School briefs for October 20th-26th

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Top photo: Beaufort Elementary teachers and staff helped feed students affected by Hurricane Matthew.

Some Beaufort Academy students and families took time to help others clean up debris from the recent storm. “We are incredibly proud of our students for lending a hand in a time of need,” according to a school release.
Some Beaufort Academy students and families took time to help others clean up debris from the recent storm. “We are incredibly proud of our students for lending a hand in a time of need,” according to a school release.

Beaufort school staff help families affected by storm

Beaufort Elementary School’s teachers and staff organized an effort to get food to students and families in downtown Beaufort who were affected by Hurricane Matthew.

Principal Melissa Holland said that school staff had used their personal vehicles to ferry MREs and water from county distribution points to apartment complexes where many families of Beaufort Elementary School live.

Those families had no power in their apartments and no transportation to purchase food.

In addition, St. Helena Episcopal Church prepared hot meals that were distributed tonight at Parkview Apartments by Beaufort Elementary staff.

After finishing up at Parkview Apartments, the Beaufort Elementary folks moved over to the school’s parking lot several blocks away and met a Red Cross truck, and there they distributed about 300 hot meals to people who passed by in their cars.

“I’m so proud of our staff,” Holland said. “The way they put everything together and got it done was amazing. They were just awesome.”

Dollar General gives grant to United Way

The Dollar General Literacy Foundation recently awarded United Way of the Lowcountry a $4,000 grant to support youth literacy.

This local grant is part of $4.5 million in youth literacy grants awarded to approximately 1,000 organizations across the 43 states that Dollar General serves.

Given at the beginning of the academic school year, these grants are aimed at supporting teachers, schools and organizations with resources to strengthen and enhance literacy instruction.

Education is one of United Way of the Lowcountry’s four priority areas of focus as they make the shift to Community Impact to get to the root causes of key issues in the community and bring lasting change.

United Way of the Lowcountry’s Early Grade Reading Program, Read Indeed, is a K-3 reading tutor program, designed to help students read on grade level by the time they enter fourth grade.

United Way of the Lowcountry started the Early Grade Reading Program in 2012 and has expanded it over the years.  With the help of 200-300 volunteers and AmeriCorps members, Read Indeed helps hundreds of students in nine schools throughout Beaufort and Jasper counties.

United Way partners with the Beaufort County School District, Jasper County School District, University of South Carolina Beaufort, AmeriCorps, as well as a number of public-private partnerships and foundations for the Read Indeed Program.

“By awarding these grants, the Dollar General Literacy Foundation is committed to making a meaningful impact in our local communities,” said Todd Vasos, Dollar General’s chief executive officer. “These grants provide funds to support youth literacy initiatives and educational programs throughout the communities we serve to ensure a successful academic year for students.”

Committed to helping increase the literacy skills of individuals of all ages, the Dollar General Literacy Foundation has awarded more than $127 million in grants to nonprofit organizations, helping nearly 7.9 million individuals take their first steps toward literacy or continued education since its inception in 1993.  The Dollar General Literacy Foundation awards grants each year to nonprofit organizations, schools and libraries within a 20-mile radius of a Dollar General store or distribution center to support adult, family, summer and youth literacy programs.

Free workshops offered on financial aid

The Beaufort County School District is sponsoring a pair of free workshops for parents on how to help finance their children’s college educations.

The primary target audience is parents of high school seniors and juniors.  About 300 parents attended last year’s sessions.

The first workshop will be held from 6-7 p.m. Monday, Oct. 24, in Bluffton High School’s Performing Arts Center.

An identical workshop will be held from 6-7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 25, at Beaufort High School’s Performing Arts Center.

Presenters will include representatives from the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education, the South Carolina Tuition Grants Commission, the University of South Carolina at Beaufort, the Technical College of the Lowcountry, South Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities, Scholarships for Military Families, the Community Foundation of the Lowcountry and Vocational Rehabilitation, Scholarships and Grants.

Presenters will cover the basics of applying for financial aid, including FAFSA and the CSS Profile. Information also will be presented on local, state and national grants, loans and scholarship opportunities.

District students outperform state averages

Beaufort County School District high school students outperformed their peers from across South Carolina on two key statewide exams during the 2015-16 school year, according to data released recently by the South Carolina Department of Education.

The data released covered two exams that all South Carolina 11th-graders are required to take: the ACT college entrance exam and the WorkKeys exam that allows students to earn “portable certificates” that can be used to qualify for jobs. The 2016 scores marked the second year of data for both exams.

“It’s encouraging to see our students again score above the state average, but we still have a lot of work to do,” said Superintendent Jeff Moss. “We want our students to be among South Carolina’s top performers and among the nation’s top performers. We also want to maintain the district’s positive momentum in student achievement. Our students and educators are working hard to do that.”

In the second year of South Carolina’s required statewide administration of ACT college entrance exams to all 11th-graders, Beaufort County students improved their overall scores and outperformed their peers from across the state.

District 11th-graders exceeded state averages in four of five subject areas measured by the ACT and tied in the fifth. District 11th-graders’ ACT average composite score was 18.3 compared to the state average of 18.2.  Beaufort County 11th-graders’ composite score ranked them 17th among South Carolina’s 82 school districts.

Comparing 2016 scoring with 2015’s first year of required testing for all 11th-graders, Beaufort County students improved their average score from 18.2 to 18.3.

South Carolina requires all 11th-graders to take WorkKeys exams each spring, and students who post qualifying scores earn “portable” certificates at the Bronze, Silver, Gold or Platinum levels that can be used to qualify for good-paying jobs anywhere in the nation. Increasing numbers of businesses require job applicants to have WorkKeys certificates.

Among Beaufort County 11th-graders, 87.6 percent scored high enough to earn a certificate, compared to 86.8 percent of 11th-graders statewide.

That marked a slight decrease from the first year of WorkKeys testing, which saw 90.2 percent of district 11th-graders score high enough to earn a certificate compared to 87.9 percent statewide.