First Stop to Success

A PEEK AT ONE OF AIKEN COUNTY’S SMARTEST CROWN JEWELS

One of the building blocks of any good community is outstanding public education, and Aiken County is no exception.

“We have a community that truly values education,” says Rosie Berry, assistant superintendent of Aiken County School District’s area two. “With that support in place, we can focus on preparing students for the future.”

Starting in kindergarten, students are challenged to soar in mathematics, reading, science, history, drama, art, music and more. High school students are offered advanced placement (AP) courses.

Additionally, many seniors at Aiken County high schools dual enroll at Aiken Technical College or the University of South Carolina Aiken to earn college credit before they begin their undergraduate years.

Adult education opportunities through the public school district for students who may not have graduated from high school helps make their academic dreams a reality. To supplement these educational endeavors, the district works with Public Education Partners, a nonprofit organization that collaborates with local businesses to identify and fund district needs.

“It’s impossible to separate economic development and quality education,” says Diane Mangiante, executive director of Public Education Partners. “We stand between businesses and schools to improve both.” Recent projects undertaken by the group include the creation of a string orchestra with three middle schools, Aiken High and the synergistic laboratory at North Augusta Middle School.

Overseeing these developments are a dedicated board of directors and Superintendent Beth Everitt, Ph.D.

“You can walk into every school in the district and find great teachers,” says Everitt, who has nearly 30 years experience in education. “However, we can always improve, and we want the very best for each and every student.”

Administrators look at both the teachers who are leaders within their own system, as well as methods in other school districts that could be applied to the success of Aiken County students. Also, there is a program where the district’s strongest teachers share methodology with their coworkers. All of this works toward the overarching goal to have every teacher perform as well as the best teacher in the system.

With students scoring at or above state and national benchmarks, the desire to continually improve will help the district and all of its students stay ahead of the education pack for years to come.

Published in Greater North Augusta: South Carolina.