State education leaders visit Columbus County schools

State education leaders visit Columbus County schools

WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - After a year of changes for students and teachers, learning through a computer screen is almost second nature, but it’s not the way things are meant to be.

“That is not the best environment,” said Columbus County Schools Superintendent Deanna Meadows. “If you provide in-person instruction, you provide in person instruction. If you provide virtual, you need to just provide virtual. Blended is not the best scenario for students to be successful.”

State education leaders and some lawmakers got a glimpse of the modern classroom today in Columbus County. The tour kicked off this morning at Columbus Career and College Academy before moving to East Columbus Junior and Senior High School.

Leaders spent some time in classrooms using a blended method of learning with some kids sitting in class and others tuning in through video calls. One classroom was completely virtual with students spread out in the library to learn math skills from a teacher at a different school.

It’s one reason why decision-makers say it’s time to get kids back in school full-time.

“We know we’re behind,” admitted Rep. Carson Smith. “We know COVID, even though there have been some innovative ways to bring virtual classrooms and hybrid classrooms, we know we are behind in learning.”

But with middle and high school students headed back to the classroom in the next few week, Smith says the state still has a long way to go to get everyone back on track.

“We’ve got to be sure that we get teachers back in the classroom,” said Smith. “We’ve got to be sure that any rules and timetables and statutes that need to be modified or changed to allow them the fexibility to do that-- that’s what we’re talking about. That’s what we’re trying to get done right now.”

Meadows knows Columbus County isn’t a big school district, but the students there are sharing similar struggles to those around the state. She hopes further policy decisions will keep every child in mind, no matter where their school is.

“The budget does impact us because of us being a rural low-wealth county that every dime makes an impact in terms of how well we serve students,” said Meadows. “We have some great programs that are happening in our district that provide a great education to our kids, but we need the help of state lawmakers and state officials that make decisions about what happens in our schools.”

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