Edgefield County students, staff adjust to modified calendar

Published: Aug. 4, 2022 at 7:00 PM EDT
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EDGEFIELD, S.C. (WRDW/WAGT) - Aiken County students have just over a week before they’re back in the classroom on Aug 15.

Starting next year, their first day is three weeks earlier, starting on July 25. The modified calendar will give students three extended breaks throughout the year.

Those are in October, late December to early January, and April.

Meanwhile, Edgefield County, schools are already giving their modified calendar a go.

We checked in with the school district to see how they’re adjusting. Class is in session earlier than usual for schools in Edgefield County.

The superintendent says this has been one of the smoothest transitions of his career for students and staff.

He says the decision to go to this modified calendar was met with community support.

“We surveyed the staff and our community, and I was surprised we had an eighty percent approval rate from staff and the community to go for it,” said Superintendent Kevin O’Gorman.

It’s an idea almost three years in the making.

“Conversations about this started around 2019-2020, then, of course, the pandemic hit, and it just sort of got pushed to the side,” he said.

This year’s calendar includes an earlier start, with two-week breaks in between. The goal of those breaks is to help students succeed.

“The biggest benefit is if a student is failing, say at the end of the first nine weeks, we can intervene right away. We don’t have to watch them struggle throughout the school year then hope to catch them up in the summertime,” said O’Gorman.

They’re hoping to reach double the students they would during a traditional summer school intervention program.

“We’d typically see about six percent of our population being served over the summer. What we’ve seen from neighboring districts is they’ve seen up to 12 percent being served during that intersession week,” he said.

While it does come with an earlier start, he says they’re excited to start the year.

“Folks seem to have adapted to the schedules. It’s been wonderful seeing the kids come back with smiles on their faces. The staff seems really relaxed, refreshed, and ready to go,” he said.

The modified calendar is the biggest change this year, but he says they’re also working to keep students safe while they’re at school. All schools have additional security measures like protected entries.

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