Board hears report on online learning

  • Photo courtesy Bear Old. Bear Old works on his assignments online as Rabun County Schools moved to at-home learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
    Photo courtesy Bear Old. Bear Old works on his assignments online as Rabun County Schools moved to at-home learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

TIGER— The 2019-2020 school year ended under unusual circumstances to say the least, but teachers at Rabun County Schools found ways to continue educating students by untraditional means during these unprecedented times. 

“Our team, not only our teachers but all employees, have risen above expectations to serve our families and other students during this unusual time,” said Superintendent April Childers. 

Childers said that teachers communicated with their students in any ways they could think of during the time of at-home learning, whether it be via phone, text messaging, video chats and even by home visits. 

This resulted in: 

 -9,724 phone calls to students and parents. 

-43,623 emails to students and parents

-17,931 text messages to students and parents. 

-12,628 Remind messages to students and parents.

-5,109 items mailed to students. 

-4,408 assignments posted in Google Classroom. 

-3,617 live video sessions. 

Over 500 home visits and countless contacts through other media sources. 

“This is what it looked like for us,” Childers said. “A lot of effort was put in.”  

In addition, there were 46,366 meals served, 500 art supply bags and over 1,000 books given out and over 1,200 Chromebooks distributed. 

Childers said that surveys were sent to teachers at each school to fill out anonymously and explain their experiences with digital learning. 

Rabun County High School 

A Rabun County High School teacher discussed how important it was for students who didn’t have internet access at home to be able to complete their assignments. 

“The amount of technology that was available to each child in the system was amazing. Our rural setting still made this unavailable to some because internet access does not reach all homes,” the teacher noted. 

“The number of ways our system overcame this problem was amazing. Figuring out places for students to sit in their vehicles to access public WiFi to providing paper copies, we tried it all.” 

Rabun County Middle School

Rabun County Middle School teachers, paraprofessionals and administrators expressed what online learning looked like for their students and showed appreciation to the supportive community.  

“I appreciated how supportive our community is. I also appreciate all the teachers in RCMS for helping me and others learn the online world of teaching,” a teacher noted. 

A paraprofessional praised everyone for coming together and overcoming a huge obstacle. 

“We all came together and made the best out of a situation that was tough. We came together as one and made sure that no one felt alone in all the chaos. We are a team,” the paraprofessional said. 

One administrator discussed how staff members worked very hard to meet the needs of all learners. 

“Many teachers set up Google meetings in order to give students a close-to-classroom experience. The special education department set up extra Google meetings to give their students, and many others who were interested, extra help as needed. Often the students chose the times for the meetings and the teachers worked around the students schedule.” 

Rabun County Elementary School 

Rabun County Elementary School employees boasted about how well their students tackled digital learning. 

“I have to brag on my students and parents. They have worked hard and have been so supportive throughout this digital learning time. My colleagues have also been a great support system and administration has been very positive and encouraging,” one teacher said. 

An administrator described, “I believe this experience has shown how strong Rabun County Schools are. We came together as a district to ensure that our students’ needs were being met."

The nutrition program helped so many families during this crisis as well. We came together and I am proud to be part of Rabun County Schools.”

Another teacher noted that digital learning had a positive impact on less outgoing students. 

 “Some of the quiet (flying under the radar) kids gained confidence and were more socially and academically interactive and engaged,” the teacher said. 

Rabun County Primary School

One Rabun County Primary School teacher expressed excitement in being able to make home visits and see the students. 

“My paraprofessional and I were able to drive around and visit our students. It was a great day for us and them.” 

“I think everyone did such a great job with this sudden change. It shows how much we care about each other, our students and community. I am so blessed and thankful to be part of this family,” a paraprofessional noted. 

Board of Education 

Rabun County Board of Education members expressed appreciation to all employees of Rabun County Schools for their cooperation and commitment to educating children during this time. 

“I think the teachers have done an exceptional job on short notice.” “And the students have done a tremendous job at home with their parents,” said board member Steve Cabe. 

He said that even thought it was short notice, “they have stepped up to the plate and continued educating the children of this county, which is wonderful.”