Florence Five uses grant money to invest in tech

Pee Dee

JOHNSONVILLE, SC (WBTW) — Florence County School District Five has ordered laptops for students and teachers in grades five through 12.

A ‘one-to-one’ laptop initiative has been a goal for the district for some time now, but it was able to move forward after getting a grant for $407,000 through the CARES Act.

“It’s a big leap for us,” FCSD5 Superintendent Randy Smiley said. “Funding here is very tight. So this money really helped us to move forward with technology much faster than we would’ve been able to do without it.”

Smiley said the laptops will help with instruction both inside and outside the classroom.

He said it also helps the district to prepare for the upcoming school year as COVID-19 continues to loom.

“If some students choose to go virtual this fall rather than being in house…then we will be able to do that,” Smiley said. “Give them a virtual platform to work from home, as well as for those students who want to come to the regular school setting.”

Each student will be assigned a computer, which they will be able to take home with them to do their assignments with.

Smiley said the district hopes to buy computers for K-4 students once another grant comes in about a month.

One parent told News13 she thought the program would be a big help.

“I do not have a computer at home, so it would be a very big help for my son,” Alesha Hanna said. She has two kids, one of whom is a sixth grader in the district. “I’m a single parent and it’s really hard to grasp everything they’re trying to learn and help them learn versus what they’ve already been taught in school.”

The district is also using funding for an additional nurse so each school has a full-time nurse during the pandemic.

The first day of school for students at FCSD5 is set for August 17.

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