Terry & His Friends at BOWs

Terry, age 11, lives on a North Charleston street walking distance from our neighborhood learning center, Beyond Our Walls at BOWs Meeting Place. He is a student at Burns Elementary School, a school rated as one of the lowest academically in Charleston County School District and the nation.

Terry is smart and inquisitive, and excited when engaged in new learning experiences. Terry attended the STEM Fair this year with BOWs and was proud to wear the Nucor gear as he toured the exhibits that focused on math and science careers. Unfortunately, he is among thousands of South Carolina children that have potential to grow up to work at a company like Nucor but fall through the cracks of a school system that continually fails children, overwhelmingly children who live in similar socioeconomic neighborhoods where we are located.

Reading is one of the key indicators of whether a child will graduate from high school and attend college, giving them access to career choices. In Columbia, South Carolina legislators passed the Read to Succeed Act, which is slated to be implemented in the 2016-17 school year and will require all 3rd graders not reading on grade-level be retained and not permitted to enter the 4th grade. It is predicted that thousands of children in our area will be retained. This leaves many parents and community members concerned because if their children aren't on reading level by the 3rd grade, how will the schools ensure that they progress and are not retained multiple times, placing them far behind their same-age peers? In addition, how can parents measure their children's reading competency at home? Is retention discretionary and decided only by academic professionals/teachers?

Students like Terry who attend schools in low-income communities that are under-funded/ under-resourced may be held behind without focus on the resources and access to special assistance they need to develop their reading skills and progress through school. Already at a disadvantage, their ability to gain skills and continued education to work at places like Nucor will be further diminished. With modern technology and smart innovations in teaching children, how can we continue to fail children through our school systems?

Neighborhood discussions created hopeful excitement to address how all children could be served better by Charleston County Public Schools. Citizens attended several meetings during the week of March 7, 2016 where many from our entire community came together to DISCUSS a start to make changes to help reshape the academic outcomes for Charleston’s Children. Here are the Facts outlined at the meetings.

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Terry, his friends and other children in our neighborhood schools need your encouragement.

Please give them a “thumbs up” of encouragement. Let them know you are pulling for their education and success in the future. Share with your family and friends so the numbers will rise.

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Terry and other children in our neighborhood center will be watching your vote with a smile.