Monday, June 20, 2016

Nearly 600 Students to Fill CCSD's Old McClellanville Middle School

The Charleston County School District shuttered McClellanville's Lincoln High/Middle School at the end of the school year because its low enrollment made per-student costs too high to justify its continuation under the current budget crisis. Yet a statewide public charter school will begin classes in McClellanville only three months later with a plethora of students. 

Kinda like Alice in Wonderland, isn't it?

The use of CCSD's building is a stop-gap measure while the Oceanside Collegiate Academy builds its own facility in Carolina Park, two miles northwest of Wando, where CCSD plans to bus former Lincoln students. This charter school, accredited through the statewide district, is not affiliated with CCSD. Is it any wonder that many Lincoln parents might jump to a school with 600 students versus overcrowded Wando's 4000?

Where did these 600 students appear from? The number suggests some live outside Charleston County, pointing out the artificiality of school district boundaries. The programs offered show the flexibility that CCSD cannot offer in a traditional school:
As a dual-enrollment high school, students at Oceanside will have the opportunity to earn up to two years’ worth of college credits. Oceanside will use a split schedule, meaning students can choose to take classes in the morning (between 8 a.m.-noon) or afternoon (12:30-4:30 p.m.), in addition to two hours of online electives each day.
This model allows students to take advantage of Oceanside’s complimentary tutoring, to go to work, do internships or community service and to participate in sports. The school plans to field teams in football, baseball, basketball, soccer, golf, tennis, lacrosse, cross country, swimming, competitive cheer, girls volleyball and softball. For some sports, practice already has begun.
As a statewide public charter school, Oceanside can accept students from any county in South Carolina and is funded through a combination of state and federal dollars instead of local taxes. Public charter schools also have greater autonomy and more flexibility compared with traditional public schools in making staffing, budget and curricula decisions.
“We get to do our own thing — whatever’s is best for the kids, we get to do that. When it comes to red tape, I don’t have any red tape. It’s just a beautiful thing,” said Corely, a former administrator at Wando. “I’ve never been given that kind of empowerment and freedom.”
So far, Oceanside has accepted 582 students from 16 cities in the tri-county region, including several from McClellanville and Awendaw in the wake of Lincoln Middle-High School’s recent closure.
Carolyn Simmons, president of the Lincoln Middle-High School PTSA, said she plans to send her 16-year-old twins to Oceanside next fall instead of Wando. Her sons played basketball and football at Lincoln, and Simmons hopes they’ll go to college on athletic scholarships. “Wando is such a big school... I’m just afraid they won’t get that playing time and stuff,” Simmons said. “I know a bunch of people who play sports there and in 11th grade, I wouldn’t want them sitting on the benches.”
 Do you have the same feeling that CCSD has been doing something all wrong?


Anonymous said...

Not sure who Corely is. As far as "empowerment" and "freedom" are concerned, if you're the principal, here's hoping your tenure is longer than the string of principals (whom I am sure also felt "empowered") who have been run off by the Charter School for Math and Science.

Anonymous said...

Agreed. Of course, the fact that CCSMS has had a multitude of principals run off since its inception is a topic clearly nobody wants to address: Neither the P&C nor this blog. Still wanting to know why, as does the other poster to this topic, wheir website continues to use the title "Interim Principal" to their latest appointee. Over/under on how long this guy lasts?