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Charleston County School District seeing impacts of Acceleration Schools

Published: Sep. 19, 2021 at 10:29 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 19, 2021 at 11:44 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Its been two years since the Charleston County School District designated 15 schools as Acceleration Schools. Now, district officials said they’re seeing the effects.

Back in November of 2019, CCSD rolled out this plan for schools they said have traditionally underperformed when it comes to student academic achievement. The point was to accelerate the rate of academic growth through a variety of techniques.

“The idea was we knew these schools needed to do something different. So, we wanted to create a support network and create opportunities for principals that are interested to have more autonomy in order to run schools the way they want to, to increase outcomes for kids,” explained the Karolyn Belcher, the Charleston County Chief Academic Officer.

Now two years later, officials said they’re seeing the impact.

“In previous years, there has been a lower level of engagement in students of Acceleration Schools. And as we’re involving these higher curriculums, these more rigorous hands-on curriculums, the students are owning up to their learning,” Megan Fisher said. Fisher teaches 3rd grade at Chicora.

Officials said a big part of finding success in Acceleration Schools is training the teachers as well. They said there is now more collaboration among teachers and even classroom visits from administration to help coach them.

Though this idea was started right before the pandemic, Jacqueline Haynes, the Executive Director of Acceleration Schools, said that didn’t stop them from implementing this change.

“We didn’t slack off or not start. We were intentional about the curriculum we were exposing students to, the type of focus our leaders needed to have, as well as supporting our leadership and partnership with one of our educational partners to ensure they knew the expectation for school turn around,” Haynes said.

Officials said the goal of these schools is to get all students to be college-ready.

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