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GREENVILLE COUNTY, SC (FOX Carolina) - Backpacks? Check. Books? Check. Pencils? Check. Wi-Fi hotspots? Greenville County Schools says check, and to check out important dates and need-to-know information.

IMPORTANT DATES

Teachers report back to the classroom on Tuesday, August 13 for their first day of work. On Wednesday, August 14, we'll learn who the Teacher of the Year is at the Greenville Convention Center at 8:30 a.m.

Students and parents will be able to attend Meet the Teacher events on August 15 and 16, giving you a chance to get to know your kids' teachers and what to expect for the upcoming year.

School bells ring again on August 20 for the first day of school, but different campuses start and end at different times. Here's the breakdown:

  • Elementary schools and child development centers run from 8 a.m. until 2:30 p.m.
  • Middle schools start at 8:30 a.m. and end the class day at 3:15 p.m.
  • High schools chime in at 8:45 a.m. and the last bell rings at 3:45 p.m.

NUMBERS TO KNOW

  • GCS is home to about 76,000 students
  • 10,000 employees guide those students
  • 6,000 teachers pave the way for education
  • GCS has hired 526 new teachers
  • 337 teachers are starting their first year in education at GCS
  • 13 new principals have been named
  • GCS continues to serve a free breakfast, and lunch costs $2.50
  • The district expects 82,000 meals to be served daily
  • Students in grades 3-12 will be using about 80,000 Chromebooks for personalized learning
  • 26,000 students are expected to ride the bus this year
  • 437 buses in the GCS fleet have Wi-Fi connections
  • Those buses drive a daily total of 39,000 miles

MONEY MATTERS

  • GCS says no teacher in their district will be paid less than $40,000 per year
  • The average teacher in GCS received a 6.5% raise
  • Personnel have been added to ensure teachers have at least a 30 minute daily planning period
  • There are more school counselors at the middle and high school level as well

TECH TRICKS

  • GCS says they're in the fourth and final year of the district's "personalized learning" rollout, with students in grades 3-12 in possession of district-issued Chromebooks.
  • 7,500 Wi-Fi access points have been added to accommodate the devices and instructional technology goals
  • 1 million feet of cable has been installed
  • 14 million square feet of in-building Wi-Fi coverage across campuses
  • 4000% increase in bandwidth

SAFETY AND SECURITY

GCS says they are "never done" with safety and security improvements, continually seeking advice from experts and improving plans and infrastructures. Officials say to expect new "transaction windows" at the front offices of about 60 schools. The steel bars and tempered glass are designed to provide an additional barrier between school personnel and possible threats.

FOOD AND NUTRITION

GCS is expanding its menu, allowing district chefs to travel from school to school with a mobile smoker. This allows students to try legitimate barbecue as part of their normal cuisine. Furman University's Diversity Learning Institute has also donated a second food truck to expand efforts to promote new menu items and serve meals at special school-wide events.

NEW BEGINNINGS

GCS is planning to build a new environment science facility at the Roper Mountain Science Center and at Fountain Inn High School, with openings scheduled for 2021. Groundbreakings for both are expected this fall.

The new addition to Rudolph Gordon School opened last year and added a seventh grade class to the student population. By next year, RGS will be fully populated with students in grades 4K through 8.

MORE INFO FOR PARENTS

You can check out the GCS newsletter for more information on safety drills, student discipline, medication requirements, and other need-to-know items.

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