School Notes

• State Superintendent of Education Mick Zais announced that the South Carolina Department of Education has received the first deliveries of new school buses.  This is the first state purchase of newly manufactured buses since 2008.  After all deliveries are completed, 342 new school buses, equipped to transport students with and without disabilities, will be in service in state-owned bus shops across South Carolina. Each bus cost $82,030, and $28,054,260 was spent from lottery revenues, general fund carryforward revenues, and revenues from the sale of scrap metal from decommissioned school buses. Beaufort County school district will receive 9 new buses.


• The Beaufort County School District recently unveiled a new website that is simpler to use and easier to navigate. “The chief complaint we heard about the old site was that it was overly complicated and not very intuitive,” said Acting Superintendent Jackie Rosswurm.  “We believe the new design addresses both of those issues.” The new website was also ranked as the most transparent among South Carolina’s 10 largest districts, according to a national watchdog organization. The district received a grade of A- from Sunshine Review, a nonprofit group that rates government websites.  For school districts, grades are based on the availability of such information as budgets, audits, public records, academics, board meetings and directory information for elected and administrative officials.


• Ninety-three percent of Beaufort County’s middle and high school students have maintained their academic eligibility to participate on athletics teams under new district requirements. Of 1,212 middle school athletes during the first two quarters of the current academic year, 1,125 met the minimum 2.0 Grade Point Average requirement established by the Beaufort County Board of Education.  Eighty-seven students did not meet the requirement.  The average athletic GPA district-wide for middle school students during the first two quarters of 2012-13 was 3.42. Of 1,713 high school athletes in the district, 1,615 met the academic requirement during the first two academic quarters and 116 did not. The average athletic GPA district-wide for high school students was 3.46.


• Five Beaufort County School District high school students have been announced as finalists in the National Merit Scholarship Program. The three Beaufort High School students (Michael Alexander Cook, Adam Lipsitz and Reagan Palmer) and two Hilton Head Island High School students (Alexander Reamy and Marianna Parlagreco) are now among 15,000 nationwide  competing for 8,300 college scholarships worth a total of more than $32 million.


• In a flurry of balloons, oversized checks and beaming smiles, 13 Beaufort County teachers from 12 public schools were surprised today with the news that they had won Innovative Teacher Grants from the Foundation for Educational Excellence, a fund of the Community Foundation of the Lowcountry. Grants totaled more than $5,200 and ranged from $200 to $500.  This grant cycle was funded by First Citizens Bank as part of a three-year, $15,000 award received from the bank last year.  Local teachers winners include: • Shelia H. Cato, Beaufort High School, Grade 9 ($498.95) • Michele Dubbs, Coosa Elementary, Grade 1 English Language Arts ($500) • Kelli Harper, Lady’s Island Elementary school counselor ($315) • John W. O’Connell Jr., Port Royal Elementary, Grade 4-5 science ($484.75) • Patricia Horton and William Gallagher, Broad River Elementary, Grade 4 ($485.10).

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