be our biggest issue,” he said, adding, “so something that we’re really focusing on is having our juniors be really involved.”
In a way, the pandemic actually had an opposite effect on school spirit this year at Philip Simmons High; the seniors knew they still wanted to make their final year of high school fun.
“We really thought this was a great opportunity to not just get the senior class involved but get everyone else involved,” McCartee said.
About 85 percent of textile waste ends up in landfills where it occupies unnecessary landfill space.
These were textiles that had the opportunity to be recycled but were not.
The reason they do not get recycled is because of a lack of a convenient place to donate textiles.
Residents might notice bright green bins on the property of some schools in Berkeley County School District, provided by a franchise called Clothes Bins, where families can actually recycle old textiles.
The result is threefold with Clothes Bins: textiles get reused as inventory at local businesses, the recycling efforts actually raise money for BCSD schools, and the overall initiative produces a greener option for what residents can do with old clothes.
Textiles include clothing, outerwear, footwear, undergarments, accessories, handbags and linens – these are all things that can go into the bins.
Chad Boariu, director of marketing and training for Clothes Bin, said the franchise is the first clothing/textile recycling franchise in the nation.
The bins are unlike anything else out there. They are equipped with sensory technology inside the bins that alerts Clothes Bins when they are about to be filled up and need servicing – very similar to a vending machine, he said. This technology is called BLIP – Bin Location Information Program – which monitors each bin and alerts the franchisee whenever a bin approaches its capacity and needs to be serviced.
Clothes Bins is in about 15 states, and there are individual schools as well as full districts that have contracted a bin.
BCSD schools with a bin receive multiple benefits: one is it shows the district believes in a green program, and another is individual schools being able to show the overall impact of recycling as a whole.
“You are able to show how you give back to the community,” Boariu said.
Boariu said Clothes Bins’s biggest takeaway is just from the landfill – “we’re trying to make that smaller,” he said.
The schools get paid per pound of everything recycled in the bin, and that is where the fundraising comes in; they receive seven cents per pound that goes back into the school. The bins can hold 600 pounds, so a school could potentially make about $42 every time the bin reaches capacity.
Schools use the money for different items; some of the money is used as “cushion” money while others may go toward the school’s PTO (see the full list of schools with a bin below).
The clothes provided into the Clothes Bins go on to provide inventory for local thrift stores – which is where the recycling part comes in.
“Our biggest thing is there’s always another use,” Boariu said. “Once it goes into a landfill, that’s it.”
Many of BCSD’s schools fall into the territory of Mary Anna Lewis, owner of Lowcountry Textile Recycling. A majority of the schools within the territory were offered a bin, and the first set of bins were set up in May 2019.
Lewis stressed that these clothes are recycled to help local businesses.
“It’s recycling. It’s (being) stewards of the community, it’s fundraising for the schools,” she said.
Boariu and Lewis said they are not discouraging residents from donating used clothes to charities of their choice, but the Clothes Bins model is one that results in a direct effect on the students and administration in that particular school.
A lot of the clothes collected also go to impoverished areas of other countries, like the Dominican Republican and Uganda, where locals can sell the items in their own markets.
“It’s going to third-world countries to marketplace vendors who are feeding their families off of reselling this stuff,” Lewis said.
Clothes Bins has also previously gone into schools to promote the educational aspect of it to students, to show them how they can create business partnerships to help the earth and also provide jobs for families.
BCSD schools use the funds they receive for different items. Hanahan High Principal Tom Gallus said his school puts it in its miscellaneous activity account and use it for supplies for staff and students.
“If there is a student in need, we will use this account to supply them with supplies,” he said.
Whitesville Elementary Principal Katie Taie said her school has been very happy with Clothes Bins. The school uses the funds to supplement field trip costs for parents, and for providing arts performances and enrichment activities for students. The PTO receives the funds and then provides financial support for those experiences.
Whitesville reminds parents through social media and Blackboard to “clean out” their closets when school administration notices upcoming teacher requests.
“Clothes Bin has benefited our school the most by allowing us to decrease the amount of money that we ask parents to spend for additional activities,” Taie said. “Over the past couple of years, we saw a substantial increase in the cost of buses for field experiences and needed to find a way to supplement that burden for our parents.”
Sangaree Elementary Principal Tara Baker said the school has raised a little less than $100 and all funds right now are in the school’s business partner account. She plans to put out a blurb to remind families to provide textiles if they can.
“We would love to raise more (money) to purchase additional personalized learning materials,” she said.
Schools with a bin
Boulder Bluff Elementary
Bowens Corner Elementary
Cane Bay Elementary
Cane Bay High
Cane Bay Middle
College Park Elementary
College Park Middle
Goose Creek Elementary
Goose Creek High
Philip Simmons Elementary
Philip Simmons High
Philip Simmons Middle
When he isn’t running with his teammates at Philip Simmons High, senior Noah Ward likes to hit a favorite trail on Daniel Island.
Running solo, Ward enjoys listening to some rap music in his headphones while he logs somewhere around nine or 10 on foot.
He runs pretty much every single day.
Earlier in September Ward participated in a small invitational on Pawley’s Island called Run the Stables. He placed first in the 5k with a time of 15:07 for a 5k – which was his personal best as well.
He is one of the top runners in the state; that time placed him second in the state overall.
This athlete excels in cross country and track and currently has his sights set on running individually on a national level – but in addition to personal wins, he is anxious for some team wins in his last year of high school.
Ward played soccer until he was about 12 years old and then got into cross country as a way to get in shape for soccer. He turned out to be an exceptional runner and even ended up qualifying for the Junior Olympics a few times.
Ward ran for Hanahan High’s varsity cross country team as an eighth-grader. When he started his freshman year at Philip Simmons High he was the only member of cross country – but he wanted a team and ended up getting his friends involved.
“It’s really hard to do cross country…without a team,” he said, alluding to his previous experience with Hanahan. “I saw how important a team was and how much better it makes it.”
Philip Simmons High cross country Coach Josh Michael said quite literally without Ward, there may not be a cross country team at Philip Simmons High; what started as a small group of friends running together quickly developed in to one of the preeminent programs in the lowcountry, he said.
“Noah is a supremely gifted athlete and runner,” Michael said. “His ability to pair this with an equally impressive dedication and work ethic has resulted in his ascension to the top of the high school running world.
“Noah's dedication to perfecting his craft will allow him to reach his lofty goals both this year and beyond. Noah is truly a pleasure to coach as he takes an active role in his development as a student and athlete,” Michael said.
In cross country, Ward also runs under the direction of coaches Emma Santor and Danny Hernandez; the latter also coaches him in track, along with Coach Bill Muhn.
Santor said Ward is a runner who always dedicated to the team.
“Although he is number one, he always makes an effort to make his teammates feel special and important,” she said. “His humbleness and hard work are very admirable and I feel lucky to get to watch him run his senior year.”
Ward repeated as the Class AA state champion in cross country in November 2019 – a title he is working toward right now.
In addition to participating in cross country, Ward particularly enjoys track in the spring semester. He has five additional individual titles in track: the 800 meter in 2019; the 1600 meter in 2017, 2018 and 2019; and the 3200 meter in 2019.
Last semester the school’s track team was projected to win the State title until the pandemic interfered.
Muhn said his hopes for Ward this year are to win four state titles in the 800 meter, 1600 meter, 3200 meter and 4x800 relay, leading the track team to a team championship.
“Not only is Noah an extremely talented athlete, but he is the hardest working athlete I have coached in my career,” Muhn said.
The cross country team has a chance to win a team title this year; as many titles as he has one, Ward is still missing a team championship.
Cross country coaches said the team has been working since June on achieving that goal and it will all come down to Ward’s final high school cross country race at the State Championship Meet on Nov. 7.
“Probably the biggest goal is to win State as a team,” Ward said.
Part of the students’ training to not run very fast at the start of the year, but by the time State rolls around they should be feeling a little more “fresh”.
Santor said the team continues to improve in all aspects as the meets go on and their times are only getting faster.
“I have big hopes for an amazing season,” she said.
On an individual level, Ward really wants to break 15 minutes for the 5k and qualify for Foot Locker Cross Country Championships, a goal he has had since seventh grade. There are four different regions in the country, and if he makes top 10 for this region he has a shot at the national race in San Diego.
Ward is the son of Alicia and Justin Ward. He has a younger sister at Philip Simmons and an older brother at the University of South Carolina. The family resides on Daniel Island.
He thanks his coaches, family and friends for their continued support in his high school career.
He said he is going to miss his teammates and coaches when he graduates. Ward has communicated with a number of colleges including the University of Virginia, Georgetown University and Duke University. He has not selected a school yet. He is leaning toward studying business and finance.
However, he said he will miss his team and high school when it comes time to leave.
“I love Philip Simmons High,” he said. “It’ll be weird getting to a new atmosphere.”
The purpose of this site is to share information for parents to understand the different technologies being used for instruction as well as provide tips for troubleshooting when tech challenges arise.