WEDOWEE - "This will be the most difficult year of public education, but after we get through it, it will be easier on the other end," said Randolph County Schools Superintendent John Jacobs.
During last Tuesday's meeting, in preparation for this rough year, the board approved the purchase of 180 SWIVL audio and video equipment systems for all classrooms from CDWG at the cost of $1,003 for each classroom for a total of $180,540. These will be paid for through the CARES act funds.
Jacobs explained SWIVL is operated with an iPad. The teacher will wear a microphone around his/her neck and the camera is voice activated. The camera will move along with the teacher. The SWIVL looks much like an Alexa, but with a place to prop up an iPad. Then it moves along to keep the instructor in the camera's view.
If a student is at home, they can watch class live using Zoom. The recording is saved. So if the student needs help, the parent and student can watch the class later on. If the home does not have Wi-Fi, the lesson may be loaded onto a thumb drive to be taken home.
Teachers may create libraries of their best lessons. If a teacher is out sick, students might watch the lesson from another teacher.
Parents are encouraged to go onto the systems website or Facebook page to watch a video from Jacobs posted on July 9 and also take a survey. The video discusses various ways in which education might be approached during the upcoming school year.
The superintendent said, "Teachers will be trained to teach their students no matter which option you choose." Jacobs said in case of another closure, teachers will use SWIVL to continue teaching from their classrooms.
Students in grades 7-12 who choose remote learning only will be taught via ACCESS virtual learning. For students in pre-K through sixth grade, the classes will be taught by staff using the state online curriculum.
Reliable internet is required for learning at home. If a student doesn't have reliable internet, they should purchase two 64-gigabyte thumb drives. These students may participate in extracurricular activities. Exams will be taken at school.
Clear face shields have been purchased for staff for close instruction with students, and masks will be provided for students. Social distancing protocols will be implemented, and a machine has been purchased to disinfect classes. The start date has been set for Aug. 20.
In personnel matters, the board:
- Approved three-year contracts for principals Logan Cofield at Wedowee Elementary School, Dr. Debbie McCauley at Woodland Elementary School and Steve Giddens at Randolph County High School.
- Approved Lee Cobb as electrical/utility line worker teacher at Randolph-Roanoke Career Technical Center.
- Approved Kelly Jordan as elementary teacher at Wadley High School.
- Approved Shannon Clark as reading specialist at Wedowee Elementary School.
- Accepted the resignation of speech pathologist Freda Jorgensen, effective Aug. 6.
- Approved Amanda Green as custodian at Woodland Elementary School.
- Approved Diane Estes as a substitute teacher.
- Approved the job description for an athletic director.
In other business, the board accepted the low quote of $30,000 from Stateline Mechanical to replace the rooftop heat and cooling unit at Woodland High School.
Jacobs said work has begun on repairs to the bleachers at Randolph County High School that were damaged in a storm and the Woodland scoreboard, damaged in the same storm, has been repaired.
All of the new regular buses have been delivered, and the new special education buses should be delivered in a couple of weeks.