FLORENCE, S.C.—If the atmosphere Wednesday night at the Francis Marion University Performing Arts Center was any indication, the new partnership between Florence School District One and Discovery Education has teachers buzzing.
During a launch event and short reception, the 36 teacher-leaders from Florence One were introduced. Members of the community as well as Superintendent Randy Bridges and nearly all of the district’s board of trustees were in attendance.
Moore Intermediate School Principal Carol Schweitz said she was quick to volunteer when the partnership was proposed because it is a great opportunity.
“I definitely wanted this opportunity for our school,” Schweitz said. “And I was very excited that I had five teachers who volunteered, not just the four (that we were looking for). They are really great teacher-leaders so they are going to go back and get other teachers excited too.”
Schweitz said the professional development program will give the Florence One teachers new ideas that, ultimately, will help transform their classrooms.
“We are ready for a change in education,” Schweitz said. “We are trying to prepare our students for the future, to be able to compete with other students globally. This will give us the first step to meeting that goal. I think there is a lot of support and everyone is very excited to have something that we can all work toward that will make a big difference.”
Rob Warren, director of education partnerships at Discovery Education, said he and his team were excited about the turnout for the launch event.
“It is thrilling,” Warren said. “For us, this really is what it is all about: honoring, recognizing and celebrating teacher-leaders that have volunteered to step up and lead and share with others. To have members of the community, the business community and the school board here is fantastic.”
Having early support leads to an effective three-year partnership, Warren said.
“For us, it is ultimately about the students,” Warren said. “The goal is to provide student-centered classrooms. Before we can do that, we have to have the teachers ready. Before we can do that, we have to have the community members, the stakeholders, everyone who was here today, on board. That is ultimately going to help the program succeed.”