Palmetto Goodwill, Trident Tech partner to open 1st adult high school
CHARLESTON COUNTY, S.C. (WCSC) - A new milestone for education in South Carolina is set to open later this year in the Lowcountry -- a first of its kind adult high school.
Palmetto Goodwill Chief of Mission and Marketing Elliot Smalley said students in their upcoming Excel Center will be earning a high school diploma instead of a GED.
Smalley said there are 60,000 people in the Lowcountry who lack a high school diploma. He adds the new adult high school, which will be open to anyone 21 and over, will give those people a second chance to earn that diploma and further their education.
For the first year, Goodwill said they are going to serve 150 students, growing to 200 students in their second year and 300 in their third year.
Officials said they will offer free CARTA transportation to and from the campus, along with free childcare and free academic and life coaching.
They have a budget of around $1.5 million for the first year, with most of the money coming from the state supplemented by donations.
Officials said they did a feasibility study as part of their seven-year journey to open this school, and they noticed a disparity in the community regarding education.
“It really showed the impact of race and poverty on people’s access to a high school education,” Smalley said. “When you look at Excels nationally, the population that they’re serving, you know, the vast majority of students who are coming are students of color and who have experienced poverty. We expect to see the same thing here, and that’s because not everyone has had equal access to a high-quality education over time.”
Officials said their main message is that the new school is open to everyone without a diploma.
Enrollment for the new high school opens in the next few months, and the first day of class will be on Aug. 28.
Palmetto Goodwill said eventually they would like to open additional campuses to help meet educational needs across the area.
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