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.
Local organizations have rallied around Cainhoy Elementary to lend support during the pandemic.
Three different groups have supplied more than $30,000 in recent donations to go toward the school, and a fourth group has hand-built more than 60 desks so far for blended distance learning (BDL) students to use at home.
The desks are courtesy of the Daniel Island Rotary Club. So far the school has received close to 70 built desks; the Rotary is prepared to bring more over. Parents have recently come by the school to pick desks up.
Principal LaWanda Glears said she noticed when some BDL students log in to their classroom, not all of them were sitting at desks at home; some were laying on the couch or in their beds. Glears really wanted to get some desks for those students to work at instead.
“Whether they are BDL or traditional, they do need a working environment,” Glears said.
That was when Daniel Island community stepped in to help.
“They have just been wonderful to us,” Glears said.
Cainhoy Elementary recently applied for a grant through the Daniel Island Community Foundation. One of the questions for the application was what did the school see as a need. Glears has seen on the news that other communities have built desks to support students during the pandemic, and she thought this was something her school needed as well.
When she applied for that grant, Glears told the Daniel Island Community Foundation that she really wanted to get manipulatives for children to help them in math, so they could have their own at home.
Glears successfully landed a $10,000 grant, which she aims to use to purchase those manipulatives.
Meanwhile, the Daniel Island Rotary Club learned the school’s BDL students needed desks, and took on the task of constructing some for the school.
Bill and Mary Ellen Greene are active members of the rotary, which has an affiliation with the Cainhoy community.
Bill said rotary members are big on “service above self.” He enjoys woodworking as a hobby – and a subgroup of the rotary is the Nailbanger Club. Over the past two years, members from this group have done different projects like building wheel chair ramps, and access ramps for residents in mobile homes.
Taking on the desks has been the most recent challenge; Bill said the objective of the Nailbanger Club is to look for projects that give members “a chance to do some good for people with our hands.”
The Rotary Club partnered with the Daniel Island Community Foundation to fund the desk project. The club members have been busy working for about six weeks.
“We just got started and are having a good time,” Bill said.
Mary Ellen is the literacy chair for the Rotary Club. Mary Ellen has been active in trying to create a reading room – a room separate from the library – at Cainhoy Elementary. Plans are currently on hold because of the pandemic. She said she wants to help create a cozy environment for a small group of students to foster literacy.
“I hope that they become lovers of learning, and that it encourages them to enjoy reading,” she said.
Cainhoy Elementary has gained even more support from other local organizations as well; the BP Cooper River plant donated $20,000 toward constructing an outdoor classroom – something Glears has always wanted to bring to the school.
“I’ve always believed that learning goes beyond the four walls of the classroom and that kids really need to go on and have hands-on experiences,” she said.
Provided photo / Hope Lanier, Director of External Affairs, and John Harvey, Plant Manager of BP Cooper River plant, with Principal LaWanda Glears.
The school has also received $1,571 from the Community Neighborhood Watch, which Glears said she is going to earmark for continued student and staff recognition (like making plaques and certificates). Its board of directors presented the financial donation on Oct. 21. The Neighborhood Watch Program is organized to enable the police and community to work together to make specific geographical areas more crime resistant to reduce crime.
All these donations have come within the past month.
“I am just so proud that the community has rallied with us during this difficult time, and that we are not forgotten,” Glears said. “We can make difference in the lives of the students of Cainhoy with those funds.”
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.
Cainhoy Elementary and H.E. Bonner Elementary both recently scored grants that will go toward supporting students and their reading.
These are Dollar General Youth Literacy Grants in the amount of $4,000 to both schools. H.E. Bonner’s funding will be used to support early literacy programs in kindergarten, first and second grades. Cainhoy Elementary’s will go toward a reading subscription for the whole school to utilize.
The Dollar General Literacy Foundation offers grant programs to qualifying organizations in the 44 states where Dollar General stores are located. Schools, public libraries and nonprofit organizations who help students who are below grade level or having trouble reading are eligible to apply for Youth Literacy Grants.
ELA Instructional Coach Joyce Ling applied for the grant at H.E. Bonner Elementary.
“Our intent is to set our youngest learners up for early literacy success and grow them into strong readers early in their academic lives,” Ling said. “We want to meet them where they are sooner rather than later.”
Details from H.E. Bonner’s grant proposal state the program will serve nearly 300 students in kindergarten through second grade. The texts and lessons the school will purchase will be used during the Enhanced Balanced Literacy Block as teachers instruct students in differentiated Guiding Reading instruction. All teachers will have access to the texts that are purchased, but those three younger grade levels will be the primary focus.
For $1,100 the school will purchase an additional three copies of the Literacy Footprint Teacher's Guide for kindergarten teachers. To support instruction, the school will purchase four Literacy Footprints Resource Kits, and purchase an additional six plastic tubs for book storage. These instructional materials will help to facilitate the school’s desire to grow its youngest readers into students with a strong literacy foundation.
Another $2,850 will go toward a Guided Reading Literacy Footprints Kindergarten Kit. The texts from the kit will be used primarily by kindergarten teachers with their students, but first and second-grade teachers will also have access to the texts for their below-grade level readers.
H.E. Bonner Elementary previously received the grant in 2014.
Media Specialist Ashley Illig applied for the grant at Cainhoy Elementary.
The school will use the funding to purchase a subscription software program called MyON, which provides an extensive choice of books in fiction and nonfiction. Illig said the program provides a lot of teacher interaction where teachers can create assignments for students – and easily assign books based on reading level.
Students will have their own MyON accounts. It offers quizzes and helps track students’ reading progress, like how many minutes they have been reading and how long they spend on one book.
Illig said she previously used the program in Charleston County.
“It’s a really great program…I love it and I think our teachers will love it too,” she said.
Illig said she was excited to receive the grant.
“I was running around the school screaming,” she said, adding, “I’ve been talking about MyON for years…I finally got it through Dollar General.”
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.