COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - A few weeks ago, many teachers from across the state had plans to be in downtown Columbia Tuesday morning for SC for Ed's second teacher rally. Instead, those teachers were at home.
So were their students.
SC for Ed Founder Lisa Ellis is a teacher at Richland School District Two. She said, "We're sad the rally had been postponed but we're even sadder we can't be in the schools taking care of our students."
Ellis said many educators with the grassroots teacher group miss their students. Tuesday afternoon, teachers found out schools will remain closed in South Carolina until the end of April. Ellis said, "We don't want us to be out for the rest of the year. I miss my students. They make my heart happy."
According to Ellis, this extended closure will allow teachers to connect with their students and parents in creative ways. She said educators want to make sure their students are doing well academically, physically and mentally.
"When you allow a teacher to have free reign over what is the best interest for his or her student -- you see the creative things coming out. You see the parades, you see them stepping up and helping families," she said.
Ellis hopes when the coronavirus pandemic is over - parents, teachers, and others will continue to work together to help students in South Carolina succeed. “My hope is this is going to be a learning lesson not only for teachers and students but the community so they can see the impact great teaching has on a child,” Ellis said.
Teachers did get some good news this week, the U.S. Department of Education approved the South Carolina Department of Education's request to waive some end of the year assessments.
This spring South Carolina will not administer:
- SC READY (English language arts and mathematics in grades 3–8);
- SCPASS (science in grades 4 and 6);
- End-of-Course Examination Program (English, Algebra, Biology, United States History and the Constitution) the requirement that these examinations count 20 percent has been waived;
- Prekindergarten assessments; and
- Alternate assessments
Ellis said this is a relief for many teachers across the state. "I think it's going to be really exciting for teachers as they plan and develop new lessons. I think it's going to be even better for students as they'll be able to learn and engage with the information in a different much more meaningful way."
The South Carolina Department of Education said they are working closely with the vendors of college entrance, college credit and workforce readiness assessments to explore innovative approaches, like online testing.
Governor Henry McMaster is expected to issue his executive order to extend the K-12 closures in South Carolina in the coming days, according to his office.