LAKE CITY, S.C. – The Florence County School District Three Board of Trustees approved recommendations Thursday for the district’s alternative education programs.

As the district looks at alternative education moving forward, Ned Blake said he would like to focus on the time that is spent with the students. Blake has been appointed the district’s director of alternative school and students services for the 2019-20 school year.

“We really want to look at, what are we really doing with students during the time that we really have them,” Blake told the school board Thursday. “And that’s besides just trying to educate them. We’ve got a number of other things we need to implement.”

During a presentation to the board, Blake said the mission of district’s Alternative Education Programs is to provide an environment that will prompt maximum academic, social/behavioral and career potential by developing opportunities to:

  • prepare students for college and career.
  • enhance positive attitudes.
  • reduce inappropriate behaviors.

Blake said the district is seeking to offer three programs next year.

The Panther CHOICE Academy is going to be the flagship program for alternative education, he said. This academy would be for grades nine through 12 and will be housed in a mobile unit on the alternative campus.

According to the presentation, The Panther CHOICE Academy is designed to increase graduation rates of students who have fallen behind in credit earnings and support students who do not feel that conventional instruction meets their education needs.

A Panther RESET Academy will be for students in grades seven through 12 and will be housed in the current alternative building.

A Panther PRIDE Academy will be offered for students in kindergarten through sixth grades. The program will be offered at the district’s current alternative education building.

The RESET and PRIDE academies are designed to provide students an opportunity to rebound from previous incidents. These academies will focus on social emotional learning, community service involvement, field trip experiences, mentoring programs, soft skills development and self-resilience.

The three programs will utilize traditional standard-based or APEX curriculums.

In other business, the board of trustees on final reading approved the budget for the 2019-20 school year. The balanced budget includes total revenues and total expenditures of $29,632,700. It includes a 4 percent teacher pay increase. The budget also includes a millage increase of 5.03 mills.

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