Back to school report card
The second half of the year is upon us and that means that summer, the best time to be a kid, is coming to an end. The first official day of the new school year is set for August 20, less than three weeks away. But local youngsters and teens shouldn’t fret, because the upcoming session will be full of opportunities that are sure to make the grade, especially as the Daniel Island and Cainhoy area continues to expand.
To help our readers get schooled on what kids and families can expect on the first day and beyond, The Daniel Island News sent a questionnaire to the principals of seven local educational institutions to get their feedback. Check out their responses below.
(Editor’s Note: In some cases, a principal did not provide an answer to a specific question, so in those cases, the question was left off the list of responses).
BISHOP ENGLAND HIGH SCHOOL
Principal Patrick Finneran
How many students are you expecting to welcome on the first day? We are expecting to have about 690 students with a freshman class of about 190 students.
What is your capacity? The school was built to hold 900 students but our optimal capacity is between 750-800 students.
How many teachers and staff members will serve students this year? There are 80 dedicated teachers and staff members that work at Bishop England High School.
Can you tell us about any important staff changes/additions for the new year? We had several outstanding and long-serving teachers retire or move so we will welcome six new faces to the school this fall. Scott Appleby will be joining the counseling staff, Maria Brahim will be teaching Spanish, Lindsey Clark will be teaching in the social studies department, Amanda Dietrich will be teaching English, Kelsey Leonard will be teaching math, and Chelsea Lusby will serve as the director of the accommodations program and teach English. Additionally, Mary Anne Tucker has taken on the role of associate principal and serves the day-to-day needs of the school. Julie Rosebrock will serve as the dean of students. As principal, I will remain responsible for the overall operation but will focus more on the business and development activities of the school.
Do you have a special focus or theme for the 2018-2019 school year? The theme for the year is 1 Corinthians, Chapter 16, verse 14. “Your every act should be done with love.”
What is new this year? We have re-introduced the importance of service to others. Mrs. Chappell, French teacher, has taken on the added responsibility of service learning. This is a passion for her. Jill has promoted and demonstrated service learning as a teacher. She will be assisted by Edson Moya, campus minister, and several other teachers to encourage and promote service opportunities for our students. Students will be able to register and track service hours online through the MobileServe app and website.
What are your top three goals for the new year? The Diocese of Charleston secondary schools are focusing on the mental health and wellness of our students. All secondary teachers and staff will be at a full day training on August 15th at Bishop England to gain a better perspective on what is facing our students and how we can help them as teachers and staff. Taking care of all the needs of our students remains our top goal. We are also looking to enhance the teaching and learning environment of the school through increased development efforts to raise awareness and funds to upgrade our facility, increase teacher compensation, add collaborative learning opportunities, and improve the use of community resources. As a Catholic school, we rely on the generosity of our parents, alumni and community partners to make these improvements. With 86 cents of every dollar donated to the school going toward the teaching and learning environment, every donation will impact the lives of our students. Finally, we want our students to learn that service to their fellow man and country is important. Service allows us to demonstrate God’s love for all.
Do you have a “back to school message” you can share with students? Be an active participant in your education. Ask questions and for help when needed. The person ultimately responsible for your success is you.
Principal Alan Wilson
How many students are you expecting to welcome on the first day? 200
What is your capacity? 600 (due to being a school that was K-12 grade at one time).
How many teacher and staff members will serve students this year? 40
Can you tell us about any important staff changes/ additions for the new year? Cainhoy will have a new principal this year. The district is in the hiring process now. Alan Wilson, retired principal will serve until the selection is made.
Do you have a special focus or theme for the 2018- 2019 school year? Our primary focus it to improve student achievement.
What is new this year? We will be using a grants from Birds of Prey and Crayola Hallmark to improve out STEAM instruction. Under a special program from the federal government, all students will be provided with a free breakfast and lunch.
What are your top three goals for the new year? Improve student achievement, increase parent and community involvement.
Do you have any “back to school messages” you can share with students? We are looking forward to the new year. Even though it will be a time of transition, the staff is committed to providing the best instruction possible.
DANIEL ISLAND SCHOOL
Principal Kori Brown
How many students are you expecting to welcome on the first day? We expect approximately 1200 students the first day. We are registering new students daily.
What is your capacity? We are not at capacity in Daniel Island School, so we are looking forward to seeing new faces and recognizing the familiar ones.
How many teachers and staff members will serve students this year? We have 109 faculty and staff members to serve our students in the coming school year.
Can you tell us about any important staff changes/additions for the new year? We are excited to have new faces join our amazing team of educators! Families should be sure to attend our Back to School Celebration on August 16th, 5:30 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. to meet and greet our teachers and staff.
Do you have a special focus or theme for the 2018-2019 school year? Daniel Island School is “Anchored in Excellence.” We are adjusting our sails to navigate the “C’s” - Critical thinking, Communication, Collaboration and Creativity.
What is new this year? We will continue to grow our STEAM program and personalize learning to prepare our students to be future ready. For the first time, we will have a Fun Run in the fall with Booster-thon. With the funds raised, we will continue our partnership with Engaging Creative Minds, as well as support our teachers and their programming.
What are your top three goals for the new year? Three goals for the year include student learning, teacher professional development and parent communication and engagement.
Do you have a “back to school message” you can share with students? It is hard to believe that we are on the eve of yet another great adventure at Daniel Island School! We look forward to comparing notes with old friends and meeting new people who will also be our “old friends” this time next year. We want the 2018-2019 school year to be the best ever! We want to learn and learn and grow and grow! We want to be kinder to one another and make sure that we always appreciate and acknowledge the unique gifts that we are each able to bring to our school community. We are excited! Bring it on!
HANAHAN HIGH SCHOOL
Principal Tom Gallus
How many students are you expecting to welcome on the first day? 1050
What is your capacity? 1200
How many teachers and staff members will serve students this year? 100
Can you tell us about any important staff changes/additions for the new year? Tom Gallus— principal. David Morbitzer— head football coach. Kim Joseph — assistant principal for athletics. Bradley Harrison — Spanish teacher. Joe Bowers — PE teacher/ football coach. Rachel Diehl — athletic trainer.
Do you have a special focus or theme for the 2018-2019 school year? Being that Hanahan High School is a true community school, we will be making an effort to get all members of the community involved in events taking place at Hanahan High School.
What are your top three goals for the new year? Improve our students for life after high school. For some that is college, for some that is trade school and for some that is getting a job. We would like to provide our students with the skills necessary to be successful in obtaining a job in one of the major industries in the Charleston metro area as well.
Do you have a “back to school message” you can share with students? The teachers and staff of Hanahan High School have been working tirelessly to get the school prepared to get the 2018-19 school year started. Each new school year is an opportunity for the Hawks to S.O.A.R. and we cannot wait for August 20 to get here!
PHILIP SIMMONS ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
Principal Melissa Negreiros
How many students are you expecting to welcome on the first day? Philip Simmons Elementary School plans to welcome approximately 370 students on the first day.
What is your capacity? 750
How many teachers and staff members will serve students this year? Certified staff: 30. Non-certified staff: 17.
Can you tell us about any important staff changes/additions for the new year? We are welcoming several new teachers and staff members this year. Throughout the year we will highlight each teacher and staff member as part of our #psestories initiative.
Do you have a special focus or theme for the 2018-2019 school year? Our theme for the 2018-2019 school year is “The Story of Us.” Throughout the school year we will be learning about and celebrating the diversity within our school and community. This initiative includes community building within each class and the school as a whole, engagement with the community, training for teachers and staff on “Culturally Responsive Teaching” practices, collecting and sharing oral histories in our First Annual Great Listen month in November, and cultural celebrations throughout the year.
What is new this year? This year we are joining with PSM and PSH to align our goals and plans for the #psplants gardening programs. The focus for PSE will be on linking food, culture, health, and the environment to our outdoor gardens and, hopefully, adding some tower gardens. We would love community support with this program.
What are your top three goals for the new year? As always, our number one goal is to provide students with a safe and nurturing school environment. Continuing to build strong relationships within the school and the broader Philip Simmons community. Continue to provide high quality 21st Century learning experiences that meet the needs of our students.
Do you have a “back to school message” you can share with students? The faculty and staff of Philip Simmons Elementary School are excited to welcome our students and families to the 2018-2019 school year! We hope everyone had a relaxing and enjoyable summer and are looking forward to another year packed full of learning, growing, and fun!
PHILIP SIMMONS MIDDLE SCHOOL
Principal Charla Groves
How many students are you expecting to welcome on the first day? 325
What is your capacity? 800
How many teachers and staff members will serve students this year? 42 teachers and staff.
Can you tell us about any important staff changes/additions for the new year? This is an exciting time of growth at Philip Simmons Middle School. I was named as the new principal on July 10 after serving as assistant principal for the past two years. We also have five teachers new to the school, as well as a new assistant principal and a new instructional coach.
Do you have a special focus or theme for the 2018-2019 school year? Dream, Believe, Achieve.
What is new this year? We will continue to focus on STEAM instructional practices and increase student involvement in our Makerspace.
What are your top three goals for the new year? (1) Student achievement. (2) Personalized learning opportunities for students. (3) Increase community engagement.
PHILIP SIMMONS HIGH SCHOOL
Principal Anthony Dixon
How many students are you expecting to welcome on the first day? Approximately 400 students.
What is your capacity? 1,300 is our capacity, but we have 30+ acres to grow and expand.
How many teachers and staff members will serve students this year? 52 Staffulty (teachers and staff together) members.
Can you tell us about any important staff changes/additions for the new year? Dr. Anthony Dixon is the new principal at Philip Simmons High School. He was the former principal at Philip Simmons Middle School and Cainhoy Elementary/Middle School. Mr. James Haynes is a new assistant principal here, and he came to us from Cane Bay High School. We also have a new director of counseling, Dr. Juann Edmondson. She came to us from Cane Bay High School as well. Dr. Chelsey Bradley will also serve as our academy coach. We have several additional staffulty members that were added to our team due to population and program growth.
Do you have a special focus or theme for the 2018-2019 school year? Continue the legacy of academic excellence, safe and caring learning environment, and high expectations that was set when the school began; however, we want ensure that this is what we believe for all staffulty and students that walk through our doors.
What is new this year? We will be in our second year in existence. Everything is still new; however, as we develop into a fully functioning high school, there will be more opportunities for all students.
What are your top three goals for the new year? The main goal is to continue what has been established while creating a positive school culture that is unique to only Philip Simmons High School!
Do you have a “back to school message” you can share with students? I look forward to continuing to work with the students and families of the Philip Simmons community. It is an awesome opportunity to serve as the principal of the high school. When the students in our junior class were in kindergarten, I was the assistant principal at Daniel Island School, so it is fortunate to watch the develop into positive and impactful members of our community. I want each student to know that they are valued and we will do all we can to foster an environment where they are able to thrive.