CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - A year has passed since the Charleston County School Board of Trustees approved the broad-sweeping “Mission Critical” actions that impacted more than two dozen schools.
One of these actions was to create the Mary Ford Early Childhood and Family Engagement Center on the Mary Ford campus. Additionally it placed all first through fifth-grade students from the Chicora and Mary Ford attendance zones at Chicora Elementary School.
“The district did an awful lot of work last year, prior to this, to make certain that the transition was smooth,” Mary Ford Principal Ruth Taylor said.
“For Mary Ford and Chicora families, this is universal access to PreK,” CCSD Executive Director of Early Childhood School Readiness Programs Kimberly Foxworth said. “So that’s the vision we have going forward for our other future early learning centers - that we provide a universal PreK.”
Officials say the goal with this change was to catch children early.
“Reading, writing and math is really important,” Foxworth said. “But, if a child can’t listen and pay attention and follow directions, which are the social and emotional components, then it’s going to be really hard for them to attend and pick up those other skills.
Despite the pandemic changing many things, both schools are pushing forward.
“It’s been frustrating, yes, because Zoom is good but nothing takes the place of face to face and those relationships when parents come in and see a teacher face to face,” Taylor said.
The goal for both schools has been to make sure the community is involved as well.
“Mainly what we want to do with acceleration schools is move all students forward,” Chicora Elementary School Interim Principal Debbie Smith said. “We need to meet the needs of where students are, and we need to provide them the supports, so that they can all move forward and end up on the grade level that they should be.”
Officials say they’re focusing on four areas – leadership, curriculum, teachers and climate and culture – to ensure they’re giving the best to CCSD’s highest need schools.