Photo above: Each month several Bluffton Middle School students are selected by their teachers as “Mustangs of the Month” based upon overall student performance and following the Mustang Path by demonstrating responsibility, academic excellence, respect and honesty. Mustangs of the Months are recognized at a special monthly ceremony hosted by Principal Pat Freda and Assistant Principals Beth Bournias and Steven Schidrich. The Mustangs for October 2016 are, from left back row, Diana Anaya, Alisyn Zigelstein, Cristofer Cano, James Marler, Freda and Hanna Heun. In the front row are Luis Rojas Matkovic, Brian Sanchez, Tien Nguyen, Jones Saylor and David Tucker.
M.C. Riley celebrates Red Ribbon Week
Students at Michael C. Riley celebrated Red Ribbon Week from Oct. 24-28 with the theme “I Have the Power to Be Drug Free.”
Red Ribbon Week is celebrated each year as students take an active stand against drugs. Students participated in activities throughout the school, including a school-wide read-a-thon and dressing in red.
Spanish-speaking parents invited to schools meeting
District Superintendent Jeff Moss has added an additional town hall meeting to the 2016 fall cycle that will focus on Spanish-speaking parents.
At a 6 p.m. town hall meeting at Bluffton Middle School on Thursday, Nov. 3, services will be provided to translate parents’ questions and Moss’ responses to those questions.
One out of every four of the Beaufort County School District’s 22,000 students is Hispanic.
Achievements, challenges spotlighted State of the Schools breakfast
More than 100 community members, business and government representatives, elected officials, board of education members, educators and students were briefed recently on the status of Beaufort County’s public schools at the district’s annual State of the Schools breakfast.
Superintendent Jeff Moss pointed to significant achievements in 2016, including improvements in student achievement that he attributed to the hard work of district educators.
“Our teachers and administrators know that in their classrooms, there are potential Nobel Prize winners,” Moss said. “They know that in their classrooms are tomorrow’s leaders.”
District achievements highlighted at the 2016 State of the Schools breakfast included:
• The district’s on-time high school graduation rate – the percentage of students who earn a diploma “on time” in four years – has improved for six consecutive years and is now at an all-time high.
• Graduating seniors in the Class of 2016 earned $30.9 million in college scholarships, an all-time high.
• The district’s average SAT score has improved by 61 points over the past five years, and African-American seniors have reduced the achievement gap with white seniors by improving their scores by 87 points while white students improved by 30 points.
• Fifty-five percent of high school students taking Advanced Placement courses scored high enough to qualify for college credit in 2016, an all-time high for the district. In addition, the number of students completing college-level courses while still in high school has increased from 308 to 532 in just two years.
• National publications rank two district high schools among South Carolina’s best. Hilton Head Island High is ranked No. 5 in South Carolina by U.S. News and World Report, and Bluffton High is ranked No. 7. In addition, Hilton Head Island High ranked No. 6 in South Carolina and Bluffton High No. 12 in The Washington Post’s annual listing of “America’s Most Challenging High Schools.”
• The district has created “schools of choice” in all buildings, meaning that parents can apply to send their children to any academic program at any school in district, regardless of where they live. More than 2,300 students are taking advantage of the opportunity this school year.
• The Connect2Learn program has put a mobile computer in the hands of every student in grades K-12.
• The district has added 260 full-day pre-kindergarten slots, which has allowed schools to reduce or even eliminate waiting lists of at-risk children who need focused attention before they start classes. The district won the Champions for Children Award from the Institute of Child Success for its efforts to improve early childhood education.
• The district is dramatically expanding career and technology courses designed to prepare students for high-paying jobs and industry certifications in rapidly emerging fields. Two new high-tech facilities are at Battery Creek High and May River High.
Moss also noted significant challenges that district educators face.
“There are achievement gaps, here in Beaufort County and around the nation, he said. “We also have students arriving in our schools who speak no English at all, and that’s also a significant challenge for teachers. We have to do a much better job of making the teaching profession attractive and making it pay well enough so that we can attract students from colleges and universities.”
Shealy lands on Dean’s List at GSU
Georgia Southern University recently recognized nearly 200 students on the Summer 2016 semester Dean’s List.
Brittany Shealy of Bluffton has been named to the list for excellence in academics. To be eligible for the Dean’s List, a student must have at least a 3.5 grade point average and carry a minimum of 12 hours for the semester.
Georgia Southern University, a Carnegie Doctoral/Research University founded in 1906, offers more than 125 degree programs serving approximately 20,500 students.
Bluffton board members to meet with public
Beaufort County School District board of education members representing Bluffton will hold a town hall meeting to hear from their constituents.
Board members Evva Anderson (District 7), Laura Bush (District 9), Mary Cordray (District 8) and Paul Roth (District 6) will meet with interested constituents from 6-7 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 7, at the Bluffton Town Hall, located at 20 Bridge St. in Bluffton.
Included in both meetings will be informational presentations on the 1-penny Educational Capital Improvement Sales and Use Tax Referendum placed on the Nov. 8 general election ballot for consideration by local voters.
Lentz participates in Math Jeopardy
More than 20 cadets from majors across The Citadel’s campus competed for the title of 2016 Math Jeopardy Champions recently. Cadets solved problems from calculus, differential equations and linear algebra among other topics. Brian Lentz, of Beaufort, participated in the 2016 Citadel Math Jeopardy Competition.
Holy Trinity builds classical library
A classical school should have a classical library. But what should it look like?
Shortly before it opened in August 2011, the Holy Trinity Classical Christian School accepted the challenge of building a classical library from scratch. With the support of a generous anonymous gift, school administrators and faculty began accumulating books, bookcases and busts and statues of prominent figures in world history who would inspire young readers.
There was Shakespeare, Thomas Jefferson, Socrates, Benjamin Franklin, Plato and Aristotle, for example, all donated by grateful parents and enthusiastic faculty members. They took up positions alongside maps of Greece, donated by a trustee, and bookshelves brimming with hundreds of classical favorites: “Little Women,” “Anne of Green Gables,” “Stuart Little,” “Pilgrims Progress,” “The Last of the Mohicans,” “Adventures of Sherlock Holmes” and books on Greek, Norse and Roman myths.
Today, the school library boasts an enviable collection of nearly 3,000 volumes. In addition to the classics, there are books on virtually every element of science: trees, insects, birds, animals, vertebrates, the planets, physical science, physics and chemistry.
Given the focus on a classical Christian education at Holy Trinity, it’s little wonder that two of the library’s most popular titles would be: “Quomodo Invidiosulus Nomine Grinchus Christi Natalem Abrogaveril” and “Cattus Petasatus,” both by Dr. Seuss. You may be forgiven if you don’t recognize “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” and “The Cat in the Hat” in Latin.
“To open a book to an eager child is the keenest joy my heart can know,” said Barbara Hathaway, Holy Trinity’s volunteer professional librarian.
Hathaway said the school employs a rigorous selection process for determining which books to add to the school library. To qualify, a book must reflect the finest classical fiction and nonfiction. It must aid in building reading skills while assisting students in building a Biblical worldview. It must inspire a passion and a respect for the love of learning and reading the great novels, poetry, stories and nonfiction. And, finally, it must support the curriculum.
“Books open students’ minds to the world of knowledge in an environment that cherishes and embraces the written word in book form,” said the Rev. Chad E. Lawrence, the school headmaster.