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At-home education plan begins for local students

Governor Kemp recently announced the closing of school doors for the remainder of the school year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. With this news, the Decatur County School System sprung into action, scrambling to find a way that best suited all of their students and their needs.

Superintendent Tim Cochran, along with the Board of Education determined the best way to help students in all grades was targeted instruction through packets and online instruction.

The packets and online instruction would then be used in evaluating a student’s ability for promotion and retention.

Students picked up paper packets Thursday and Friday at their school and those who had online access began work Friday night.

The first two weeks of packets will then be compiled with another two weeks of packets that can be picked up April 23-24. The work will then all be turned in virtually or in person on May 4 for assessment.

Students in grades K-8 will have their yearly grade determined by the average of the 1st, 2nd and 3rd nine weeks grade. The instructional packets will simply be used to allow students to earn points and really target the students that are struggling. The students who are falling behind will have their packets reviewed by the teachers and will be issued a pass/fail for promotion and retention of a grade. The packets will not negatively impact a student, though. Cochran realizes every family has different circumstances and some children may need a lot of one on one time to fully comprehend the concept being discussed in the packet, which is why the packets do not impact a student’s average.

Because high school students’ grades are weighted differently and GPA is of the upmost importance, the packets they are being issued will determine the baseline grade they receive for the second semester.

The packets can only help the students; each of the packets allow students to earn an additional five points to their grade or a total of 10 points overall. This allows the students to boost their GPA and receive class credit.

The packets will not be graded on accuracy, but on effort. Teachers understand the concepts may be difficult, despite the best explanation, but they want to know the students are trying to comprehend the material.

High school students who do not attempt any of the packet work will not be punished; their grade will be the average of the second semester midterm and be reflected on their transcript.

Cochran reminds students and parents this work is not meant to be a burden on anyone and teachers are still available for help. Parents who want to help their children can email questions and students may as well.

Cochran plans to update seniors on Valedictorian and Salutatorian status soon, as well as notifying honor graduates.