From staff reports
Students in the Beaufort County School District’s prekindergarten and early childhood special education programs will be able to enhance their learning thanks to iPad mobile devices funded by two community organizations.
The two donations – $54,000 from the Community Foundation of the Lowcountry and $15,000 from the Coastal Community Foundation – will mean that all Pre-K through Grade 12 students in the district will have their own mobile devices. The district already was one of only a handful of South Carolina school systems offering one-to-one computer access to students in grades K-12.
“The coronavirus pandemic has made online learning more important than ever,” Superintendent Frank Rodriguez said in a release. “Our Connect2Learn program already supplied devices to K-12 students, and these two wonderful donations will let us expand our program to help our very youngest students, too. Their generosity will help us support some of our most vulnerable students during a very stressful time.”
Some district 3- and 4-year-olds began working with their new iPads last week, and the rest will receive them this week, said Ashley Hutchison, the district’s Director of Readiness.
Prekindergarten teachers will send interactive and engaging activities through the iPads to students, Hutchison said, and their parents can also use the devices to communicate with teachers and send videos, photos and notes to show how students have completed their assignments. All Pre-K students – those in face-to-face instruction and those whose parents have chosen virtual instruction – will benefit.
“Education is one of the most important ways to level the playing field, so for us and our donors to be able to enhance young children’s learning is very fulfilling,” said Jean Heyduck, Vice President of Marketing and Communications for Community Foundation of the Lowcountry.
Stewardship and Events Officer Gloria Duryea said education is also a major focus of the Coastal Community Foundation. “We really appreciate our donors and supporters who through our COVID-19 relief and recovery fund have already deployed more than $600,000 to our region,” she said.
Hutchison said that in addition to the two new donations, the school district had also collaborated with the United Way of the Lowcountry to provide Pre-K and early childhood education students with school readiness bookbags filled with supplies and materials that can be used to complete lessons and activities.