Greenwood Dist. 51 offers childcare to employees

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WARE SHOALS, S.C. (WSPA) — The Ware Shoals School District has gotten creative to fix two of its biggest problems — employee childcare and unassigned teachers. District leadership decided the problems could both be solved with one solution: using unassigned staff to provide child care for other district employees.

“I didn’t know what I was going to do,” Samantha Smallwood, a third-grade teacher and mother of three said. “My K-4 student, I was going to have to contemplate putting him back in a daycare program just so that he would have somewhere to go for the day.” 

“I cannot leave my fourth grader and my fifth grader home alone so they can do their e-learning. It would have been too hard.”

District Superintendent Dr. Fay Sprouse decided reassigning employees was the right thing to do for district staff.

“We are just not able to provide that many benefits for teachers,” she said. “We’re a small, rural district and I thought [this] would be a small way to give them some relief of one of the stressors in their life.”

Plus, she says it’s a win-win: Instead of furloughing unassigned teachers for the weeks the district spends using virtual and hybrid models, it now keeps all of its staff fully employed and contributing to its schools.

Sprouse says about 20 students are enrolled in the kid-care program. They’re separated into different classrooms by age group. The teachers in the rooms help students complete daily work.

According to Sprouse and teachers, the program has been a huge success thus far. The district will continue using the program until it returns to full-time in-person classes.

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