D9 Town Hall Q and A
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How are you going to implement a change at Angel Oak to increase the test and rating scores at the school? What are the goals for 2018?Goal setting will be a priority when teachers and staff return to school this year. We will be reviewing quantitative and qualitative data and will be establishing expectations, procedures and routines. We will seek input in August from parents and community stakeholders. The SMART goal process will be used to ensure action and accountability. We will take a "student-driven, data-informed" approach to instruction and learning. More detailed informtaion will be shared after our goals are clearly defined.
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How does the Angel Oak 3k-4k program work?The Angel Oak Pre-K and CD programs are designed to meet the needs of our Early Learners. For more information on these programs you can access our FAQ sheet here: https://drive.google.com/a/charleston.k12.sc.us/file/d/0B5_I076k5oLLWWxUNmZPMks5YkU/view?usp=sharing
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Shouldn't Agnel Oak have a full time Drama teacher and make that part of the curriculum?For the 2017-18 school year, Angel Oak is proud to announce the addition of a full time dance teacher(who also has theatre training). We are also adding a full time Spanish teacher. We will continue to offer drama club and the opportunity for students to participate in various performances. We hope to continue to grow our arts program offerings in the future as we work to increase enrollment.
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What are your plans to improve PTA at Angel Oak.The PTA needs to be composed of a diverse group of stakeholders that are committed to supporting students and the school as a whole. We will be doing a membership drive, redefining our roles and establishing better communication practices to increase parent participation. We will also be looking to sponsor engaging events (5K run, etc.). We want everyone to feel welcome and motivated to be involved!
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Do we have an option anymore to make Angel Oak the Montessori School of Johns Island?Angel Oak is currently recieving a sizable facility improvement. The decision was made when the funding was approved that it would be designed around an Arts Integration Model. Frierson Elementary is well suited for the Montessori model and is only 9.7 miles away from Angel Oak Elementary. A request will be made to the CCSD Board of Trustees to consider placing Montessori at Frierson if enrollment and funding are sufficient.
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I noticed that Angel Oak is being remodeled. How many students will the new school be able to accommodate?The new school will be able to hold a total of 684 students at capacity. This is exciting as we work to increase student enrollment!
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Can you please put more info about the 3k and 4k program on your website? I have called 7 or 8 times to get info and no one can anwser my questions about enrolling my daughter.Angel Oak and Frierson are currently in the process of developing FAQ sheets and detailed information regarding our 3 year old program and our 4 year old CD programs. Currently, Angel Oak's 3 year old progarm is full. If you ever have any questions that have not been answered, plese do not hesitate to email judith_condon@charleston.k12.sc.us . At this time Frierson has 10 seats available in our 3 year old and 2 in our 4 year old program. We ask that you contact the school as soon as possible to enroll your child. Feel free to contact deborah_fickling@charleston.k12.sc.us for more information.
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How can you build trust for the John's Island Elementary Schools?Trust is earned through establishing relationships, holding each other accountable and working collaboratively towards a common goal. We will be working to do all of these things as part of our D9 initiative.
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How can you get families on the island to to go school on the island?It is our responsiblity as school leaders to ensure that our academic achievement levels are where they need to be. We believe that with an improvement on all measures inlcuding state tests, end of course assessments, ACT and Graduation Rate will accelerate local particpation in our schools.
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I have read that District 9 will become a "choice district" where families can choose whch of the 3 elementary schools they may attend. Is this currently in the works? How will this be accompilshed and when?Parents have a right to attend the school they are zoned for. On the district website, there is a map that indicates which school the student's address is associated with. In order to ensure that all residents are "in the know" an effective communications strategy will have to be at the heart of our Strategic Plan. We will be working with various stakeholders to determine the most effective forms of communication so that parents and community membes alike get the information they need in a timely manner.
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How are you going to promote families keeping their children on the island? Many parents assume they need to send their children off the island as information is not easily available.One of our strategic initiatives will be focused around improved communications, marketing, and community involvement. You will see an effort toward updating school websites, increased use of social media, as well as the use of newsletters to get the word out.
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There has been a lot of talk about students leaving. Has the board considered remvoing choice schools to keep sutdents at their home schools (especially H.S.)As the accountability measures increased with No Child Left Behind, one of the outcomes under federal government regulations was that parents whose children attended persistely failing schools would be allowed to attend a "choice" school. This was an option that was in addition to the transfer policy. Choice schools were identified by districts based on proximity to the failing school, and a track record of above average performance. Since NCLB was reauthorized, there is no longer a "choice" provision. We do, however, continue to have the CCSD transfer policy. Charter schools are generally excluded from the CCSD tranfer policy due to the fact that they have their own governing board and policies and proceedures. CCSD may not remove a parent's option to attend a public charter school.
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Why do we need schools of choice? Why can't all elementary schools offer the same subject areas and special areas needed across the board? They will all be feeding into the same middle and high school.This sounds like a question about the provision of unique programming options at elementary schools rather than schools of choice (see question above). Each school works hard to create programs that are both pedagogically sound, and consistent with the values of the community in which it resides. If a school has extremely low enrollment, it is generally difficult to offer multiple programs at the same site, and do it with fidelity at a reasonable cost. Each program generally requires additional funding requirements, professional development for teachers, and enrollment capacity.
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How do you become part of the task force?The task force will include a respresentative from each school, the princpal, community stakeholders, and representation from the constituency board. If you believe that you would make a good candidate for the steering committee, please complete the attached application and return it to stephen_larson@charleston.k12.sc.us
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What are the stop and start times for CD- 4 Year Olds?At all of our D9 elementary schools, CD classes follow the normal school schedule (8:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m.). However, their school year begins one week later and ends one week earlier.
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With all the development on Johns Island, what is your argument for new families to send their children to District 9?We believe that there is always a case to be made for local schools. We understand that student achievement scores will always play a role in the decision parents make when selecting a school. We also know that strong parental engagement, paired with effective teaching and strong leadership, are the key indredients to a high performing school. When considering a school, parents should visit the school and ask the principal about individual student scores, not just the overall school average. How are the top performing students in the school scoring? Most oten, parents will see many high-performing students who are receiving an excellent education in a friendly, community school environment.
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Do you have capacity for students with all of the development?We review school enrollment patterns and planned developments to develop enrollment projections. Based on this information, we are projecting adequate capacity at all levels into the next decade.
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As a parent who currently drives to West Ashley every day for elementary school, I know I am part of the problem. If we could bring a large number of the famileis who leave the island back to the island, we will likely return. What can we do to make that happen?We believe that there is always a case to be made for local schools. We understand that student achievement scores will always play a role in the decision parents make when selecting a school. We also know that strong parental engagement, paired with effective teaching and strong leadership, are the key indredients to a high performing school. Under what circumstances would you consider enrolling your child in a local elementary school? What is it that you would want to see? Please visit a D9 elementary school, meet with the principal, and discuss the program offerings you want your child to experience.
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Is trapnsporation provided by JICHS for students who transfer from Johns Island?Transportation to JICHS is not a District responsibility. You would need to check with JICHS to verify busing options to their school.
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Has CCSD considered reducing the ability of students to transfer schools across the board to encourage improvement in individual districts, reduce traffic, etc.?The CCSD Board of Trustees spends a great deal of time scrutinizing student transfer requests that are appealed after the local Consituent Board has denied them. They ensure that any request that is granted legitimately meets the guidelines outlined in the district transfer Policy JFABC.
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If Mt. Zion and Frierson are filled to capacity, what is your plan to accommodate and attract new students and families to these schools? Our Island elementary schools are in desperate need of renovations and or new buildings…Now!Mt. Zion and Frierson are not expected to be filled beyond capacity in the near future. If there was unexpected increase in enrollment, capacity has been increased with the renovation and expansion of Angel Oak Elementary School.
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There are issues with bullying on our school buses. And typically, not much is done to resolve these problems. What plans do you have in place to eliminate these issues?Bullying will not be tollerated, regardless of its location. We use the CCSD Progressive Discipline Plan to address these behaviors and are very intent on documenting and responding to every occurance. If you become aware of an instance of bullying, please report it directly to your school's principal immediately.
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What is the role of the newly formed steering committee and what role will the constiuent board play in relation to this committee?The Steering Committee will replace the Education Task Force. The Task Force's role was to gather concerns and interests from our community and evaluate potential improvements for the Board of Trustees to consider. This last year, the school district hired a Facilitator, Steve Larson, to support the work of the Task Force. Now that the Task Force has made it's initial recommendations, Mr. Larson will develop a Steering Committee to plan, support and monitor the work moving forward. The Constituency Board is one of many stakeholder groups that will particpate on the Steering Committee.
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Can we please have better food?Our Nutrition Department is always seeking feedback on how to improve and expand its offerings. New menu options will be rolled out in September. If you have any questions, concerns or requests, please contact Walter Campbell at walter_campbell@charleston.k12.sc.us
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Why can't we expand transportation beyond the island?Bus transportation is provided to students who live within the attendence boundary of their local school. For example, if a student lives within the Angel Oak Attendance Boundary, the district will provide transportation at no cost (student must live beyond the walk-zone). However, if a student lives in the attendance boundary of Angel Oak and wants to attend a different school, the district will not provide transporation unless otherwise required under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. A Charter school, however, may choose to provide transportation to any geograpic region it chooses, based on its own budget and spending interests.
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Has the district considered any sort of incentive to encourage D9 families to keep their children on the island/within their zone?We believe that improved academic achievement, coupled with the retention of excellent teachers and school leaders will significantly improve the attendence in the District 9 Schools. We welcome your ideas about particular kinds of incentivies for D9 families who choose D9 schools.
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Will there be an opportunity for all elementary schools to offer Spanish? It is easier for children to learn another language at a young age.All schools have the opportunity to build Spanish into their programs. It is up to the school to determine how the budget is allocated. If this is an interest, the school community is encouraged to work with the school's leadership to evaluate the priorities of the school with the allocation that is recieved.
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If we are allowing children's wants/interests to somewhat dictate classes and extra curricular activities, what are we doing about educating our younger children and opening their minds to want so much more than the average, or what's already given?While student interest does play a role in what is provided in our Career and Technical Education (CTE) courses, we work very hard to provide a slate of courses that will expose them to trades, professions and interests that they may have never heard about. For example, our Biomedical Sciences program will inlcude a general course intended to investigate many topics within health sciences, more specific advanced courses will be offered later in a students high school career.
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Why does the district allow kids to leave their home school to attend other schools?The distirct has a transfer policy that defines the circumstances under which a parent can request another school, if the neighborhood school does not meet the child's needs. Transfers are approved through the local constituency board. The constituent board's decision can, under certain circumstances, be appealed to the CCSD Board of Trustees.
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What is CCSD going to do to keep Johns Island families on the island? You keep approving James Island transfers. They are all full!We believe that parents have the right to choose. We are very committed however to ensuring that our parents have all of the information while making that choice. For example, we have heard it stated that parents are choosing James Island Charter High School becuase students can take adavanced academics. We want to make sure that parents know that there are just as many opportunities for advanced academics at St. John's, and students can enjoy smaller class sizes (about 15 students per teacher), as well.
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What resources are being allocated to keep the kids at D9 schools, primarily the high school?St. John's recieves significant support from CCSD. Becuase of it's small size, the amount of dollars that would be allocated based solely on its enrollment is not sufficient to cover the costs. Because of this, the school district provides additional financial support in order to provide a comprehensive educational program. Each year, depending on state budgets, school enrollment and projections, the district allocates staffing to ensure that all students are afforded a quality education.
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For those with younger students what is the timeline for implementing either the Montessori or Math/Science option? What about more arts options? How are those programs impacting the instructional plans at the Middle and High School?We are hoping, pending sufficient enrollment and funding availability, to implement the Montessori Program at Frierson Elementary for ages 3-6 in the fall of 2018. We are in the beginning stages of a Math and Science Program. The Arts Program is in full swing at Angel Oak Elementary School. Both Haut Gap and St. John's High School will provide programming that will align with our elementary programs as the students matriculate up the grades. While there are some middle and high school Montessori programs in the nation, it will not be our intention to provide this beyond 5th grade.
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What is the role of the constituent board members and will I see them in my school this year?Constituency Board Members are volunteer elected officials. Thier primary responsibilities are to evalute transfer requests, preside over disciplinary hearings, and recommend school boundaries. While each of the board members are committed to being in and supporting our schools, many of them are juggling full time jobs as well.
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What is CCSD's plan for engaging/embracing the business community as financial supporters especially as CCSD budget cuts impact D-9 schools? First, it's important to realize that the school district has made impressive progress recovering from the budget problems that occurred in 2015. Per pupil funding for D9 schools has been restored to a level higher than before the cuts were necessary. In addition, the schools in District 9 are well cared for by business partners and philanthropic groups. Many current programs have been made possible becuase of the financial contributions of these parthers. These groups have asked to serve on the steering committee so that they may be a "shoulder to our wheel" as we pursue our strategic plan.
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Wil the high school offer Drivers Education? If not, why?Driver's Education was cut from all public high schools in CCSD several years ago becuase of the expense and liability. It is not likely to come back as a funded program.
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If Frierson is approved to transition to a Montessori, when would the approval take place and what school year would it start? What ages?We are planning to provide the CCSD Board of Trustees with a program overview and associated budget early this Fall. Montessori programs are more expensive than traditional classes. We hope to start the primary program in the fall of 2018, if there is sufficient funding and enrollment at Frierson Elementary justifies the investment.
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I have heard a few rumors of Frierson will be closing even though a few thousand housing units are in development. Why is this even an option?The enrollment at Frierson needs to increase; otherwise, it becomes increaasinly cost prohibitive to operate. Hopefully, we will see significant increases in enrollment over the next 2-3 years.
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Can we count on Montessori at Frierson for 2018/19 schol year and what ages will it be provided for?Pending Board approval, we are seeking to begin the Montessori program for ages 3, 4, 5 and 6 in the Fall of 2018.
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What is the time line/steps to elevate an elementary school to a pilot Montessori?The plan to request a Montessori Program at Frierson is moving forward. We are in the process of developing a budget and timeline to present to the CCSD Board of Trustees this fall. If approved, we anticipate starting with ages 3-6 year old in the fall of 2018 followed by lower elementary 6-9 year old, and upper elementary 9-12 year old in fall 2019 and 2020 respectively.
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In the Montessori school for Frierson, what are your plans for the one and two year olds?There are no plans to provide services to one and two year olds. In order to implement a one and two year old/Infant program we will need to have a number of parents request the need for such a program.
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What is a Montessori School?Simply stated the Montessori School uses the open classroom model to put in place stategies and practices that take a child's natural curiosity to become self-disciplined, self-motivated, respectful individuals. See this Website: https://amshq.org/Montessori-Education/Introduction-to-Montessori
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Is Frierson Elementary the designated school for a Montessori program in District 9?Not officially at this time, but the Frierson community has requested that we propose a Montessori program to the CCSD Board of Trustees.
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We have already had meeting after meeting for E.L.Frierson. The Wadmalaw Island community has already moved forward with a vote of yes for the montessori curriculum. Please say yes for this curriculum at Frierson. Please keep the school open and supply our needs for this community.Thank you. This matter will now be forwarded to te CCSD Board of Trustees for consideration, providing there is sufficient enrollment and funding is available. Montessori programs are a valuable resource for families and our childen but are , and expensive to operate. As a result Board approval is mandatory.
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Frierson Elementary now has the STEAM program, and their teachers are being trained for the gifted and Talented. We are now asking when and will the montessori curriculum begin at Frierson Elementary.If approved, the implementation of a Montessori Program at Frierson will be a logical next step. In order to implement a Montessori Program well, teachers will be trained to be experts in understanding where their children are and the logical progression of learning which needs to take place next. Our staff has a significant understanding of technology, is going through instruction in gifted education, and possess a working knowledge of grade-level standards and expectations. Substantial professional development would also be provided so that staff will have what they need in time to implement the program with fidelity.
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What year will Frierson open as a Montessori school and will it remain a Title I School?Pending Board approval, we hope to begin the Montessori program for ages 3, 4, 5 and 6 in the Fall of 2018. The Title I designation will be based on the students enrolled in the school.
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There is no rumor, but fact that the Frierson enrollment has declined significantly. Can the CCSD leadership team either dismantle or validate the rumor that if enrollment is not increased that the district will close yet another rural araea school?The decision to close rural schools is never easy, and is almost always unpopular. FACT: The more very small schools CCSD chooses to maintain, the fewer the program offerings that can be offered. School districts with similar student demographics that have consolidated smaller schools into schools of at least 500 students are able to offer more curricular offerings, staff schools with greater supports, and often have higher achievement ratings. Small schools (less than 350 students) require an operating budget nearly two times more than than a larger school. As a result, there will always be a need to discuss our values in supporting very small schools. While there is no magic number to watch for, schools that are increasing their enrollment will always fare better in these discussions. In the final analysis, CCSD leaders advocate for quality over quantity.
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With the voiced desire for a Montessori program at Frierson, what steps has the district made to make this a reality? A feasibility study?During the 16-17 school year members of the Wadmalaw community shared with the D9 Task Force and constituent board their desire to see Frierson become a Montessori school. As a result of that request, we have hosted 3 community meetings with Montessori experts to share what a Montessor school is, its differences, and benefits to our learners. At our last community meeting the PTA, SIC, Friends of Frierson, along with other community members made the motion to recommend that Frierson move forward to become a Montessori School. The next step is to develop a plan which will then be presented to the CCSD Board of Trustees for consideration. This feasibility plan needs to lay out how to ensure sufficient student enrollment to support the program, the availability of funding, and a longer-term plan that outlines the process, staffing needs, and cost of implementing Montessori for grades PK-5. The plan should be presented to appropriate district supervisors, including the Deputy Superintendent for learning services, before being submitted to the Board.
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My concern in placing my child at Haut Gap is the student behaviors. I have seen videos that concern me. What are the steps being taken to keep children in control?At HGMS, the administration and guidance department have a systematic approach to negative behaviors. Students are taught high expectations and consequences. Our suspension rate is at an all time low and we will contiune to work with families and students on making correct choices.
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When will Mt. Zion get a new building? Why are all other schools being renovated other than Mt. Zion?Because the need for facility improvements is greater than the funds available at any given time, a few years ago the CCSD board gave priority to schools with most urgent needs. A new facility for Mt Zion is not planned at this time. In the past through the current building program, the District has not supported building new schools where enrollment is not expected to reach 500 students. Last year's enrollment at Mt Zion was 325 students. Of note is that not all schools in the district have been replaced since the capital building program began in 2000; in fact, there are more 15 elementary schools in the District that have not been replaced. The current building program, outlined in a referendum approved by voters throughout the district, based priorities on life safety, capacity and program needs. When the next capital building program is developed, Mt. Zion will be among the schools considered for replacement or renovation.
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Mt. Zion has the highest number of Hispanic students and parents. Why wasn't Mt. Zion the choice for the bilingual teacher being considered for Angel Oak?The teacher at Angel Oak is to teach Spanish to native English-speaking students, in response to a request made by the D9 Task Force. There are supports in place for Spanish-speaking students at Mt. Zion.
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If Mt. Zion is currently the only elementary at capacity, why has there not been an addition added to that school?Mt. Zion is not projected to exceed capacity in the near future.
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When St. John's loses one or more of their very talented students who transfer to an area charter or magnet school, they also lose thousands of dollars per student. Say those students change their minds and want to return to St. Johns, does the money that went with them when they transferred, return with them to St. John's.Yes, the dollars associated with each student's enrollment follows the student to whichever school they attend.
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Is St. John's still a feeder school? (Kids coming from other high schools with discipline issues)?To our knowledge, St. John's has never been a recieving school (feeder?) for students with discipline issues.
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Does St. Johns have a comparable program for kids coming from the Haut Gap Magnet Program? If so, what, if not, why?Yes. St. John's has developed a strong partnership with Trident College. This year, we will be offering college level courses through our online program and through our dual credit courses. Students who are motivated will have the opportunity to earn an Associates Degree in the Arts or Sciences by the end of thier four years. These college course credits are guaranteed to transfer to any 4-year public college or university in South Carolina. Many Adanced Placement courses are also offered at St. John's High SChool. Advanced Placement courses are sponsored by the College Board (publishers of the SAT college-entrance exam) are are recognized at universities across the country. (Include AP info IF they are offered at SJHS).
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It sounds like the high school is very dedicated to students reaching an associates degree. But are we also reaching for kids to go to into higher degrees?St. John's High School will be providing opportunities for students to work toward thier Associates Degree. Research is showing that students who begin earning college credit while in high school are much more likely to continue their post high school education and earn a four-year degree. By providing this opportunity to our students earlier, we believe that we will significantly increase our college going rate as compared to years past.
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What can St. John's do to bring the band program back?With increased enrollment we will be able to bring the band program back.
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Does St. Johns High School have vocational skills courses for the 2017-18 school year? What are they? What is the plan to expand the vocational skills program for the next year?Vocational skills courses, now called Career and Technical Education (CTE) make up many of the electives students can take at St. John's High School. We have new programs like marketing, leadership, biomedical sciences, and entrepreneurship that students are excited about. We will be expanding our internship/apprenticeship program so that students can broaden thier experiences within the real world context. These internships may include manufacturing, small engine repair, health sciences and business just to name a few.
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What programs are being considered to prepare Johns Island elementary students to qualify for admission to the advanced education opportunities, such as Haut Gaps Academic Magnet Program?Students in all D9 Elementary Schools can qualify for the Academic Magnet Program at Haut Gap based on their performance on state exams, starting in the 5th grade. Students that meet the qualifications for Gifted Programs are provided services at each of our public schools. Also, Angel Oak Elementary is one of the pilot sites for the College of Charleston's Talent Development program, sponsored by a Javits grant, which trains all teachers to implement the gifted curriculum developed by the College of William and Mary. Frierson Elementary will be adding this program as well.
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