Fort Mill churches collaborating to provide safe space for remote learning

Churches in Fort Mill partner to create study hall

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Middle school students in the Fort Mill School District are in hybrid learning, meaning some days they are in school, other days they are learning from home.

Several churches are working together to provide a safe study hall for students during their remote learning.

“When the community’s new school schedule came out we realized this would cause some issues in our communtities, and so we were trying to figure out where the gap was,” Julie Sale, Connections Director of Forest Hill Church in Fort Mill, said.

A conversation with Springfield Middle School leaders sparked an idea.

“The greatest need was middle school students that were living in at-risk communities that they would be every other day rather than at school they needed an extra space where they could get investment in their future," Sale said.

The church will become a study hall from 8 am to 3 pm Monday through Friday. It will aim to take the stress off parents and support staff.

Christy Matkovich, the assistant principal at Springfield Middle School, says it will allow working parents to focus on their careers, and students to work hard on their academics.

“Especially those that might be on the bubble between a high school diploma and maybe not a highschool diploma," Matkovich said. “Are we going to lose them in all of this? To have the church step up and help with the academic piece is really big.”

Ashley Porter, a guidance counselor at Springfield Middle School, says support is needed beyond the academics.

”I think it’s really important that we nurture those social and emotional needs as well,“ Porter said.

It is a collaborative effort among Forest Hill, Lifepointe, Eternal and Refreshing Word Churches.

They are inviting local businesses to sponsor a school week. The money will help fund the support they are offering the kids, including daily lunch and snacks.

”Our hope is that these students experience a great year of learning, of being invested in, and that relationships are built and that by the end of the year will be better off because of COVID than even a regular school year," Sale said.

Currently, there are 36 students signed up and they hope to have a total of about 70. There will also be a school resource officer assigned to the church.

They still need more volunteers. Click here to sign up.

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