COLUMBUS COUNTY, N.C. (WECT) – Students at Columbus County high schools returned to the classroom Monday to begin a two week “academic session” implemented by the board of education. Administrators say the two-week head start on the school year aims to fill-in learning gaps caused by the pandemic.
“We heard from many parents during the last 18 months who were concerned about the loss of in-person learning time or concerned about the lack of social interaction for their child,” said Dr. Deanne Meadows, superintendent of Columbus County Schools. “The academic session attempts to address these issues by providing additional instruction and opportunities for students to interact socially.”
The school board approved the session back in May to run from August 9 thru August 20 for East, West, and South Columbus High Schools. Students are expected to attend Monday thru Friday each week of the session, but attendance is not required.
Teachers will be introducing new material while students are back in the classroom. East Columbus High School Principal Jamie Faulk says having students back early has several benefits.
“All the activities in the classrooms are geared towards the curriculum, tying them into helping them be successful,” said Faulk.
Principal Faulk also says students who do miss school days during the “academic session” will be required to catch up on work they miss.
“This is not a make-up remediation,” said Faulk. “This is a ‘We need to make this semester as successful and engaging as possible.’ Trying to re-engage the students into what school should be.”
Students at East Columbus say they do not mind coming back to school early since it gives them the chance to reconnect with all of their classmates for the first time in months.
“I personally believe that when we were at home we just wouldn’t learn as good as if we were in here,” said senior Joandy Martinez. “So, I kind of understand why we’re starting two weeks early sort of to get everybody in the groove.”
Other students, like sophomore Tristan Bellamy, say they’re treating the session like a normal return to the classroom, adding that he was ready to come back early.
“I’m just calling it ‘back to school’ I guess,” said Bellamy. “But I was kind of ready because I was bored, I had a boring summer, so I was ready to come back.”
The official start date for the 2021-22 school year at Columbus County Schools is August 23. The last day of the school year is scheduled for June 7, 2022.
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