Darlington Co. schools names interim director for virtual academy; 37% of students enroll

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DARLINGTON, S.C. – The Darlington County School District announced about 3,700 students, or 37 percent of the student population, enrolled in the district’s new virtual academy for the coming year.

Carla Jefferson, a longtime district educator, has been appointed to lead the Darlington County Virtual Academy as interim director.

The district created the DCVA to accommodate students who may not be ready to return to face-to-face instruction due to Coronavirus concerns and to continue to serve students of all ages who have found online learning to be a good fit during the pandemic. Registration for the Virtual Academy is now closed. However, students can still register for face-to-face instruction.

Superintendent Dr. Tim Newman said the district is eager to offer the virtual option to families.

“We are encouraged to initiate our new DCVA,” Newman said. “This will provide new opportunities for students to be successful in a different way.  We don’t look at this as a temporary move, but as an exciting start to a program that will help our students for many years to come.”

Jefferson most recently served as an instructional technology coordinator for the district for the past five years. Prior to that, she taught sixth grade English/Language Arts for five years at Spaulding Middle School. She began working in the Darlington County School District as an Exceptional Education administrator at Darlington Middle School in 2006. Jefferson spearheads the district’s annual Digital Transformation Conference, develops and implements professional development for district education that focuses on effective technology integration in the classroom, and co-hosts the weekly #DCSDTransforms podcast that covers the use of effective technology tools in education.

“Darlington County School District has afforded me an amazing opportunity, and I am excited to begin this new journey,” Jefferson said. “When technology is blended with academic content and instruction, students are afforded a dynamic opportunity to excel. I look forward to supporting teachers as we work to create an engaging virtual learning space that brings a stellar instructional option for the students and parents of Darlington County.”

The Darlington County Virtual Academy will provide rigorous, structured and organized instruction with local teachers. Unlike eLearning, which was implemented under emergency conditions during last spring’s school shutdown, students in the Darlington County Virtual Academy will have a normal daily instructional schedule, earn grades and receive timely teacher feedback in response to class or homework. DCSD teachers experienced in online platforms and virtual instruction will support student engagement using live and recorded lessons and tutorials. Students in the Virtual Academy will be provided the necessary technology to participate in class. Reliable internet is required.

While registration for the Virtual Academy is now closed, students can still register for face-to-face instruction for the 2020-21 school year by visiting the district’s website at www.dcsdschools.org. Families with questions about face-to-face instruction should contact their child’s school.

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