Our vision is “putting our children first.” We believe in the consistent improvement of student achievement by measuring and acting on data our district gathers. Our district helps all students develop the world-class skills and life and career characteristics of the Profile of the South Carolina Graduate. An important focus in our work to help students meet this profile is making sure every child can read. We also focus on helping our teachers have professional conversations about student work, conversations that we know are important for effective, consistent instruction. Another important part of our work to help students achieve this profile is making sure our teachers have standards-based curriculum documents for a curriculum that supports national and state academic standards. We continue to use our researched-based instructional strategies to teach to a variety of learning styles. We use a balanced literacy approach across the district and stress how important manipulatives and an understanding of the development of math concepts are for math instruction. We provide extra help for students who need more time to master standards with our Response to Intervention (RtI) process, emphasize reading and writing across the curriculum and provide services for students whose primary language is not English. Our teachers, students and parents use NWEA Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) testing results to determine the skills students have mastered and the skills they need to improve, and we assess student progress through standardized testing. Technology plays an important role in supporting our instruction, and our websites and Blackboard Connect calling system helps us keep parents informed about everything from report cards dates to extracurricular activities to school closings. We have also had a significant increase in general satisfaction with the district and individual schools among students, teachers and parents. The district’s ongoing improvements are facilitated by a strong, unified board of trustees, a knowledgeable and committed staff, and a district-wide emphasis on serving its students and parents. We strongly believe every child develops the world-class skills and life and career characteristics of the Profile of the South Carolina Graduate when our parents, students, educators and community work together.
Our district continues to partner with the community and its nonprofits, civic groups, faith-based groups and businesses to increase student achievement, partnerships that are driving improvements in our system. Our county’s voters passed a $199 million bond referendum in March 2016 that is helping provide every third through eighth grade student a Chromebook, make significant facility improvements to every school in the district and build an additional elementary school and a new high school in the Indian Land area. The new Indian Land schools will help us address growth issues in that area, allowing us to convert the existing high school to a Grades 7-8 school, the existing middle school to a Grades 5-6 school and the three elementary schools to Grades K-4. Our partnerships have made a huge difference by helping us secure more than $80 million in grants in the last 10 years. These grants have made possible everything from two cycles of a Gear-Up Program to increase the number of our students who go to college to programs for character education, alcohol and drug-prevention and Arts-Is Basic In the Curriculum schools. Most recently, the power of those partnerships helped us secure a Full-Service Community Grant for Clinton Elementary to build parenting skills and to increase community support for the school. Our partnerships have also helped us begin a literacy initiative that’s providing free pleasure-reading books to children through an annual give-away and little free libraries placed around the county. Every fourth-grader in our county receives swim instruction, thanks to a partnership with the J. Marion Sims Foundation. Our Rotary Clubs and USCL sponsor annual Principal Choice Awards to recognize at risk children for good citizenship.