MARION, S.C. -- The Marion County School District has been all about #GrowingBetterTogether this year.

Two of our very successful initiatives from last year continue to have a positive impact on student achievement. They touch our youngest of students and our older ones as well.

Student data shows The Academy of Early Learning has narrowed the achievement gap of our earliest learners. Based on this success, the district has expanded the Montessori program through the second grade at North Mullins Primary School.

A second cohort of students entered the Early College program located at Mullins High School. Their successful journey will earn them an associate’s degree from Florence-Darlington Technical College as well as a high school diploma when they graduate in 2022.

Through the Empowering Educators to Excel grant, our schools have implanted new and improved levers for improving student achievement. Instructional Leadership Teams are working proactively and executing with focus, discipline and accountability.

Through the Supporting Teacher Effectiveness Project (STEP), our teachers are identifying what is working in their classrooms and replicating it in professional learning communities. We are also moving to a coaching model that will support all educators to ensure that new knowledge and skills translate directly into effective practices for teachers.

Knowing that effective teachers are the key to student achievement, the Marion County School District has also redesigned the teacher recruitment process. No longer is this a one-department seasonal activity but rather a yearlong event that is practiced at both the school and district level. School-based teams are engaging in the search and welcome activities needed to attract high quality educators to our district.

Our students have risen to their potentials both on the athletic field and off as evidence by the Mullins High School girls’ basketball team winning the Lower State championship, the 1051 Robotics team competing in the semifinals of the Palmetto Regional FIRST Robotics competition and a senior at Marion High School and the Academy for Careers & Technology winning the state Skills USA competition in auto collision repair.

We are busy planning for next year. Identifying both academic and extracurricular opportunity gaps for some of the high school students, the district convened a task force, comprised of community, district and school staff, to study the issue. As a result, students at Creek Bridge High School will be rezoned to Mullins High School.

Britton’s Neck Elementary School, which had been compromised by years of flooding, will close. Students in kindergarten through fifth grade will move to the Creek Bridge facility, creating Creek Bridge Elementary Middle School. This school will have curricular emphasis on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) to prepare our students to become college and career ready.

The Marion County School District is growing better together. We are on a journey to improve student achievement.

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