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Thousands of Beaufort, Jasper county students back in class

(Source: WTOC) (Source: WTOC)
BEAUFORT CO., SC (WTOC) -

Thousands of students were in classrooms across the Lowcountry on Thursday, marking the first day of school. 

Teachers were participating in workshops days ahead of class, and districts have been preparing all summer. 

We had team coverage in Beaufort and Jasper counties as students waited in the hallways to go inside of their classrooms, Thursday morning. A special orientation was held for 6th Graders to help them make the transition to middle school. 

Students, teachers, and even the superintendent were all anxious to get the show on the road, and a new school year means new changes and opportunities. 

In Jasper County, this was the first time in quite a while they've had staggered bell times. Elementary students got in their classrooms an hour earlier than middle and high schoolers. 

The district said it helped compensate for a bus driver shortage. Administrators are asking parents to be patient - saying adjusting to the new system won't happen overnight. 

"Safety is always going to be our top concern for their children, for our children, and that we want to ensure them just be patient with us as the bus runs," said Donald Andrews, Superintendent, Jasper County School District. "Don't be alarmed if the bus appears to be late or a little bit early, just flex with us as we go through the first few days."

"I'm just ready to see how much they're going to learn. I know they're going to excel so fast and there are so many things I want to do, and I know it's going to be hard to fit it in in the little bit of time we have, but we make it work and we make it fun," said Shanece Terrell, Jasper County District Teacher of the Year. 

For the students, making learning fun means more hands on activities and assignments at their fingertips. 

"The teachers can't explain what games do. Everybody loves games, so when you put learning and games together, it helps you because not only are you having fun, but you're learning too, so it's really good," said 7th Grader, Taniya, Hardeeville/Ridgeland Middle School. 

That's Shanece Terrell's goal. She's the Teacher of the Year, and she says play plus learning equals growth. 

"Yes, we have behavior problems but we make it fun; turn that behavior into a student who is your helper all the time. Give them responsibility. Kids love responsibility," Terrell said. 

Elementary students got out of school at 2:30 p.m. and the middle and high school students got out at 3:45 p.m. 

There are two main initiatives the district is pushing. The one-to-one technology, which will put mobile devices in the hands of 9th-12th graders, as well as some off-site training for our teachers to enhance their learning practices, especially for those early grades.

Copyright 2017 WTOC. All rights reserved.

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