State superintendent visits Lowcountry schools

Ellen Weaver entered into office in early January of 2023 and her visit to the Lowcountry is...
Ellen Weaver entered into office in early January of 2023 and her visit to the Lowcountry is her first outing to schools in the state.(Live 5)
Published: Jan. 19, 2023 at 10:53 AM EST
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Newly inaugurated State Superintendent Ellen Weaver visited a few Lowcountry schools Wednesday as a part of her initial tour holding the highest education office. Weaver accompanied Senator Tim Scott to a private Christian school and special needs education center as well as visited Stall High School and spoke to CCSD Superintendent Don Kennedy.

Weaver and Scott spoke in favor of school choice and quality access to education, no matter a family’s income or zip code.

“Education is not one size fits all and so I don’t think we should expect our schools to be everything to everybody all the time and that’s the opportunity that bills like this empower,” Weaver said.

This year – South Carolina republicans are hoping to pass a bill that would give families public dollars to create scholarship accounts to send their children to private schools. The school voucher bill made headlines last year as different versions passed in both the House and Senate, but it fell short in the closing hours of last year’s legislative session.

Weaver also visited Stall High School where she met with a math tutoring class, a music class and an advanced placement U.S. government class. Weaver chatted with students about how tutoring was going for them, what they like about music and their interest in government. Weaver said she was incredibly interested in learning more about the in-school tutoring program to make up for learning loss from the disruption of COVID-19.

“When we look at students who are often two and three grade levels behind in their math and in their literacy, we know it is going to take that intensive focus if we are ever going to catch them up to where they need to be,” Weaver said.

Weaver emphasized the need to meet students where they are and get them to where they need to be during school hours in the classroom.

One of the things that I am most passionate about as state superintendent and I look forward to talking about in the days to come is how we build an army of tutors and mentors across this state so we can scale and replicate the incredible work that we see happening here at Stall,” she said.

She also talked about making sure mental health resources are available to students within the school system. She emphasized the role community and parents need to play in supporting students at home and bolstering education.

“I fully support Gov. McMaster’s push in the budget to make sure that we are making mental health access much more accessible in our schools, ensuring that we are paying for those services that students need. I think we also have to be very intentional with freeing up the time of our counselors within our schools to ensure they are not bogged down with red tape but rather are able to be with the students that they are called to serve,” Weaver said.

Weaver said she is looking forward to leading the state in education and bringing new ideas to the table.