It's Back to School Time!

Thousands of Lowcountry students will return to the classroom this month for the first day of school. Close to 3500 of them will head to six different schools in the Daniel Island/Cainhoy peninsula area - Daniel Island School, Bishop England High School, Philip Simmons Elementary, Philip Simmons Middle, Philip Simmons High School and Cainhoy Elementary School. The Daniel Island News reached out to the principals at each facility for a special "back to school" Q&A. Read their responses below and find out how each school plans to make the grade in the new academic year!

DANIEL ISLAND SCHOOL
Principal: Nancy Leigh

Q: What’s new for the 2019-2020 school year?

Staff members were involved in STEAM training at DIS this summer to implement an approach to learning that uses Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics for guiding student inquiry. Back- to-school professional development will also focus on personalized learning and innovative teaching strategies to meet the needs of our 21st Century learners. No operational changes will be implemented at this time.

Q: Any staff changes/new hires you can share with us?

We have received additional teaching allocations in second and third grade to reduce class size, as well as an additional clerical position for the office.

Q: What goals have you set in terms of student achievement for the 2019-2020 school year?

We will focus on each student’s individual academic goals for the year, which will differ for all students. Overall, we will strive to increase expectations for students as we implement engaging learning activities and provide opportunities for students to use collaboration, critical thinking, communication and creativity.

Q: How many students are enrolled to start school this month? 1201

Q: How many teachers/staff do you have on hand – and do you plan to add any more prior to the start of school? 71 teachers, 135 staff members

Q: What are you most excited about for the new school year?

I’m excited about being a part of the Daniel Island community and look forward to meeting our students and families.

Q: Can you give us a rundown of planned back to school activities?

New Parent Orientation is Aug. 8th at 6 p.m. A “Back to School Bash” for all students will be held on Aug. 15th from 6 to 7:30 p.m. and the first day of school will be Aug. 19. Individual grade level nights will be held Aug. 20-29th.

Q: Best advice for students as they prepare for the first day?

Relax! All of us at DIS are here to help you transition into a new school year. Take the time to enjoy building relationships with new teachers and peers.

Q: Is there anything else you’d like to add?

I look forward to working in a neighborhood school where the community values education and embraces high expectations.

PHILIP SIMMONS ELEMENTARY
Principal: LaToya King

Q: What’s new for the 2019-2020 school year?

There are no new or major changes for the 2019-20 school year. We will continue with the programs we had last year. In addition to these programs, kindergarten and first grade teachers will be using Project Read Phonics to provide intervention and support for emergent readers. Second, third, and fourth grade teachers will use Written Expression to enhance and build students’ writing. At this time, there are no operational changes.

Q: Any staff changes/new hires you can share with us?

New principal – LaToya King; CERDEP (K4) teacher – Meesha Ford; Kindergarten teachers – Caroline Carter and Jessica Rowland; 1st Grade – Ashlee Newton; 2nd Grade – Stephanie Parnell and Robyn Wyman; 3rd Grade – Kristina Eriksen; and 4th Grade – Rachel Miller and Heather Goforth.

Q: What goals have you set in terms of student achievement for the 2019-2020 school year?

One of our primary goals is to promote student achievement & growth by providing individualized instruction to ensure all students’ needs are being met. We will continue to foster a climate of academic excellence and engaging STEAM instruction.

Q: How many students are enrolled to start school this month? 435 students

Q: How many teachers/staff do you have on hand – and do you plan to add any more prior to the start of school? 62

Q: What are you most excited about for the new school year?

As a product of the Berkeley County School District I am excited about having the opportunity to impact the education and lives of the students of Berkeley County. As a young child there were many great educators who encouraged me and provided me with countless learning opportunities. I am excited about having the opportunity to “give back” or “pay it forward” to a system that helped to mold me into the professional I have become.

Q: Can you give us a rundown of planned back to school activities?

Aug. 15 - Meet the Teacher - 5 -7 p.m.

Aug. 20 - PTA Back to School Picnic – 5 – 7 p.m.

Q: Best advice for students as they prepare for the first day?

Read as much as you can! Get some rest! Get excited about helping PSE #Makeitbetter in the 2019-2020 school year!

CAINHOY ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
Principal: LaWanda Glears

Q: What’s new for the 2019-2020 school year?

We will offer before school tutoring from 6 to 6:45 a.m. Monday – Friday. This year S2TEM Centers of SC will provide support to Cainhoy Elementary to help create a culture of collaboration and trust through the context of STEAM.

Q: Any staff changes/new hires you can share with us?

Stacy Williams, reading coach; Latavia Brown, 5th Grade; Keisha Livert-Rose, 4th grade; Tracy Allen, kindergarten teacher; and Peggy Kirkland, cafeteria manager.

Q: What goals have you set in terms of student achievement for the 2019-2020 school year?

In order for student achievement to improve, we as a school must focus on the following:

Improve the academic performance of all students; Reduce discipline issues; Improve the attendance rates of faculty, staff and students; Provide a curriculum for our students that is rigorous, relevant, and results-driven; Create a safe and orderly learning environment for all; Increase parental support; Increase partnerships between the school, community, and local businesses; Provide more opportunities for student involvement in STEAM.

Q: How many students are enrolled to start school this month? 148

Q: How many teachers/staff do you have on hand – and do you plan to add any more prior to the start of school?

We plan to add a SPED and reading teacher. Currently, there are 13 full-time certified teachers to include media specialist, guidance counselor, and reading coach; three part-time related arts teachers (music, art, P.E - two days per week); and five classified staff.

Q: What are you most excited about for the new school year?

I am most excited that I had this summer to work on programs, policies, and procedures that will help improve the academic performance of students at Cainhoy. In addition, I am also excited about the opportunity to hire new staff and continue to build a relationship with faculty, staff, and the many stakeholders who are supportive of Cainhoy.

Q: Can you give us a rundown of planned back to school activities?

Aug. 10 - Prayer Breakfast, 7:30 to 8:30 a.m.; Cainhoy Volunteer Day 8:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. (school beautification, assist teachers with setting up classroom, clerical support, etc.); Faculty, staff, and family get together, 4 to 6 p.m.

Aug. 15 – Meet the Teacher, 3 to 6 p.m.

Aug. 16 - Cainhoy Stakeholders Meeting to discuss the future of STEAM at Cainhoy, 10 a.m. - 12 p.m.

Aug. 19 - Community members and stakeholders welcome students back to school from 6:50 a.m. - 7:30 a.m.

Q: Best advice for students as they prepare for the first day?

I want to remind them of our school motto, which is “At Cainhoy, We Come Prepared, Have Respect, and Everyone Achieves and Stays Safe.” If they stay true to this motto, we will have a great year.

PHILIP SIMMONS MIDDLE SCHOOL
Principal: Charla Groves

Q: What’s new for the 2019-2020 school year?

We will be adding peer mentoring at PSM this school year. This provides an excellent opportunity for students to build positive relationships, learn from each other, and grow as a community.

Q: Any staff changes/new hires you can share with us?

We are excited to welcome Kyla Berkowitz to the PSM Iron Horse family. She will be joining the faculty beginning August 13th as a resource teacher.

Q: What goals have you set in terms of student achievement for the 2019-2020 school year?

One of our primary goals is student growth. To meet this goal, we will begin to explore and offer options for personalized learning. #PSMWeCanWeWill.

Q: How many students are enrolled to start school this month?

There are currently 405 students registered.

Q: How many teachers/staff do you have on hand – and do you plan to add any more prior to the start of school?

We currently have 43 teachers/staff and are expecting to hire 2 -3 more individuals prior to the start of school.

Q: What are you most excited about for the new school year?

I am so ready to see our students. It gets lonely at school during the summer without them. I am also very excited to welcome new students to our amazing Iron Horse family. It is going to be a great school year!

Q: Can you give us a rundown of planned back to school activities?

Our 2019-2020 Launch Party will be held on Wednesday, July 31 for teachers and staff.

Facts and Fees is scheduled on Aug. 7 and 8 from 8 a.m. – 12 p.m. We will host a transition camp called “Meet Us in the Middle” on Monday, Aug. 12 from 8 - 11:30 a.m. for rising 5th and 6th grade students new to PSM. “Meet the Teacher” - Thursday, Aug.15, 6 - 7:30 p.m. “Parent Orientation” - Thursday, Sept. 5, 6 - 7:30 p.m.

Q: Best advice for students as they prepare for the first day?

Be excited! It is a new year, full of new opportunities.

PHILIP SIMMONS HIGH SCHOOL
Principal: Anthony Dixon

Q: What’s new for the 2019-2020 school year?

This year we are excited to grow our first senior class. With this growth, we have the opportunity to continue to build a legacy as a complete, full functioning high school. This will enhance the curriculum, climate, culture, and the community, both within our school building and beyond. Our growth will bring events like our 2020 graduation, signing day for athletics and careers as well as the addition of clubs and sports. Additional course offerings in world languages, fine arts, business, science, math, social studies, and ELA are available to students. We are also planning to field our first JV girls’ lacrosse team.

Q: Any staff changes/new hires you can share with us?

Due to our expansion, we are fortunate to add many new Iron Horse Staffulty this year. Approximately 30 additional staffulty will join us as teachers, paraprofessionals, support staff, and coaches. Formal introductions will be provided when you visit our school website. In total, we plan to have 75 staffulty members to include instructional and support staff.

Q: What goals have you set in terms of student achievement for the 2019-2020 school year?

The goals for the school year will revolve around what I consider the four cornerstones of school success. We will focus on curriculum, climate, community and culture.

Q: How many students are enrolled to start school this month?

To date, we have 550 students enrolled in grades 9-12.

Q: What are you most excited about for the new school year?

I am very excited about the opportunity to have all grades at PSH this year. We have a vision and mission that is coupled with clear school goals and objectives that will enhance achievement of all!

Q: Can you give us a rundown of planned back to school activities?

Aug. 7 - School-wide Facts & Fees, 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Aug. 15 – Parent Information Night, 4 to 7 p.m.

Aug. 16 – New Student Orientation, 9 to 11 a.m.

Aug. 19 – First day of school, 8:55 a.m. morning bell

Aug. 27 – Senior Night, 6 to 7 p.m.

Aug. 30 – First home varsity football game (theme: purple out!)

Q: Best advice for students as they prepare for the first day?

Please bring a positive attitude with the understanding that you can be involved as much or as little as you desire. Our hope is to provide diverse and inclusive opportunities for everyone; therefore, it is important to communicate your needs, stay abreast of school activities and events, and advocate for yourself as a vital member of our school community.

BISHOP ENGLAND
Principal: Patrick Finneran

Q: What’s new for the 2019-2020 school year?

Bishop England High School will begin the school year in service to others. All faculty, staff, and students will be in the Charleston community on Monday, Aug. 19 to serve. Students are divided by their homerooms and assigned different service opportunities throughout the day. We are working with community partners such as: HomeWorks, Lowcountry Orphan Relief, Carter-May Nursing Home, Summit Place, Ronald McDonald House, Veterans Hospital, Windwood Farms, Low Country Food Bank, Pet Helpers, and more. Additionally, students and teachers will be serving the community through beach sweeps at Folly Beach and Isle of Palms. The students, faculty and staff will provide over 3,000 hours of service in one day.

Bishop England High School has also revamped their Campus Ministry program to better serve our students. The Campus Ministry Team consists of 5 teachers: Grace Bellon, Billy Bartell, Stephen Beach, Lucia Gonzalez, and Janel Swanson. These teachers, in conjunction with the school chaplain, will provide opportunities for our students to grow in faith. The school will continue to offer retreats for all students by grade, sacramental and prayer opportunities, small and large group activities, national speakers, and Pro-Life activities. In addition, they will look to provide opportunities for increased mental health awareness, parent catechesis and community, and a therapy dog, Moses. Moses, the Bishop England therapy dog, will be available for our students daily for comfort and companionship.

Q: Any staff changes/new hires you can share with us?

Bishop England has hired a new director of advancement, Lindsay Finneran, to lead the advancement office. Lindsay comes to Bishop England from The Ohio State University in Columbus, OH where she worked in their advancement office. Lindsay will be working with Meg Boyer, communications, Lisa Doyle, advancement officer, and Kelly Duffy, alumni relations, to help support the outstanding spiritual, academic, and athletic endeavors of the school. While the name is the same, Lindsay is not related to the principal, Patrick Finneran.

Additionally, Bishop England is excited to welcome the following people to the school: Billy Bartell, theology teacher; Grace Bellon, theology teacher; Stephanie Dukes, Spanish teacher; Caitlin Morris, counselor; and Carly Passante, counselor.

Q: What goals have you set in terms of student achievement for the 2019-2020 school year?

Our theme for the year is from 1 Peter verse 10: “As each one has received a gift, use it to serve one another as good stewards of God’s varied grace.”

We continue to focus on increasing the amount of service opportunities for our school community and how we can best serve our students spiritually, academically, and physically.

Q: How many students are enrolled to start school this month?

We will start the school year with 680 students. Welcoming 195 students in the Class of 2023 (freshmen).

Q: How many teachers/staff do you have on hand – and do you plan to add any more prior to the start of school?

There are 77 faculty and staff members at Bishop England. We do not have plans to add any more staff members prior to the start of school.

Q: What are you most excited about for the new school year?

We are excited to start our school year in service to others.

Q: Can you give us a rundown of planned back to school activities?

Aug. 9 – New faculty/staff orientation

Aug. 12 – Diocese of Charleston Secondary Teachers’ in-service – all secondary schools in the Diocese of Charleston will gather at Bishop England to begin the year with a focus on academic excellence.

Aug. 13 – In-service for Bishop England faculty and staff

Aug. 14 – Orientation for freshmen and sophomores – 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Aug. 15 – In-service for Bishop England faculty and staff

Aug. 16 – Orientation for juniors and seniors – 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Aug. 19 – 1st day of school – Service Day for all faculty, staff, and students – Freshmen retreat

Aug. 20 – 1st full day of classes

Q: Best advice for students as they prepare for the first day?

Start the school year strong by taking the time to work on your education every day. Focus in the classroom and review what you learned in every class each night. Also, get involved in your school community. Have fun!

Daniel Island Publishing

225 Seven Farms Drive
Unit 108
Daniel Island, SC 29492 

Office Number: 843-856-1999
Fax Number: 843-856-8555

 

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