COLUMBIA, SC (WSPA) – Academic recovery, internet connectivity and progress assessments are key areas Accelerate Ed is focused on when it comes to navigating academics in the state during the coronavirus.
More than a dozen educators are members of Accelerate Ed, a task force designed to answer the tough question “What does school like, like next year when we go back to school?”
The group has spent the past two weeks discussing that answer and how the state will get students to that point after being away from school since march.
Dr. Scott Turner explained the group’s priorities. “First of all at risk students, students with disabilities, speakers of other languages, students who are struggling academically to make sure we catch them up so they don’t fall behind due to the fact they haven’t had that face to face instruction.”
And that face to face instruction, educators on Accelerate Ed recognize as being essential in making sure our younger students are on track. The group is considering starting summer reading programs in August to help ensure in person teaching.
“Right now only 56 districts have turned in their numbers and 33,000 children need to go to summer reading camp. That’s a lot of kids that can’t read,” said Sherry East, the president of the SC Education Association.
The group is also working to fix the digital divide. Lack of infrastructure in the state to support WiFi is keeping some students from being able to keep up with the work.
“I think a big ask will be to fund broadband in those rural areas so kids have access,” added Dr. Turner, the deputy superintendent of Greenville County Schools.
Members are looking at an “A-Day, B-Day” schedule for the 2020 school year, which would allow classrooms to have the 12 to 1 ratio recommended by the CDC.
And when it comes to extracurricular activities over the summer, Accelerate Ed is also working on those answers.
East continued, “What about band they go all hard in the summer to get their performances ready, are we going to allow that?”
Accelerate Ed plans to have a list of recommendations for those summer programs to the state department of education by May 22nd.