District receives $50,000 for screening programs
Hundreds of Beaufort County children are expected to receive developmental screenings and needed educational intervention to prepare them for kindergarten, thanks to $50,000 in additional funding from The Learning Center Fund of Coastal Community Foundation.
The screenings will be conducted by the Child Find Expansion Program, which offers comprehensive vision, hearing, speech and developmental screenings each month at Beaufort Elementary and Michael C. Riley Early Childhood Center for children ages 2½ to 6.
The Child Find team consists of a registered nurse, a speech therapist and early childhood professionals.
Additional funding from The Learning Center Fund has allowed the program to hire an additional part-time early childhood professional to work directly with families in need of follow-up services and formal education for their children.
Follow-up services include additional referrals, connections to community resources, home visits, parenting/child advocacy and proactive early interventions.
“Since 2013, we’ve been able to screen an additional 1,500 children and identified 329 children with suspected developmental delays,” said Ashley Hutchison, the district’s director of School Readiness. “The Learning Center’s support makes it possible to help prepare children for success in kindergarten and beyond.”
Learning Center board chairman Malcolm Goodridge and board member Charles Kresch were recognized for their organization’s latest donation at a recent Beaufort County Board of Education meeting.
During the past four years, the Child Find Expansion Program has received a total of $297,000 from the Learning Center Fund of Coastal Community Foundation.
A comprehensive media campaign has been successful in recruiting children from public, private and parochial schools, child care centers, family day care homes and Head Start. The Child Find Expansion Program also receives referrals from local pediatricians, the Medical University of South Carolina, Healthlink, the South Carolina Department of Social Services, Babynet, hospitals, Child Abuse Prevention Association, Citizens Opposed to Domestic Violence and Hope Haven.
“Our goal as a community should be to keep our children energized about learning, through their school years and beyond,” said Learning Center board member Charles Kresch. “Through The Learning Center Fund, we aim for children to reach their highest potential.”
Child Find Expansion was designed to provide insight into the early intervention needs in Beaufort County. The Child Find data collection system developed by the district has the ability to track children throughout their educational careers and can be utilized in determining the percentage of children who are considered “ready to learn” upon entering the first grade.
“We know from research how much young learners can benefit from prekindergarten, and the first step for the school district is identifying these children’s specific needs,” Hutchison said. “The support we’ve gotten from the Learning Center Fund has been extraordinary.”
For more information about the Child Find Expansion Program, contact Hutchison at 843-521-2399.
11th-graders outpace peers on ACT exams
District high school students outperformed their peers from across South Carolina on a key statewide exam during the 2016-17 school year, according to data released recently by the South Carolina Department of Education.
In the third year of South Carolina’s required statewide administration of ACT college entrance exams to all 11th-graders, Beaufort County students exceeded state averages in all five subject areas measured by the ACT. Their average composite score was 18.4 on ACT’s 36-point scale compared to the state average of 17.7.
Comparing scoring with previous years, district 11th-graders improved from 18.2 in 2015 to 18.3 in 2016 to 18.4 in 2017.
“Our 11th-graders have improved their ACT scores each year,” said Superintendent Jeff Moss. “We’re not where we want to be in terms of student achievement, but it’s encouraging that our high schools are making steady progress.”
In addition to state-required ACT testing in students’ junior year, individual students can choose to take the ACT additional times as seniors to increase their scores.