MARION, S.C. -- In the Marion County School District there is an air of excitement as staff and students return for the 2019-20 school year Wednesday morning. Much of this excitement stems from the new opportunities that will be provided to students with the execution of the 2019-20Reconfiguration Plan, which consists of merging Creek Bridge High School students (grades 9-12) with Mullins High School. Another exciting component of the plan is the opening of the district’s first theme-based school; Creek Bridge STEM Academy (CBSA).

The key considerations for the Reconfiguration plan were Enrollment Trends, Opportunities for Student, Healthy and Safe Environments Conducive for Learning and Financial Efficiency. To ensure a smooth execution of the recommendations outlined with the Reconfiguration, a yearlong study was conducted by an advisory committee comprised of parents, community members, school and district staff. The committee reviewed all aspects of the Reconfiguration Plan and developed action plans to ensure a positive transition for our elementary and high school students.

To prepare for Creek Bridge STEM Academy site visits were conducted to school districts in both North and South Carolina to review Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) programs, there was an extensive review of STEM curriculum, as well as development of a high tech STEM lab on the campus. The school is now focused on a plan of continued professional development for teachers. To assist with the high school transition, several activities were planned with students groups, clubs and teams that included students from both campuses.

Officials said communication from parents and students has been very positive and that the district is pleased to be able to provide the former Creek Bridge High School students the opportunity to engage in a wider variety of courses and extra-curricular activities especially in the area of sports as well as to provide the younger population with rich and engaging experiences in STEM Education.

“The district is poised for an EPIC year,” Superintendent Dr. Kandace Bethea said. “Being EPIC is the key focus for the district this year; Educating, Preparing, and Inspiring, Compassionately.”

The district will hold an official ribbon cutting for the new STEM Academy in September.

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