First Day of School at West Florence High

Javonnie Lee waits to receive her Chromebook Monday during the first day of school at West Florence High School.

FLORENCE, S.C. – Florence One Schools started the 2019-20 school year Monday, and this year every student is starting the year with access to a technology device.

The Imagine Forward initiative, the district’s plan for all Florence One students to have access to a technology device, began last school year with second through sixth grades. This year, the district added the rest of the grades.

Many West Florence High School students lined the hall outside the media center Monday, waiting to receive their Chromebooks.

Sissy Smith, a media specialist at West Florence High, said the implementation of the 1:1 initiative has been like Christmas for the children.

“It really has," Smith said. "It’s just been a great gift.”

Smith said going 1:1 will allow students to have constant access to their coursework. Students who do not have internet access at home can use Google offline, and those who are sick or on homebound easily will be able to access coursework, she said.

“We are just very fortunate,” Smith said. “We did not think that we would be in this position this year. We were very grateful to Dr. O’Malley [Superintendent Richard O'Malley], because he has been the driving force behind us and wanted to have each child who registered to have one in hand when they got here.”

Ernest McKenzie, a Spanish teacher at West Florence High, said the technology will allow students to learn and receive information in a different manner, and it allows students to learn in and outside of the school.

“Chromebooks are going to help having students more engaged and involved in the instructional process,” McKenzie said. “Many students learn differently; they’re divergent learners. It helps the teacher include teacher delivery and students receiving information.”

At Williams Middle School, many students entered the school Monday morning with a Chromebook or computer bag in hand.

Whitney Jones, a social studies teacher at Williams Middle, said she loves technology and is excited to be able use technology more with her students. Jones said using technology will allow her to reach students at their personal levels.

“It’s going to make a huge difference,” Jones said. “It’s going to allow more independent work time that they can do on the computers while I can be able to walk around the classroom and facilitate.”

Jones said her class has had access to technology in the past, but students did not have daily access to it as the 1:1 initiative will provide.

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