GOOSE CREEK, S.C. (WCSC) - A free public charter school in Goose Creek is offering multiple learning options next school year that bridge at-home and classroom learning.
Mevers School of Excellence officials say they've seen a spike in enrollment since last school year. They serve grades K-8 and children don't have to live in Berkeley County to attend.
Principal Greg Stickel says teacher and parent input played a large role in their plans for the year.
"One of the things we really like to say is that we want to give our parents a voice and choice so we like to let them choose," Stickel said. "In this pandemic, if they are not comfortable coming back to school we understand that and we empathize with that."
Parent Shajunia Brown’s daughter will do at-home learning. Brown says they have a family member in their household who is high risk when it comes to coronavirus.
“Being able to participate as a parent it allowed me to ease some of the fears,” Brown said.
Parent Jason Pizarro says his three children will be returning to the classroom at Mevers. He says they learn better there and benefit from the social interactions.
“My wife and I both work at home managing that time at home and making sure they’re learning and understanding things is tough,” Pizarro said.
Every classroom at Mevers will have a camera that gives students who are learning from a home 360 degree view of the room. The Owl camera allows those students who are learning from home to feel like they are in the classroom.
The camera automatically moves to whoever is talking in the classroom and will split the screen to show multiple people if they are having a conversation. It gives students who are learning from home all angles of the classroom and the ability to engage as well.
The school is offering a traditional in-person learning option along with a hybrid option where students rotate from in the classroom to at home learning each week.
Mevers also has two full-time mobile learning options. One where students at home can view in-person classroom lessons real-time and another that has recorded lessons and schedule flexibility.
“One of the options, we can move back and fourth between the plans,” Pizarro said. “While we may choose traditional now, if we feel uncomfortable we’re able to go back to a virtual environmental.”
New safety protocols at the school include mask requirements, one-way hallways, sanitation stations outside of every classroom and disinfecting throughout the day with a Clorox 360 fog cleaning machine.
There are also required temperature checks for all students, teachers and guests.
The school does not use bus services. All student temperatures will be checked while they are still in the car in the drop off line.
Desks are also spaced for social distancing and there are taped markings on the floor to indicate where desks should remain.
“It’s a welcoming, loving environment,” Brown said. “They care about us all, you can tell they do.”
Prior to the pandemic, the school had 740 students enrolled. Now they have 933 student enrolled with a cap of 970. There are still openings available in every grade level.
"Our ability to switch over to mobile in the spring was very valuable," Stickel said "Then this year to involve our parents, involve our teachers on our taskforce to make sure all teachers and all parents have a voice and choice, I really think that's helped drive up our enrollment up."
The first day for students in Aug. 24. If you’d like to enroll your child visit the Mevers School of Excellence website and click on enrollment.