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Orangeburg Consolidated School District Four is rolling out new technology devices across the district as it continues to implement its new digital initiative.

Director Julie Christopher recently reported at the school board's January meeting that 233 computers had been installed in all the district's labs and media centers as well as in the offices of guidance counselors, bookkeepers, secretaries, attendance clerks and nurses.

She said the network cable had been laid at Hunter-Kinard-Tyler and Goodlife Communications began installing interactive projectors there on Jan. 13.

Once they finish at HKT, they’ll move on to Edisto Primary School where installation of cable network is scheduled to be underway by Jan. 19. Following completion at EPS, work will begin at the Branchville attendance area.

Ident-a-Kid identification of visitors is expected to be installed at all schools by Jan. 22, Christopher said. Each school will receive a kiosk that will scan visitor’s driver’s licenses and print visitor badges. Should the process identify a sex offender, the school administration will be notified, she said.

This year’s initiative is part of a $4.4 million, four-year technology update. It’s being paid for from a combination of Title 1, bond and South Carolina Technology Initiative funds, Christopher noted earlier. Additionally, in September 2015, trustees voted to allow the district to borrow almost $3 million to help pay for the technology.

Trustees also approved first reading of a calendar for 2016-17 with the understanding that changes will probably be made before the second vote.

Trustee Mary Brant opposed the motion.

Trustee Dr. William O’Quinn raised several concerns about the calendar, including scheduling school days after graduation on May 26, 2017 and the possibility of classes running into June.

School is scheduled for students on May 29 and 31. Additionally, inclement weather makeup days are scheduled for June 1 and 2, and teachers have a workday on June 5.

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O’Quinn questioned whether it would be fair to teachers, who might have plans for June, to have to wait until after June 5 to carry them out.

He said he had heard a number of comments from people who want school to be finished by the end of May.

Also during the meeting, the district recognized O’Quinn for 35 years of service on the school board. Superintendent Dr. Tim Newman presented him with a pin and a certificate from the S.C. School Boards Association.

Newman also recognized second-grader Halle Felder of Edisto Primary School for winning the District Christmas Card Contest for 2015. Felder's design was incorporated on all the district’s Christmas cards.

Travis Ard, Edisto High School agriculture and Future Farmers of America advisor, reported the district had received a $10,000 grant from Monsanto.

He said the grant will be used to implement the diversified agriculture program in which students are exposed to science concepts through hands-on experiences in agriculture. They’ll be responsible for raising tilapia, rabbits and various vegetables, etc.

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Contact the writer: dlinder-altman@timesanddemocrat.com or 803-533-5529.

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