BY BRUCE BRANUM
The Greenville Standard
At the Butler County Board of Education (BCBOE) meeting held Nov. 19, failing virtual students of the Butler County School System (BCSS) was the main topic of presentations made to board members.
In the meeting, BCSS Superintendent Joe Eiland said, “We all have seen the need and we knew it beforehand, that once we went to a virtual offering, that our children, as apt as they are with electronics and devices, that our children were going to struggle.
“It’s a new way of learning. Not just do our children struggle, but our adults, our staff struggles. We knew this going in that this was going to be a huge, huge hill to climb. We are climbing but it is a very slow pace and we are learning and moving and having to change as we go.
“I’ve had to ask our teachers on so many occasions, here’s one more thing, here’s one more thing, and they’ve been just grateful to oblige and to accommodate us with these changes.
“But we learned very quickly that number one, we have a large population of students that have not even logged in….meaning they are earning zeros.”
Eiland continued, “We knew we had to intervene, so I asked the amazing office staff that I have and directors of various programs that I have to pull together and develop a plan. They did so and I’m excited about it.”
BCSS Federal Programs Director Lisa Adair then briefly explained the plan to the board members. It is called the BCSS First Nine Weeks Catchup Plan. Adair went on to say that it just not a problem for Butler County but one that is nationwide.
The highlights of the plan include:
The week of Nov. 16 -20, schools were to contact failing students and their parents and pull them in for conferences and give them different options for support.
There will be a parent resource guide created to aid with the different virtual platforms.
For students who are making 0-39, BCSS is asking them to come back for face-to-face instruction.
For students who are making 40-59, options are under development for after school virtual learning, in school virtual learning, and each school can decide to have a Christmas break bash where the students are brought in for a couple of days of intensive work.
Parents and students will also be asked to sign an agreement that they will help the BCSS support their child.
At the beginning of the meeting, Butler County Circuit Clerk Mattie Gomillion had the honor of swearing in the members of the BCBOE. The members are Chairman Michael Nimmer, re-elected District 1; Carolyn Crenshaw, newly elected District 2; Vice Chairman Brandon Sellers, re-elected District 3; and Eric Gomillion, newly elected District 5. Newly elected board member from District 4, Kelvin Mitchell, was not present at the meeting.