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Monday to be make-up day for students

Posted: October 15, 2015 6:08 p.m.
Updated: October 16, 2015 1:00 a.m.

Kershaw County School District (KCSD) students will be in close Monday, originally set aside as a professional development day for teachers, because of area flooding which closed schools for a week. The Kershaw County Board of School Trustees approved the make-up day during a meeting Tuesday night, moved from its original Oct. 6 date. Three other make-up days have already been scheduled for Jan. 12, Feb. 15 and March 25 in 2016.

The district is waiting to see how athletic schedules, specifically football, will be affected by the missed days.  KCSD Superintendent Dr. Frank Morgan said some football teams’ schools are in heavily damaged areas. 

“Our biggest stumble right now is Region 4 and 3A, which Camden is in, because it’s got two schools in the Columbia area -- Dreher and A.C. Flora,” Morgan said, which did not reopen until Wednesday. “They also have Lower Richland, which I understand is absolutely devastated, so there is discussion on how those games will get made up.”

Morgan also said he would speak with administrators to create a plan for make-up days if another weather related event prevented school from opening. 

“Unfortunately we’ve missed five days … I always assume the worst: that we are going to have at least one significant storm if not two. I want to have a plan in place if we have to miss anymore days,” he said, adding he planned on asking administrators Wednesday to give in options of what to do if the district missed another six days.

Morgan also said he would ask administrators to encourage teachers to maximize instructional time. 

“I don’t think I feel comfortable with waiving three days then going before the board for three more because that is a lot of instructional time,” Morgan said. “I’m going to be asking administrators … to work with their staff on how to maximize instructional time during the day, how to make some choices of where we focus on instruction. I’m not saying don’t have assemblies or field trips but to please be discerning about instructional time.”

Board member Kim DuRant asked for make-up days not to interfere with holidays. Morgan said he would keep that in mind.  

Also during Tuesday night’s meeting, Board Chairman Ron Blackmon thanked emergency and school officials who worked to restore district schools after the flooding.  

“I want to take this opportunity to thank Dr. Morgan and (KCSD Director of Operations) Billy Smith, (Kershaw County) Public Works, emergency -- everybody that worked so hard,” Blackmon said. “I think we were on top of everything in our county and I appreciate all the work you all did -- for getting up early and checking the roads … Kershaw County was on top of things and I believe we went back (to schools) at the right time.” 

Morgan said the flooding was unprecedented. 

“You’ve done this work long enough and you think you’ve seen everything. This particular weather incident was different from anything I have had to deal with and I’ve dealt with hurricanes and ice storms … When you have a hurricane, it’s tragic and horrible, but you know what you have to do. With this, it ended on Monday but the problems kept evolving all week,” Morgan said of the number of road closures and affected bus routes. 

Damaged roads affected student transportation -- a significant factor in the decision to keep schools closed. For example, Smyrna Road being closed in Elgin affected eight buses and the transportation of 400 to 500 students. 

“Special thanks to bus folks, to our bus supervisors,” Morgan said. “They just did a super job. They went out and looked at roads, along with Mr. Smith they worked with public works communicating what needed to be repaired right away; they talked with parents. I just can’t say enough about the work they did.”

Morgan also thanked district maintenance workers and principals for having schools prepared for students’ return to classes, and the county for its cooperation. 

“We had tremendous cooperation from the county. When we called and said there was an issue, if they could do anything about it, they did,” Morgan said. 

In other business, the board heard a presentation of the district’s standing on ACT and WorkKeys scores. The scores reflected last year’s senior class and showed the district ranks 15th with a composite score of 20.6, dropping from 14th place from the previous year.

The board also heard Results from WorkKeys assessments. All 11 Graders in the district were administered the test, which assessed students’ ability to read for information, apply mathematics and locate information. Students receive a National Career Readiness Certificate for passing the assessment. Morgan said in the future he anticipates a Work Keys certificate indicator being placed on student’s diplomas.

Kershaw County School District ranked fourth for the WorkKeys test results, with 89.1 percent earning a NCRC certificate.

The board will meet again Tuesday at 6 p.m. in the board room of the district office, 2029 West DeKalb St., in Camden. All meetings are open to the public.


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