Kershaw County School District is an 11,000 student school district in rural South Carolina that has been using the Learning Explorer platform to help their teachers successfully address their hybrid learning needs during the pandemic. Recently, Lori O’Connell, Learning Explorer’s Director of District Partnerships, interviewed Lavoy Carter, M.Ed., Kershaw’s Director of Data Science and Predictive Analytics, regarding the challenges and successes they have had as a rural district addressing in-person, hybrid, and remote learning.
Lori: Lavoy, can you please tell us a bit about Kershaw County Schools and your role there?
Lavoy: Well, I am the Director for Data Science and Predictive Analytics for the Kershaw County School District. We are a district of 20 sites serving approximately 11,000 students in grades 4K-12. We are located in north central South Carolina and spread over about 750 square miles, Kershaw County is more than half as large as the state of Rhode Island and has a 14.5% poverty rate.
Lori: During this challenging year, how has Kershaw County Schools approached in-person, hybrid & remote learning?
Lavoy: Our district allowed parents to select from three different learning models for the 2020-21 School Year:
a) Face-to-Face where instruction takes place with teachers and peers in the traditional classroom in the student’s school while following COVID-19 specific standard operating procedures.
b) Synchronous (real-time) Virtual eCampus where the student’s class takes place virtually utilizing KCSD digital curriculum provided through a livestream allowing for student participation using digitally protected KCSD technology tools. Group work and activities are modified to meet the needs of students working virtually.
c) Asynchronous (self-paced) Virtual eCampus where students can watch the day’s lessons utilizing KCSD digital curriculum at their own pace. This option provides for ultimate flexibility in an “anytime, 24/7” environment while still providing students with specific teacher support. Parents may request a change to another learning option at the midpoint of each 9-weeks (each 4 1/2 weeks).
Lori: What type of technology do you use in Kershaw (i.e. LMS, etc.)?
Lavoy: We are a 1-to-1 district where students in pre-kindergarten through 12th grade have their own device. Students in grades preK-8 are issued Chromebooks while students in grades 9-12 utilize Windows laptops. We are a Google district that utilizes Edmentum, NWEA MAP Growth, and Learning Explorer as our main learning solutions.
Lori: How has using Learning Explorer changed the way your teachers approach lesson planning and delivery?
Lavoy: Learning Explorer, our Learning Object Repository (LOR) of choice, provides our teachers with a one-stop resource for lesson planning and delivery. Instead of having to scour the Internet for resources, Learning Explorer provides educator curated holdings that have already been vetted and rated which saves teachers time.
Lori: What specific Learning Explorer features do Kershaw teachers like the most?
Lavoy: Kershaw teachers like that Learning Explorer is aligned to our South Carolina State Standards which is so helpful when it comes to searching for resources that target specific standards. They also love that they can collaborate with specific teachers anywhere in the district by sharing their lessons, collections and folders. This collaboration allows them to build on the expertise of their fellow teachers.
Lori: What has been your experience with Learning Explorer regarding implementation and training?
Lavoy: From the first time you introduced me to Learning Explorer, you have delivered on every promise to provide a time-saving, all-in-one curriculum discovery, management, and delivery platform. In addition, your District Success Team has guided us through a very successful implementation and has been extremely helpful in providing the training we needed to get us up and running. Even after the implementation and start-up training, the Learning Explorer team continues to be very responsive to our needs.