By Beth Havens and Cindy Ambrose, Horry County Schools
In May, the South Carolina Council on Competitiveness unveiled TransformSC, an initiative to transform public education in South Carolina. We are excited to announce that Whittemore Park Middle School in Conway, SC has been selected as a pilot site for this state innovation initiative. As a part of the initiative, six pilot sites across the state in which innovative educators are already engaged in developing and implementing transformative change were identified. These pilot sites will be supported by TranformSC through research and development in new assessments, policy support to allow for new approaches, and the sharing of best practices from across the state and the nation. On Tuesday, August 20th, Moryah Jackson, Director of Education Initiatives of New Carolina, and Gerrita Postlewait with TransformSC hosted a meeting at our school to provide an overview of this initiative and the state’s innovation zone. School staff members also had an opportunity to share current innovation initiatives at Whittemore Park Middle School. Community and civic leaders, legislative delegation members, parents, and students participated in this event.
This local news article describes TransformSC and Whittemore Park’s efforts in the statewide initiative. The school district is working to turn around the high-poverty middle school using the iCAN model: a completely redesigned new school model focused on a blended core academic curriculum and a wide-ranging system of personalized supports to ensure college and career readiness for all students. Learn about the iCAN model in this profile and on our website at wpm.horrycountyschools.net.
This announcement follows national recognition of the technology initiatives we are putting into place in Horry County Schools to personalize learning. Earlier this summer, students and teachers from Loris Elementary School participated in a Google+ Hangout with James Kvaal, Deputy Director of the White House Domestic Policy Council, and two other schools from across the country. This National “Show and Tell” on Connected Classrooms was part of President Obama’s announcement of the ConnectED initiative and his visit to Mooresville Middle School in North Carolina.
Loris Elementary School is a PK-5 school serving about 700 students; 80% of the students qualify for free and reduced lunch. The school is looking for technology-based programs that will provide differentiated content based on real-time assessment data, engaging and appropriately-challenging learning content, and management and tracking systems so teachers can further enhance the online learning experience and hold students accountable. During the Hangout, students talked about two technology-enabled projects, one about nearby beaches and the other on the Civil Rights Movement.