Williamsburg Co. begins school year with new programs, new outlook on state control

Wednesday is the first day of school in Williamsburg County.
Published: Aug. 16, 2023 at 6:36 AM EDT
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WILLIAMSBURG COUNTY, S.C. (WCSC) - Wednesday is the first day of school in Williamsburg County.

This year the district is offering new programs and one high school is getting a new principal.

This new school year brings a new outlook on the decision not to return control of the Williamsburg County School District to the county’s school board.

State Superintendent of Education Ellen Weaver, who took office at the beginning of the year informed the board in March that the school district would remain under state control.

Former State Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman declared a state of emergency in 2018.

In her decision to take over the district, she pointed to financial mismanagement that cost the district more than $600,000 that could have been used to provide specialized instruction to students with disabilities.

Board of Trustees Chairwoman Marva Cannion, who at one point looked forward to the district returning to the board, has had a change of heart.

“The joint collaboration we have with the State Department now far exceeds what has happened in the past. We feel really good about working with Superintendent Weaver and her staff.” Cannion said. “They are working very well with us. The community can look forward to seeing letters come from us jointly.”

Parents can look forward to this united front as well as new programs like the dual enrollment with Williamsburg Technical College and a program called ‘power up’ which addresses social and emotional behavior in elementary students.

Plus, the flex academy fast track, a short-term, flexible academic program for students in high school who have experienced setbacks and are either over-age or not on track to graduate.

“A Junior high student who had fallen behind for various reasons, but participated in the Flex Academy, which is a fast-track program,” Cannion said. “Her son not only gained a grade with extra seat time, he actually will begin high school now with three Carnegie units. So, he’s surpassed where he would have been.”

New Kingstree High School Principal Mark Frasier says he is excited about the new school year. He says students and parents can expect excellence.

District leaders also want to remind parents and students that only clear backpacks and bags are allowed on school campuses this year.

The district says this is part of its ongoing efforts to provide a safe and secure learning environment.