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D20PCP initiative off to a successful start

RELEASE DATE: October 12, 2022

Five principals from the Constituent District 20 schools, located in downtown Charleston, formed a collaboration to strengthen and direct the academic progress of students served in its feeder system of elementary, middle, and high schools. The derivative of this collaboration is now called the District 20 Principal Collaboration Program (D20PCP). 

District 20 principals Janice Malone (Sanders-Clyde Elementary School),  Amber Sainz (Julian Mitchell Elementary School), Wanda Sheats (Charleston Progressive Academy), Stephanie Spann (Simmons-Pinckney Middle School), and Cheryl Swinton (Burke High School) collectively agreed that addressing the most pressing needs that permeate D20’s student population was crucial. Their efforts will not only address the Vision 2027 goal of all  students in Charleston County School District (CCSD) reading on grade level  by fifth grade but will also engage students in real-world experiences,  broadening horizons, and removing barriers to success. 

The D20PCP principals identified areas of need that they describe as “the  most pressing needs that permeate our student bodies,” including academic performance, chronic absenteeism, tardiness, discipline, engaging families,  mental and physical health, access to youth-centered activities, and  developing positive self-esteem. Another important focus of the collaboration  is attracting and retaining excellent teachers and staff to support D20  schools. 

The goals designed to address these needs are ambitious. As described by  this group of dedicated principals, the proposal gives hope that change can  be made for the betterment of D20 students and their families by banning  

together and creating the chain that overlaps and connects the overall  growth of students who come through D20 schools. 

“We don’t pity our students, we empower our students and their families  with the tools and skills needed to break the cycle of poverty and low expectations,” said Janice Malone (Sanders-Clyde Elementary School) leader  of the principal team. 

Through this collaboration, these school leaders are looking forward to sharing  measurable outcomes related to improvement. Positive outcomes for all students  will be grounded in the collaboration’s initiatives of student support, family  support, community support, and teacher recruitment, as well as retention. Each positive outcome will, ultimately, support student achievement. 

Using ESSER III funding, the principals sought the guidance and expertise of long-time educator and former CCSD Deputy Superintendent, Dr. Barbara Dilligard, to coordinate student and family support systems. The principals of each school have committed to working collaboratively on each of the initiatives outlined in the  ESSER III proposal. 

In the spirit of collaboration, this partnership has resulted in numerous community and civic organization partnerships. The City of Charleston Recreation Center enabled 18 students to successfully complete a swimming summer camp. The  Burke High School Foundation, Inc. purchased school uniforms and other items for  D20PCP students. School supplies were donated at two community Back-to-School events (Eastside and Westside parks), and a collaboration was established with the  Preservation Society of Charleston to share historical projects on African American contributions to the Charleston area through the D20PCP Heritage School of  Knowledge. The Lowcountry Period Project was re-established to provide feminine  hygiene products for girls at Simmons-Pinckney and Burke. 

One tenet of the collaboration, embedded in the multifaceted work, is that the  collaboration will provide students with opportunities and experiences with cultural activities that stretch students’ minds and promote social growth. Recently, CCSD  Superintendent Don Kennedy accompanied students and teachers to the Beyond  Van Gogh Charleston: The Immersive Experience. 

It's clear that, even in its infancy, D20PCP is having a positive impact. More than  260 students with their teachers and volunteer chaperones attended the  Immersive Experience. Students expressed great interest and many creative ideas about what they saw and what they learned from this enriching experience. 

For more information about this and other uses of ESSER III funding, please visit

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