Banks Trail Middle School needs two "learning cottages" next year to accommodate the current rising 6th grade students.

Here is an update on the learning cottages from Chief Communications Officer Joe Burke:

“The cost for the lease and setting the buildings up onsite is $224,88.92 total for both buildings, which was approved last night.

“At the February 18 school board meeting, the board approved the recommendation by the administration to lease two custom built learning cottages to accommodate the large rising sixth grade class at Banks Trail Middle School for the 2020–2021 school year. The facilities feature full restrooms, water fountains, closet and storage space, and will be outfitted with all standard classroom technologies including smart boards and wireless internet access.

“This action was recommended by the administration to avoid moving current students to a different middle school while the construction of Forest Creek Middle School is completed. The lease of the learning cottages is for one year and is a temporary solution to allow current students to attend their assigned school.

“This solution does not impact the current freeze at Banks Trail Middle School for new students moving to our area. The freeze on all Banks Trail grade levels will be evaluated at the end of the current school year. All students will attend their assigned schools beginning with the 2021–2022 school year when Forest Creek Middle School opens.”

Original story:

Fort Mill trustees approved the lease of two “learning cottages” at Banks Trail Middle School to address high enrollment for the next school year.

As Tuesday’s school board meeting, the board also approved the 2020-2021 academic calendar with a start date of Aug. 17.

Here are the highlights of Tuesday’s trustees meeting provided by Chief Communications Officer Joe Burke:

Middle School 1:1 Computer Initiative

Mr. Brian Spittle provided an update regarding the deployment of 1:1 Chromebooks in all Middle Schools for the 2019–2020 school year. This initiative has been met with success and positive feedback, allowing teachers to create tech integrated lesson plans. Students have engaged in a variety of activities and overall teachers have felt prepared to integrate the technology into their classes.

Approval of Capital Improvements for the 2020-2021 School Year

Due to anticipated high enrollment at Banks Trail Middle School for the 2020-2021 School Year, Mrs. Leanne Lordo presented a proposal for the lease of two learning cottages for additional classroom space. The School Board approved this project.

Banks Trail Middle School needs the outside units next year to accommodate the current rising 6th grade students. The school may remain under a freeze for any new students, but that has not been determined, officials said.

The two cottages are unique, custom-built units that the state has already approved for use, Burke said.

Second Reading of the 2020-2021 Academic Calendar

Burke presented a draft of the 2020-2021 Academic Calendar with a start date of August 17th, in compliance with the requirement that school may not begin before the third Monday in August. The calendar features a 91/89 split in the first and second semesters, with exams taking place after the winter break. Adjustments were made to the calendar to accommodate the move of teachers and students to River Trail Elementary after the winter break. The administration will monitor possible changes to the law by the legislature to determine if adjustments can be made to the approved calendar in the future. The School Board approved the calendar as presented by the administration.

LINK: 2020-2021 Approved Calendar