School choice popular in Beaufort Co, limits coming next year

About 2,300 students take part in the school choice program in Beaufort County.
About 2,300 students take part in the school choice program in Beaufort County.

Beaufort, SC (WSAV) – More than 2,000 Beaufort County parents are branching outside their neighborhoods to take their children to a school that they believe better fits their interests.
It’s part of the School Choice program that’s been offered in Beaufort County for two years. Thursday, however, the schools superintendent said the next school year would come with limits due to some schools already being at full capacity.
“Our school district continues to grow each and every year,” Beaufort Schools Superintendent Jeff Moss said. “So as the years progress, until we satisfy that population issue, we will have more and more schools end up with limited choice.”
Moss said he’s studying capacity numbers and is not ready to officially release which schools will not be part of school choice. He expects that information to be ready at the beginning of February. He did mention by name River Ridge Academy and Hilton Head Middle School as being two of the most crowded schools.
Among the choices are schools that focus on arts, language immersion, classical studies and leadership. Coosa Elementary School is one of three schools in the district that’s known as a Leader in Me school. The teaching style is based on the best-selling book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.
If you want to get motivated, step into Marjorie Isley’s fifth grade class at Coosa Elementary.
The students welcome visitors with a handshake, engage in lessons through thoughtful conversation and relate the content to every-day scenarios.
“Every day I’m proactive by doing my homework before I go and play or get on my iPad after school,” 5th grader Zachary Glover said.
Through a leadership-focused curriculum, priorities, goals and problem-solving are incorporated into every lesson. Mission statements are made on personal, class, grade and school-wide levels.
“If they have a problem outside of school or an argument they know how to work those problems out,” Isley said of how the teaching style impacts them outside the classroom.
Principal Charles DelForge said the Leader in Me becomes a culture among teachers, students and all staff members. They encourage parents to make it part of their routine, too.
“We’ve had a lot of cases where kids have had issues at other schools and come here and have done a lot better,” DelForge said. He added discipline referrals were reduced after the program was implemented.
Last year Coosa was named a Lighthouse School, an honor only 206 of the 2,524 Leader in Me schools worldwide have earned.

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