Multi-million dollar proposal looks to address education gap in Charleston Co.

Published: Jan. 26, 2022 at 4:48 PM EST|Updated: Jan. 26, 2022 at 8:45 PM EST
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - The Lincoln Regional Center has submitted one of the 71 proposals seeking millions of dollars in Elementary and Secondary Schools Emergency Relief funds from the Charleston County School District. It’s one of the eight ESSER III proposals requesting more than a million dollars but less than $30 million.

Lewis Porche’r with the Lincoln Regional Center Project says they submitted their proposal back in October for $5 million over three years. He says that money would go toward launching their Community Support Initiative designed to address the education gap between black and white students.

“Our goal is to stimulate the desire to learn,” Porche’r said. “These students have considerable handicaps that need to have additional assistance in addressing and helping to bring them up to their fullest potential.”

Listed in the district’s presentation on Monday as Community Education & Rural Socio-economic Development proposal, Porche’r says they already have an established relationship with the district because of their work together on the shuttered Lincoln High School.

“We have such a wonderful relationship with the school district,” Porche’r said. “They are turning over the facility to us in November of next year. We have a facility so part of that budget would go towards the operational process, but the majority of the budget will go toward paying our professionals.”

The focus of Porche’r pitch is to provide classes and opportunities for students in minority and rural areas to reenforce what they’ve learned at school in a way that relates to them on a personal level. The latest testing data from CCSD shows minority student perform significantly worse than their white counterparts. Porche’r argues, some of that can be addressed by understanding cultural differences and language barriers.

“There has been certain challenges for students particularly with regard to the way they communicate at home and the way that they communicate in the classroom,” Porche’r said, speaking specifically about students who come from communities where the Gullah Geechee language is still used at home.

The idea of enhancing English and reading skills aligns with the district’s goal of getting students to be able to read at grade level by grade five. Porche’r says acknowledging how culture impacts learning will improve test schools.

“We will read a culturally based story with a significant moral. We would use the Gullah Geechee dialect in reading and then we would, turn around and translate that same story into standard English and have students repeat the exercise,” Porche’r said. “And so, it causes them to be able to process information better, with more clarity with more competence.”

The classes and programs would generally be held at the former Lincoln High School, but Porche’r says they would tailor their offerings to the needs of each individual schools.

“We would meet with the principal or principals and their faculty to show them what we have to offer,” Porche’r said. “And then they tell us what they feel would be the best way to implement our initiatives in their individual classrooms because they know their students size they know their community and the kind of they have a good handle on the background of their students.”

Along with supplemental classes, the proposal would also include summer camps and the vocational training, like carpentry.

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