Clear Dot Charter brings clear vision to virtual learning

Updated: May. 5, 2020 at 8:07 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Principal Lindsey Ott at Clear Dot Charter School acknowledges how a lack of resources can negatively impact academic growth home. However, this charter school, located in Columbia, made sure early on to supply each home with the proper technology to assist in learning.

“I was able to purchase one to one technology, chrome books, immediately mobilize my staff to change directions,” Ott said. “We’ve given them the resources they need. The biggest difference is commitment.”

Clear Dot educates for K-thru-sixth graders. The teachers at the school assist parents with remote learning by identifying those that need additional assistance.

"With the resources to do online education, you still have to be able to provide other things for parents," Ott said. "The intervention model we use in the classroom, we've ramped it up, so the students that we identified as needing additional assistance are receiving more one-on-one virtual time."

Being one of 17 Erskine Institute Charter Schools that serve approximately 10,000 students comes with educational and financial spending flexibility. To lessen the impact of potential learning losses, Ott took action to purchase extra materials for the students.

“Couple things we are doing to mitigate that,” Ott mentioned about academic learning gaps among peers. “I immediately purchased scholastic bookbags. Sending home tons of books to kids, teacher creative materials that have math, science resources.”

Ott is also outlining a summer learning program to continue education beyond the close of the academic year.

But, one thing that can not be replicated through virtual education, valuable socialization for young children inside Clear Dot's walls.

“It’s extremely important,” Ott said. “I will tell you, everyone that works here desperately misses our hugs with the students.”

To supplement that interaction within the school walls, Principal Ott encourages the kids to have a little fun over virtual learning sessions.

“The kids love to get on their zoom meetings every day and interact with each other,” Ott said. “They run around with their laptop, ‘Do you want to see my puppy?’ So, while it’s not a physical interaction, they are getting socialization through that digital platform.”

Ott says commitment to education at home, coupled with support from the school, will help curb potential academic decline during the Global Pandemic.

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