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Board Approves Magnet and Choice Recommendations; Hears Update on 2020 Goals

The Charleston County School Board of Trustees approved 10 recommendations impacting the District’s magnet and choice schools beginning with the 2019-20 school year at the December 17, 2018 meeting. The Board will consider the additional details concerning how the recommendations would be implemented in January.

The approved magnet and choice changes include:

  • Magnet schools with entrance criteria should use outside adjudicators, including teachers from other schools, to avoid the appearance of bias and ensure entrance qualifications, expectations, and rubrics are communicated to all parents and teachers.

  • All partial magnet schools with low enrollment and applications should be examined and considered for elimination

  •  Paper and hard copy options will be made available as part of the application process and assistance will be provided to parents as needed The Choice Fair will be made available for all schools who choose to participate.

  • Standard courses will be developed and offered at all middle schools.

  • The core curriculum will be strengthened at every school, and the budget for additional support will be increased to help prepare students from high-poverty backgrounds for magnet/choice auditions (at schools requiring them).

  • Consideration will be made to expand to a second campus for schools with entrance criteria and long waiting lists of qualified applicants.

  • Practices at all magnet schools will be reviewed and changes made as warranted such as, but not limited to, class size, continuation requirements, and re-auditioning rules.

  • The admissions process will use a minimum acceptance score not greater than the 65th percentile as recommended in the 1998 Harvard study that stated magnet schools require a standardized test as part of the admissions process.

  • Magnet/choice transportation plans will ensure all eligible students receive transportation as needed.

2020 Goals Update

Also, the Board received five items from the District administration that are part of the Board-approved goals for the next two years. More detail regarding the two-year plan for each of the goals will be discussed in January. The five-goal items are:

  • Specifically, address middle schools, so they are staffed and supported to meet the needs of students, and engage all those who can provide input (students, educators, and community members).

  • Address the PreK-12 feeder patterns for Districts 4, 9, 10, 20, and 23.

  • Staff schools have that have traditionally performed at a low level with strong leaders, and provide those leaders with the support needed to accomplish academic improvement.

  • Improve discipline in schools.

  • Seek out successful education programs outside the district (state or national) that have a track record of impacting achievement in low performing schools.