Beaufort County First Steps held its 2022 Annual Meeting on Monday night, December 5th. In attendance were BCFS Board Members, staff, community members, and our guest speakers. Board Chair Anita Lynn Singleton brought the meeting to order and introduced our first guest speaker Beaufort County Schools Superintendent Dr. Frank Rodriguez.
Dr. Rodriguez shared a summary of how the school system fared during and after the pandemic. There were many data points that showed COVID wasn’t as prevalent in the schools as it was out in the community. During this time, families were able to choose between three options: 1. all virtual instruction, 2. in-person instruction, and 3. hybrid virtual/in-person instruction. For early childhood students, the most significant impacts of the pandemic were in literacy and parents choosing to hold students back such that they didn’t have the experience of school. For all other students, the main impacts appeared in three areas: maturity level (1-2 years behind grade level), mental health, and academic recovery. While initial funds were spent on safety modifications, the majority ultimately went towards academic recovery. There has been good news since, which is that student scores for literacy have surpassed pre-pandemic scores — the highest since 2016. For early childhood, the school district continued its partnership with Head Start. Over 1,000 ChildFind development screenings have been completed for 3, 4, and 5 year olds.
Our second guest speaker was Director of Community Services (Beaufort-Jasper Economic Opportunity Commission) Mr. Andray Holmes. Mr. Holmes trained the Board Members on Parliamentary Law and Robert’s Rules of Order, which facilitate the transaction of business, ensures justice and order, and protects rights.
Executive Director Betty Washington gave an overall report, highlighting specifics of the 2021-20222 Annual Report as well as a Finance Report. She announced that BCFS has been awarded $90,000 over a three year period. Then each of the four programs provided an update — Parents as Teachers/Supporting Care Providers, Quality Enhancement Program/Training, PASOs/Early Intervention and Referral, and Social Media/Community Outreach. Full details are available here in the: 2021-2022 Annual Report.
Thank you to everyone who participated and contributed to a successful 2022 for Beaufort County First Steps!