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Georgetown County schools seeks to help students struggling with remote learning

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The Georgetown County School District is implementing two new programs to help students who are struggling with remote learning. File photo

GEORGETOWN — The Georgetown County School District has identified more than 1,000 students who are struggling with remote learning and intends to reach out to provide assistance through two new initiatives.

The programs — one through AmeriCorps and the other named EngageSC — target students who are failing and who cannot be reached by their schools.

“It’s about making sure our kids are safe, and reengaged in this virtual-type learning scenario,” said Jon Tester, GCSD assistant superintendent for academics and student services.

The two programs are free to the district, Tester said.

After the district reached out to schools about the AmeriCorps initiative, guidance counselors, administration and teachers used PowerSchool to look at attendance and missing assignments of virtual students. The district identified 1,163 students who are struggling across the district, Tester said.

Five AmeriCorps volunteers will now begin reaching out to these students or their families directly to check in and identify the students’ needs. Volunteers will then fill out a form and turn it into the guidance counselors at each school so they can determine the type of help each student needs.

“We are looking forward to them being a great service to us,” Tester said of the volunteers.

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EngageSC targets only high school students and the district identified 579 students who are failing two or more subjects and who are English language learners. Tester said the reason they identified high school students is because the district wants these students to graduate.

The program will help high schoolers connect with a dedicated coach, who is either a retired teacher or social worker, and the coaches will report what each student needs back to the schools.

Georgetown County School District offers two types of instructional methods this year: its remote to prime, or hybrid model, and a totally virtual program. The two new initiatives are for students who are in the totally remote program and who are not logging into their classes and have missing assignments.

Last academic year, Tester said there was more leniency with assignments due to the sudden change in students learning from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic — but this year, “it’s a different ball game.”

“It’s a new reality,” he said. “If they aren’t logging into these classes, they aren’t learning.”

Reach Hannah Strong at 843-277-4687. Follow her on Twitter @HannahLStrong.

Hannah Strong covers growth in Horry and Georgetown counties. She is a native of Pawleys Island and graduate of Winthrop University. In her free time, she likes to read, surf and cook.

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