School Board Connection

  • A Summary of the Action Taken at the September 10, 2020 Board of Trustees Meeting

    Members Present: S. Porter Stewart, Chairman, Barry Townsend, Vice-Chairman, Bryan Chapman, Secretary, Artie Buxton, Trisha C. Caulder, John Galloway, Davy Greg, Alexis D. Pipkins, Sr.

    Action Items

    • The Board of Trustees approved financial statements, minutes, personnel, 2020-21 Title 1 Plans, and certification of delegates for the South Carolina School Boards Association’s Delegate Assembly. The Board also denied a request for an employee hearing.

    Superintendent’s Update 
    Superintendent of Florence 1 Schools Dr. Richard O’Malley informed the board that many staff members have worked very hard to make the school year as normal as possible. He reported that the two-week period prior to the beginning of school was very helpful in allowing teachers to prepare for the first day of school on September 8th. Dr. O’Malley announced that Carver Elementary, Lucy T. Davis Elementary, Delmae Elementary, and McLaurin Elementary, which were formerly K-4 grade schools, have added fifth-grade enrollment.

    Other Items Noted by Dr. O’Malley:

    Student Enrollment – 7,400 students have enrolled in the A/B face-to-face learning cohort; 8,100 students have enrolled in the Florence 1 Schools Virtual Academy. Accommodations are being made for an additional 1,000 students who had not pre-registered. Of the 8,100 students who enrolled in the Virtual Academy, 70% are African-American, and 24% are Caucasian. Of the 7,400 students who chose face-to-face instruction, 24% are African-American, and 74% are Caucasian.

    Quick Links on the Florence 1 Schools Website-Parents who wish to switch their students from the Virtual Academy to face-to-face instruction or from face-to-face instruction to the Virtual Academy should complete the Change Action Learning Environment form. The form should be completed by October 8th. The Department of Health and Environment Control is tracking the Coronavirus in schools. The report is updated weekly. A parent portal which will provide links to information for parents to technologically support their children in the learning process, will be placed on the website soon. COVID-19 Updates - A Partnership with MUSC is making COVID-19 testing available for students and staff in Florence 1 Schools.

    Human Resources - All certified vacancies have been filled for the 2020-21 school year. New employees include 18 new administrators and 174 certified staff. Remaining vacancies include the need for six classified staff members--four bus drivers and two helpers (grounds and electrician).  

    Athletics – Currently, students are actively participating in the following athletic activities: volleyball, golf, football, tennis, and cheerleading. The Department of Commerce has capacity requirements for attendance at football games. Dr. O’Malley indicated that Florence 1 Schools will comply with these requirements. Plans are in the making to provide Florence 1 students the opportunity to become involved in esports. Dr. O’Malley explained to the board that some colleges and universities are offering scholarships for students who are able to perform well in this emerging athletic interest.

    Construction - Projects are ongoing in and around Florence 1 Schools. They include:

    •new modular classrooms at McLaurin Elementary, Florence 1’s largest elementary school;

    •demolition and construction at the old McClenaghan High which is making the way for remodeling the facility to serve as an office complex;

    •preparation of girls’ and boys’ soccer fields at the three high schools;

    •construction of a new gymnasium at Greenwood Elementary which is expected to be completed in late October;

    •construction of a new Southside Middle School.

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