We’ve decided that the word to describe 2020 at the Children’s Center is adaptable.
When we re-opened in June and redesigned our processes to ensure the health and safety of staff and children, we hoped it would do everything necessary to keep everyone inside this special place protected. We have had to transform usual routines, remain focused on new procedures, not let our guard down, as well as refine and adjust to changes in information. We are grateful to our parents for their ongoing support and compliance, to our staff for their incredible hard work and passion, and to our support base of donors for helping us to provide these essential services for our community. This month we send a special thank you to the Coastal Community Foundation and Wexford Plantation Charitable Fund for their adaptability, The Bernard P and Elenore G Breedlove Foundation, and Community Foundation of the Lowcountry for providing grants to support our programs.
Virtual School or No Virtual School
That is a good question! When Beaufort County Schools announced that school would open in a virtual forum, The Children’s Center joined several community organizations to provide space for children to come and participate in their online classes while parents continued to go to work. In the past few weeks, Beaufort County has announced its plan to return to face-to-face classes for two days per week. The Children’s Center remains committed to ensuring children have a place to come learn, play, and grow during those times the children are not in class.
We are hosting a Virtual School Program for twenty-nine children in kindergarten through 2nd grade. Each morning the children arrive with their school-provided online learning devices, begin the day with a nutritious breakfast, and then log-on to their morning meetings.
Throughout the day, they use their devices to meet with their teacher and complete assignments. Teachers are doing a masterful job of creating engaging experiences in a difficult environment. We stand ready to continue working with them as children return to the classroom a few days each week. With the change in programming by the schools, we have arranged for some weekly enrichment programming in physical education and music. Both are thanks to the generosity of the Coastal Community Foundation. We also applaud the Wexford Plantation Charitable Fund for helping us to provide the necessary resources (tables, headphones, etc.) to ensure a positive learning environment for our students.
About 18 months ago, The Children’s Center began a journey creating a system that would evaluate the development progress of our children based on the South Carolina Early Learning Standards. A devoted volunteer and friend of our Center, Ms. Andrea Siebold, worked tirelessly to create individual student portfolios for teachers to use for the purpose of tracking each child’s individual development. The portfolios have been designed to move from class to class and allow each teacher to work individually with each student to help them progress and develop along the continuum. This program also allows teachers to use the information to communicate with parents about their child’s developmental progress.
As of July, the pilot program, limited to a few classrooms, has provided valuable insight on necessary revisions and we have rolled the evaluation portfolios out to every classroom. We now have baseline data for each child with a quarterly update completed by the teacher. In addition to the paper tracking, Ms. Andrea is collecting the data and inputting it into a uniquely developed database. In partnership with USCB and Dr. Ron Erdei, Assistant Professor of Computer Science, we are creating this database to have the ability to review data enabling us to report on the progress of individual children, classrooms, by age ground, and by the school. We are grateful for this partnership with Dr. Erdei and USCB. Stay tuned for a report on progress in a few months!
She Does It All!
Sometimes a person has a job description that specifically identifies the tasks for which they are responsible. The Children’s Center has a very special lady who is always committed to doing whatever needs to be done. Mrs. Carmina is our Education Assistant. Her role is to help teachers be successful in their classrooms. Having been promoted from Assistant Teacher to her new role, Carmina excels in managing responsibility with mentorship and compassion.
Mrs. Carmina oversees many of the details of day-to-day life at The Children’s Center. Some of her many responsibilities include classroom scheduling, ensuring children are cared for when injured or sick, and serving as a translator for our Spanish-speaking parents and students.
Mrs. Carmina has worked at The Children’s Center for a total of thirteen years, and when asked what she loves most, she says, “I love conducting my job with a dedicated team and I enjoy the opportunity to help make sure children are learning in a safe environment.”
In her free time, you can find her delving into a good book.
Next time you are at the center, be sure to give Mrs. Carmina a wave and thank her for all she does to make our organization a wonderful place for our children to be!