Anderson School District One on finishing school year, to announce graduation

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The Anderson School District One Board held a virtual meeting Tuesday evening during which they heard an update on finishing the school year, progress on the building program and preliminary budget information.
Superintendent Robbie Binnicker said that District One is doing well with e-learning and “getting better at that everyday.” Binnicker said the online learning has had challenges and that “they would much rather have students in front of us.”
Binnicker said the District is pretty close to making a decision on what they will do for graduation. “We are looking at graduation and awards day, and will create the best plan we can.” He said the seniors have missed out on prom, spring sports, concerts and other programs and activities this year. “There is no way to do those things and maintain social distancing,” he said. “We are looking at creative ways to celebrate and ways to incorporate technology.”
He said they have surveyed seniors and received feedback through email and phone calls from seniors and family members. He said it is clear they want an “in person graduation and to be able to walk across the stage.” They also want family and friends present, and to make things safe, he said.
Binnicker said they are looking for guidance from the state and will present a plan soon.
The Superintendent said students will be allowed to keep their electronic learning devices through the summer to allow learning to continue. He said there will be foreign language instruction, ebooks available, keyboarding, educational games and other programs available. “Mrs. Harrison and the technology team are working on instructions and recommendations,” he said.
Binnicker said safety has been a priority for teachers and staff. “We want to be as safe as we possibly can.”
He said they are working from home and in small groups at school.
The student nutrition personnel and bus drivers are in contact with the public on a regular basis, delivering meals. They are taking extra safety precautions with washable face masks, daily temperature checks and other measures, Binnicker said. “We appreciate our student nutrition staff and bus drivers for serving our students.”
Finance Director Travis Thomas reported the December proceeds from the Local Option Sales Tax were received in March. Anderson County collected $2,655,073. Anderson District 1 received $839,000 of that. $167,900 will go to capital projects. $671,799 will go to property tax relief.
During her instructional report, Jane Harrison there has been no down time with planning and implementing for e-learning and for summer and fall. “I don’t think we have ever worked harder,” she said.
She asked board members to record a video or written message for seniors which will be posted on the District One facebook page.
She said District 1 was very well prepared for e-learning and that teachers are using technology for teaching and interaction with each other with a social hour during which ideas are shared.
“We are looking to make things better,” she said.
Teachers are using technology for online books, small reading groups and mini lessons with students.
She said one of the big concerns is the emotional needs of students who are missing their classroom community.
Dr. Kelley Pew reported the Student Nutrition program served more than 90,000 meals between Mar. 17 and April 27. Seventy five of eighty six employees are working she said.
The program continues to serve about 3,600 meals per day with bus deliveries to seven school locations.
She said this Thursday, families receiving meals will get four meals for Thursday and Friday.
Dr. Pew also reported that District One is working to get reimbursements for canceled spring field trips and with help from the District, will reimburse parents one hundred percent.
The Board unanimously approved an Emergency Resolution related to the COVID-19 Pandemic. The resolution brings the school district in line with Federal and State Emergency Declarations.
The Board also approved allowing Southeast Auction to sell obsolete property from the Palmetto Middle and Wren Middle school buildings. Binnicker said other schools in the District were allowed to pick through the equipment and items for anything they could use. The rest of the inventory will be sold. The agreement is for 30 percent of the gross sales or $4,000, whichever is greater.
The Board also approved a transfer ownership of 0.18 acres of property to Donald Lee McKinney and Carolyn Cartee Marzendorfer. The exchange will allow access to property, Binnicker said.  The District will have “line of sight” easement on the property.
Following the meeting, board members held a budget work session. Details on the first draft budget will be in next week’s Journal.