DORCHESTER COUNTY, S.C. (WCBD) – Students across Dorchester County are officially on summer break.

Dorchester District 2 Superintendent Dr. Shane Robbins reflected on the past year, which was his first as the district’s leader, including both the successes and challenges the district faced in 2022-23.

“Finally, a year of normal operations, not without challenges. But we feel like academically, our students are excelling and doing really good things,” he said.

The district is now looking back at COVID-19 and how it altered things day-to-day.

“Those kids who graduated this year didn’t have a normal year of high school, really, until this year because the spring of their freshman year we were in the pandemic,” Dr. Robbins said.

He says the district saw several accomplishments this year.

“I think we are very proud of the national merit finalists that we had in the district. We just recently had one of our students named a Jefferson Award winner. We had a state championship softball team, a state championship soccer team, you know, that list goes on and on,” he said.

But there were a number of challenges as well, including multiple incidents with students carrying armed guns on school campuses.

“Safety is always number one, and so that has been a challenge for us. I don’t think it’s because we’re doing anything different. I think it means we have to do things differently to make sure we’re safeguarding our students. So, we’re going to really work hard with our law enforcement partners.”

Moving forward, they have to prepare for what they are estimating to be up to 16,000 new students over the next 10 years as Dorchester County grows.

“I’ll say I’m excited and concerned- both with the ability to recruit and retain teachers and staff,” said Dr. Robbins.

“I think the biggest thing for student achievement is, it’s always about engagement. One of the things we utilize, our digital ecosystem and our technology for, is to not replace teachers, but to help engage students in the learning process.”

Dr. Robbins believes technology will continue to play a greater role in helping to educate students in the future.