CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - The South Carolina Virtual Charter School has had almost no impacts during the pandemic, and now a teacher there wants to help parents and students at other schools who may still be figuring out e-learning.
Aimee Connell teaches high school business and technology at this virtual school which offers a free education to the state’s kindergarten through 12th graders.
“Our kids are still getting a quality education. We still have our live classes everyday. We haven’t been affected at all," Connell said. “We are like the brick and mortar schools except everything is online, so our students follow the same schedule.”
Connell taught in “brick and mortar” schools for 16 years before transitioning to the online platform.
“I thought this was going to be a breeze. I’m a technology teacher," she said. “It’s so different. It’s not something you can jump right into. It’s a whole new way of student management. It’s a whole new way of student engagement, because they’re not in front of you.”
The school’s teachers go through extensive training on how to use the software and how to engage students. The first week of school is even dedicated to getting everyone comfortable with the platform.
Connell did have advice to those not used to virtual learning,
“First of all, find somewhere in the house that is dedicated to school work. Don’t be at the living room table with the TV on and the siblings running around," she said. “Also, get a schedule and stick to that schedule. Wake up, eat breakfast, and know you’re going to be working on math for the first hour or however long.”
She also said staying organized and scheduling breaks is key.
“A big thing I always tell my students is, ‘Get up. Walk around your block. Go outside. Get some fresh air. Get a snack. Don’t stay on the computer six hours straight,’" she said. “Especially now they’re virtual, you need to have a folder for every class, especially high school students. I’m a high school teacher, and the first week of school I have my students set up an English folder, a math folder, a science folder, and everything you do, put it in that folder."
Karen Howard-Goss couldn’t agree more. Her daughter attended this virtual school and graduated last year with a high GPA and a top score on the ACT test.
“Even for me as a parent who also is a learning specialist, it’s so easy to say, ‘Let’s just go for walk right now or I’m going to the kitchen, and I need your help.’ You have to be consistent," Howard-Goss said. “You have to turn off the notifications during sessions, and you have to seek resources.”
For more information on the South Carolina Virtual Charter School click here.