SCCPSS hosts drive-in virtual transitions events for new middle, high school students

Back To School

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — Incoming middle and high schoolers had the chance to learn about their new schools virtually during the Savannah-Chatham County Public School System’s transitions events. 

On Aug. 17 and Aug. 18, teachers from 19 local schools met with sixth- and ninth-grade students at Overcoming by Faith Church Ministries for the social distancing-friendly orientations. 

Families remained in their vehicles during the events, which were set up like a drive-in movie theater. 

They tuned their radios to 99.1 FM to listen to the presentation also showing on a big screen in front of the parking lot.

Each school came out at a designated time for their special event. The videos featured introductions from the new teachers on what to expect this coming year including curriculum overviews and rules to keep in mind during the virtual classroom experience. 

Savannah Arts Academy, Hubert Middle, Groves High and DeRenne Middle were among the schools that took part. 

“[From] their cars in a safe environment, they’re able to find out all of the information about when school begins, how you log in, who your teacher is, who your counselor is and how to interface,” Dr. Vallerie Cave, SCCPSS associate superintendent for K-12 school transformation and innovation, told NOW.

“We wanted to make sure they had that opportunity because last year, they didn’t get the opportunity to transition from one grade to the next,” Cave said. “Transitioning from fifth to sixth, transitioning from eighth to ninth, leaving a physical building and moving to another is a huge experience.”

West Chatham Middle School kicked off Tuesday’s drive-in event with an opening speech from Principal Ronnie C. Banyard, Jr.

“It went exceptionally well, we are excited to be able to have some form of connection with our families,” Barnyard told NOW. “This is very different for all of us, so being able to socially distance but have a setting where we can still engage is greatly important.”

Students were also given welcome gift bags filled with virtual back-to-school supplies, helpful information and school spirit gear from their mask-wearing teachers.

“We’re excited about tomorrow,” Cave said. “Ready to come back to learn.”

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