News

  • 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.

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  • 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. 

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  • College Park Elementary, Hanahan Elementary and Goose Creek Elementary all have large Hispanic populations – and the schools’ English as a Second Language (ESOL) teachers will say that their schools really embrace Hispanic families.

    The ESOL teachers at these schools all share similar thoughts on what they want their English and general education learners to walk away with when they graduate elementary school: that differences should be celebrated, and that all languages and cultures can be beautiful.

    The district has 2,800 active English learners throughout the district, and another 1,000 former English learners.

    There are 3,100 families that have listed Spanish as a language on their district home language survey when they enrolled, plus another 390 families list Portuguese.

    Hispanic Heritage Month is September 15 to October 15 and is a time to honor the cultures and contributions of both Hispanic and Latino Americans.

    However, teachers in BCSD say their schools make an effort to honor these cultures all year long.

     

    College Park Elementary

    ESOL teacher Carla Hogue is in her third year at College Park Elementary. She is in her 16th year with the district, and has previously served as a high school Spanish teacher.

    Hogue is bilingual. She was born in New York, but her family is from Ecuador.

    Hogue serves 60 ESOL students, but the school has an ESOL population of almost 48 percent. She works with kindergarten and first-graders, and all of them are Hispanic.

    ESOL teachers lead their lessons in English. Hogue provides support in academic language that maybe students are having trouble comprehending, but the teachers focus on them learning English itself.

    The school hosted its first-ever Hispanic Heritage Month Night for the community on Oct. 15. It was a Hispanic heritage celebration geared toward celebrating different cultures, and Hogue hopes it will become an annual event.

    “We are embracing it and we are ready to share that with our community,” she said.

    Hogue did activities with her students throughout the past week to prepare the students for the event. They learned about Mexican art, focusing on painters Pablo Picasso and Frida Kahlo, and made their own artwork to decorate the event.

    student doing a craft at Hispanic Heritage Month Night at CPE

    BCSD photo / Monica Kreber

    Students who attended the event made hojolata tin art, created their own papel piacdo to take home, made maracas and their own “Ojo De Dios” (God’s Eye), which is an ancient symbol made by the Huichol Indians of Mexico and the Aymara Indians of Bolivia. Families were invited to come dressed in their own Hispanic heritage attire – Hogue herself wore an Ecuadorian outfit. View photos from the event.

    Hogue said College Park Elementary has always recognized Hispanic Heritage Month. Because the school’s Hispanic population is so big, the school wants the community to feel that it offers a welcoming environment.

    “We really like to get the families involved, and one of our goals is to make sure that the families feel they have someone at the school who will advocate for them,” she said, adding all of the Spanish-speaking families at the school are familiar with her. “For them it’s a really welcoming environment and we try to provide the culture throughout the school and throughout school activities that just highlight differences – and not just Hispanic differences, but just differences at all.”

    Hogue said the school tries to highlight those differences in a variety of ways. Around the holidays students participate in “Christmas Around the World” where they can bring their holiday traditions into the classroom.

    Sometimes students do song activities that are in Spanish; Hogue said there is a Mariachi version of “Baby Shark.”
    “It really shows the other kids part of the culture and how it could be so much different,” she said.

    Hogue said her families can feel like they are part of the community.

    “I feel like my school does a really good job at bringing those families in and letting them know that this is very much their school as anybody else,” she said.

    Hogue said she wants all of College Park Elementary’s students to leave the school expecting differences between other people – and to embrace them.

    “Not everybody celebrates the same way, but every celebration can be beautiful,” she said. “The English language is beautiful. The Spanish language is also beautiful. Just being able to accept differences, I think, is one of my biggest goals for my school, and I think they do a very good job at that.”

    Hanahan Elementary

    English is Ellie Espinoza’s second language; she moved to Texas from Mexico and learned English when she was still very young.

    More than 21 percent of the school’s students are English learners, and a majority of those students are Hispanic.

    Espinoza said Hanahan Elementary has moved to a full co-teaching model; there are five ESOL teachers, and one teacher pulls out newcomer students but the rest co-teach with general education teachers.

    While she enjoys recognizing Hispanic Heritage Month, the students did not do anything specific for the month. For the past two years the school has normally hosted an ESOL family night every year where bilingual families are invited to bring dishes from their culture that are special to them. Families also participated in crafts and events.

    Espinoza said she tries to incorporate activities throughout the whole school year to organically incorporate other cultures into everything they do. One thing she does is purchase books with diverse characters for students’ read aloud sessions.

    “I think our goal is to make this a normal thing throughout the year,” she said.

    Like College Park Elementary, Hanahan Elementary has students show what holidays around the world look like as part of a research unit.

    “I think we try to (celebrate) throughout the year as it presents itself,” she said.

    Espinoza said she thinks the diversity in the school sets Hanahan Elementary students up for preparing for the real world.

    “I grew up in a small town where Hispanic was a very, very small population and the majority of the people that I grew up with were Caucasian,” she said. “So it was such a great thing when I finally went off to college and realized that there are so many places that are so much more diverse than where I grew up.”

    Espinoza said that immersion allows students to leave school with more understanding of other people and perspectives.

    “I think as adults that will always help us in the long run,” she said, adding that everybody comes with valuable input based on personal experiences that should be highlighted.

    Espinoza said Hispanic Heritage Month is a great time to highlight all the contributions Hispanics have made to the country.

    “It also reflects on all cultures even outside the Hispanic culture,” she said.

     

    Goose Creek Elementary

    ESOL teachers at Goose Creek Elementary will say that the ESOL program is a big team effort.

    The school has 373 Hispanic students, which is more than 40 percent of the population. English learners make up 37 percent of the population, and the school has seven ESOL teachers.

    Kathy Alayon and Victoria Umpornpun are two of those teachers.

    “We are definitely a team,” Alayon said.

    Alayon is fluent in both English and Spanish. She lived for South America for two years and her children are Hispanic Americans, so her family celebrates both their American and their Venezuelan heritage.

    Umpornpun’s family is originally from Thailand but she grew up in America, and said she is proficient in Spanish. She said the school’s ESOL teachers know their students’ families and are thus very intertwined with the community.

    Umpornpun said the school enjoys highlighting the different cultures at the school. She teaches a special and somewhat new program called the Newcomers Program, geared toward second through fifth-graders who are new to the United States. Umpornpun pulls these students out during their English/Language Arts block and they learn a curriculum by National Geographic for English beginners.

    “We want to show them that they’re special and we care about them, and that even though they came to the United States we still want them to bring their culture,” she said, adding, “We want to be able to take their best qualities and their stories and bring it into our classrooms.”

    Alayon said the school tries to have a family view and a sense of community while emphasizing cultural diversity.

    “We have a lot of diversity in Goose Creek and we’re proud of that and we just try to help everyone feel excited and important about who they are, and to be proud of their diversity, whatever that is,” Alayon said.

    There are 14 different foreign-born countries represented at the school, and most of them are Spanish-speaking countries.

    Goose Creek Elementary celebrated the final day of Hispanic Heritage Month by inviting students to wear their favorite team jersey (like sports teams or outfits representing their home countries). Students participated in English and Spanish read-alouds and played games incorporating different languages and facts about other countries.

    three students participate in showing off their favorite jerseys at GCE

    BCSD provided photo

    “It’s definitely shaped us to be culturally sensitive and to accept people where we are and learn that we do things differently,” Alayon said.

    The teachers want the students to know it’s okay to be different – that it’s okay the other people eat different food or look different.

    “It doesn’t mean one way is right and one way is wrong, it just means that it’s different and we should accept each other’s’ diversity – celebrate each other’s’ diversity,” Alayon said. “It’s not a one size fits all.”

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  • 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

    Berkeley Elementary

    Berkeley High

    Berkeley Middle

    Boulder Bluff Elementary

    Bowens Corner Elementary

    Cane Bay Elementary

    Cane Bay High

    Cane Bay Middle

    College Park Elementary

    College Park Middle

    Foxbank Elementary

    Goose Creek Elementary

    Goose Creek High

    Hanahan High

    Hanahan Middle

    Nexton Elementary

    Philip Simmons Elementary

    Philip Simmons High

    Philip Simmons Middle

    Sangaree Elementary

    Sangaree Middle

    Westview Elementary

    Whitesville Elementary

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  • 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.

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  • College Park Elementary’s Bianca Drayton wants to be Wonder Woman when she grows up. She’s an intelligent kid – makes the honor roll and walks the hallways of the Ladson and Goose Creek area school with a smile.

    Bianca knows Wonder Woman isn’t real, but thoughts of the super hero flying around the world and helping people remind Bianca of how she wants to spend each day of her life.

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  • Berkeley County School District (BCSD) named College Park Elementary’s Judy Rainey as the 2020 Teacher of the Year Thursday, May 21. Mrs. Rainey was one of 47 teachers the district honored during a nontraditional virtual breakfast meeting.

    As teachers viewed a special presentation held via Google Meet, BCSD administrators huddled outside Mrs. Rainey’s home with a small gift and balloons. It wasn’t the grand event of years past with white tablecloths and goblets of sweet tea, but Mrs. Rainey said it was enough to make her feel special.

    “I feel like I’ve been celebrated. I feel like it’s a special time. I just appreciate everything. It has been difficult to do some of the things online… but we have adapted,” she said.

    BCSD Superintendent Eddie Ingram describes the District Teacher of the Year announcement as one of the most exciting events of the year. He was pleased Mrs. Rainey knew how appreciated she is, though the celebration wasn’t what it would normally be.

    “I am glad we found a way to make it memorable in these unusual times,” Dr. Ingram said.

    Mrs. Rainey said her message for fellow teachers and soon-to-be educators is one of resilience.

    “Don’t ever give up. Just keep persevering and working through. Whenever you confront a problem… there is always a silver lining in it. It always creates opportunities,” she said.

    Ms. Rainey has been teaching first and second grade at College Park Elementary for two years. She has taught a total of 39 years.

    “I’m just extremely excited, and thrilled and proud to be representing BCSD,” she said.

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  • Join the professionals on our transportation team. As a team member you will be an important part of the education process. If you are 18 years of age and have a high school diploma/GED you can become a bus driver or assistant. Make a difference in education. Bus drivers and bus assistants are key to our students’ success. We are focused on safety, and we’ll train you!

    School bus drivers must pass a rigorous background investigation including a SLED check and a DMV records check. School bus drivers must obtain and maintain a commercial driver’s license with passenger and federal school bus endorsements. They are also required to complete 20 hours of classroom instruction and pass a State Department of Education certification exam.  As a part of their training, drivers also complete many hours of on the road training and pass a rigorous driving evaluation. Each driver must pass a physical performance test and is subject to random monthly drug screening. Annually, drivers attend a minimum of 15 hours of training to maintain their proficiency.

    For employment information contact Ms. Lachell Griffin at (843) 899-8725. Applicants can fill out an online application.

    Berkeley County School District is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, creed, national origin, sex, age, handicap or disability in admission to, access to, treatment in, or employment in its programs and activities. 

    For bus driver training information contact:
    Lachell Griffin - Training and Safety Supervisor

    PO. Box 608
    Moncks Corner, SC 29461
    Office: 843-899-8725
    Fax: 843-899-8723
    Email: griffinlachell@bcsdschools.net

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