22,000 students head back to class
Teachers and school staff greeted about 22,000 students as the Beaufort County School District’s 2017-18 academic year officially got underway.
About 3,640 students – one of every six district-wide – are attending schools outside their zoned attendance areas in the third year of the district’s expanded school choice program. Parents can apply to send their children to any academic program at any school in district, regardless of where they live.
Curriculum options approved by the board of education include such instructional choices as Montessori, International Baccalaureate, arts infused, classical studies, dual language immersion, early college, leadership programs and advanced math and science.
Superintendent Jeff Moss expressed confidence that the academic improvements of recent years would continue.
“Our students and educators have produced solid gains in academic achievement over the past few years, and our on-time high school graduation rate is at an all-time high,” Moss said. “I’m very confident that student achievement will continue to improve.”
Moss said the school district had processed an additional 2,000 school volunteer applications over the past few months.
“That brings us to a total of 8,200 volunteers, up from 1,300 just five years ago,” he said.
Students at five Beaufort County schools were greeted by new principals:
• Chad Cox, former principal at Whale Branch Middle School, is the new principal at Battery Creek High School.
• Bonnie Almond, the district’s former director of innovation, is the new principal at Beaufort High School.
• Michelle Sackman, former assistant principal Whale Branch Elementary School, is the new principal at Mossy Oaks Elementary School.
• Jennifer Morillo, the district’s former director of teaching and learning, is the new principal at Robert Smalls International Academy.
• Freddie Lawton, former assistant principal at Whale Branch Middle School, is the school’s new principal.
District bell schedules are unchanged from last year, with elementary schools starting classes at 7:45 a.m. and middle, high and PreK-8 schools starting classes at 8:45 a.m.
Bridges Prep student named to national society
Suchir Shetty, a 10th-grade student at Bridges Prep in Beaufort, is the newest member of a scholarship organization founded by the Nobel Prize family.
Shetty was inducted to the National Society of High School Scholars by founder and chairman, Claes Nobel, during the summer. Nobel’s family established the international Nobel Prizes.
“On behalf of NSHSS, I am honored to recognize the hard work, sacrifice and commitment that Suchir has demonstrated to achieve this exceptional level of academic excellence.
“Suchir is now a member of a unique community of scholars – a community that represents our very best hope for the future,” Nobel said.
Shetty said his favorite subjects are math and science and he hopes to become a medical doctor.
He’s attended Bridges Prep since sixth grade and was among the first students to attend the then-new state charter school.
“Bridges is a good learning situation and if I ever need help, the teachers are always there for me,” he said.
Dee Matthews, chair of the Bridges Prep board of directors, said Shetty has worked hard to reach such heights.
“Suchir has a strong work ethic, he applies himself and he has a strong family support system. He’s also a very bright young man with a wonderful future ahead.”
In addition to being a member of the National Society of High School Scholars, Shetty also is a South Carolina Scholar and earned entry to the Duke University Talent Identification Program – both based on high scores on college entrance exams.
“We are extremely proud of Suchir’s academic achievements and he has an extremely bright future ahead,” Bridges Prep Head of School Dr. Nick Ithomitis said. “Congratulations to him and his family on being recognized by the National Society of High School Scholars.”
USCB Beaufort campus opens residential housing
The University of South Carolina Beaufort is introducing a new living, learning community for honors BSN nursing students on the Beaufort campus in the fall of 2018.
USCB is expanding residential housing on the Beaufort campus, thereby allowing students to live and learn together in a select nursing cohort that offers a common experience and keeps learners accountable to each other, which is highly valued by the university’s students.
The cohort structure offers students a unique support system.
Students will be directly admitted to the cohort via a competitive entry process.
This cohort model has proven successful at universities across the country. Residential learning communities improve student engagement, develop a sense of community, improve retention rates, result in higher GPAs and help students complete degrees in a timely manner.
USCB is currently seeking proposals from private owners of housing facilities in the local Beaufort community for student housing to accommodate the nursing cohort.
Students’ first two years are spent on the Beaufort campus in preparation for completion of the BSN, the last two years of which are delivered on the Bluffton campus.