Teachers tour school community to better understand students’ lives outside the classroom

Teachers board a bus at BC Grammar to take a tour of the community surrounding the school. (Photo provided)

Teachers board a bus at BC Grammar to take a tour of the community surrounding the school. (Photo provided)

Lexington School District Two teachers take an interest in their students. And not just while they are at school.

Teachers from BC Grammar School No. 1 took a bus tour of the school’s surrounding community Friday morning to get a better understanding of the child’s perspective. The purpose of the tour was to familiarize staff members with the community they serve and to positively engage with students and parents in the neighborhoods where they live. The tour included four stops: Greenhill Baptist Church, Cayce/West Columbia Library, Turner Memorial AME Church and B-C Grammar School No. 1.

The bus ride comes as Lexington Two teachers go back to their classrooms to prepare for the return of students this Thursday. Teachers’ first day of the 2016-17 school year was Aug. 11.

“We want to know more about where the student is living,” said new BC Grammar Principal Christopher Dickey. “And we want to let the people in the community know we are out there to learn.”

Sally Brown, BC Grammar’s parent liaison, spoke to teachers before they departed on their tour.

Principal Christopher Dickey addresses teachers before the bus tour. (Photo provided)

Principal Christopher Dickey addresses teachers before the bus tour.

She said the school offers a tutoring program Wednesdays and stresses the importance of strong community involvement through a partnership. As partners, Brown said one of the goals is to encourage reading and explain its importance. The same with more complex challenges in math.

Kathryn Meetze, a fifth-year BC Grammar teacher who participated in the bus tour, said it is the first time the teachers, as a group, have toured the school’s zoning area.

“So many times our community members are coming to us at school. So for us to go to them, it really strengthens that relationship,” Meetze said. “We want to show them that we are here for them, just as much as they are for us.”

She also said if there are deficits, it helps teachers to better understand them if they know where the students are coming from.

Dickey said when he leaves the school at the end of the day, he makes it a point to drive through the neighborhoods surrounding the school to get a feel for the people who make up the BC Grammar community.

BC Grammar was named a Palmetto’s Finest school in March, 1 of 4 in the state for the year. The school also became a member of the National Network of Partnership Schools, in June.

And, with the help of Francis Marion University’s Center of Excellence, BC Grammar has formed an action team for the 2016-17 school year. The action team is a small group that includes the school principal, assistant principal, parent liaison, PTO president, teachers, staff and parents.

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