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Published on February 14th, 2019 | by Millennium Magazine Staff


School District Five awarded grant focused on improving 4-year-old kindergarten quality

IRMO – School District Five was awarded $106,889 as part of the South Carolina Community Block Grant for Education Pilot Program.  The money was given to school districts focused on improving four-year-old kindergarten quality. Grant money was awarded to seven initiatives throughout the state, with eighteen participating districts and additional community partners, including local Head Start and First Steps partnerships. 

The goal of the project is to promote social-emotional readiness of 4K students from high-need environments, by equipping teachers and families with strategies and practices to improve social-emotional competencies.

Grant funds will be used to support 4K professional development and coaching in 12 classrooms at the following schools:

  • Dutch Fork Elementary School Academy of Environmental Sciences
  • Harbison West Elementary School
  • Leaphart Elementary School STEAM Magnet
  • Nursery Road Elementary School Arts Magnet
  • Seven Oaks Elementary School MEDIA Magnet

“The Community Block Grant has deepened our partnership with the University of South Carolina in our Professional Development School-District (PDS-D),” said School District Five Director of Elementary Education Tina McCaskill.  “It will allow us to build on the professional development that has been ongoing with Dr. Kate Ascetta and measure the results of our teachers’ hard work.  Our students will learn self-control and become better overall students with the development of the strategies that are utilized within the Pyramid Model.”

This one-year block grant program is a matching grants initiative designed to encourage sustainable partnerships among South Carolina school districts and community groups. The General Assembly and Governor approved the grant in the state budget to improve children’s readiness for kindergarten by enhancing the quality of state-funded full day 4K programs and instruction. Over the past four years, applicants have requested $9.3 million in funding with almost $4 million awarded from fiscal year 2015-16 through fiscal year 2018-19.

“The demand is evident in the $9.3 million districts have requested over the past four years. The outcomes show significant, replicable improvements in children learning,” said Christopher Leventis Cox, chair of the grants committee that decided final grant awards. “We are grateful the General Assembly has allocated funding. It’s critical we continue to encourage innovation with quantifiable outcomes that can impact young children’s learning while supporting educators and kindergarten readiness.”

The grants committee is an independent group of educators and business leaders who review and make final award decisions. Per a provision in the state budget, the Executive Director of the Education Oversight Committee is charged with reviewing and reporting on the results of the funded programs.  Upon the completion of an evaluation, the Education Oversight Committee will disseminate a report with project outcomes, lessons learned and best practices

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