Teachers prepare for reopening

Published 4:43 pm Thursday, July 9, 2020

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Charlotte County Public School (CCPS) announced last week its reopening plan for the new school term leaving parents and teachers with just a few weeks to prepare for what will be the school system’s new normal.

CCPS students will begin school Aug 10 attending school two days a week, with the remaining instruction days provided virtually.

A 100% virtual learning option is available as well.

In an effort to teach students virtually, educators have been working throughout the summer to develop a plan and instruction material.

“The teachers in my building have been extremely dedicated this summer. I receive email notifications day and night, letting me know that they are uploading items into their Google classrooms,” Randolph Henry High School Principal (RHHS) Erin Davis said. “I have seen a rise in collaboration among department members and staff at different schools.”

Davis said if she had been asked a year ago if it were possible to transform an entire county into Google educators in one summer, she would have said that was impossible.

“However, this summer that is just what we have done,” she said, “The work that we are doing is not without its share of challenges, but it is necessary in order to ensure we are prepared for all scenarios in the fall.”

A fifth-grade teacher at Phenix Elementary School, Emily Hamlett, said she knows there will be challenges for everyone this coming school term but with challenges, however, comes growth and knowledge.

“I am looking forward to gaining both of those,” Hamlett said. “The first couple of weeks will take lots of getting used to, but I hope to fall into a ‘new normal’ routine.  Just like with everything else, change takes time.”

Hamlett said she too is working hard to be prepared for the opening day of school and is looking forward to seeing her students all while remaining positive and hopeful that guidelines and restrictions are lifted so all students can return to a normal school day.

“I will remain positive for my students and my own children as well and give them everything I can to help us get through this.” 

RHHS teacher and coach Monique Williams said while she feels the community remains split on the return to school plan approved by the school board as a teacher, she feels the current plan is the best for the community.

“I think that many people are fearful because it is not our “normal” routine, and we have so many unknowns about the situation we are experiencing.” Williams said.” We are all adjusting. I believe that Superintendent Mason took a lot of time with a team of parents, staff, and administrators to identify how we can approach this best. He has worked to get us more access to the internet in the county, and through the CARES grant, we have received funding to provide every child in our school division with Chromebooks or tablets.”

Williams said teachers have been working since April to develop ways to engage learners.

“I think it says a lot about the teachers in our community,” Williams said. “We will do what is best for our students. We want our students to be successful, and we will do the best we can under these circumstances to ensure that they get the learning, engagement, and support that they need and deserve.”