Chesterfield County School District
The mission of the Chesterfield County School District is to prepare all students to be productive citizens in a changing society by continuously improving and implementing educational processes with ongoing community support. The District envisions an environment with high expectations and support structures that encourage all students to learn and apply this learning throughout life.
Chesterfield County operates a single school district, which consists of two primary schools, seven elementary/intermediate schools, three middle schools and four high schools. Total enrollment for 2009 is estimated at 7,888 students. Beyond the excellent, award-winning K-12 academic curricula, the District provides those “something for everyone” programs illustrated in more detail below.
Career and Technology Education – Middle School students choose from a variety of exploratory Career and Technology Education course offerings. In the eighth grade, all students must take and master competencies in a semester keyboarding class. In the ninth grade, students take Computer Technology I, a requirement for high school graduation. Career and Technology classes/programs are built upon the computer literacy skills acquired in keyboarding and Computer Technology I. The high school Career and Technology curriculum is designed around the career cluster concept. The clusters are: Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources/ Arts, Media and Communication/ Business, Marketing and Computer Technology/ Engineering and Industrial Technology/ Health and Human Services. It is recommended that all students enroll in classes that best reflect their career interest. It is also recommended that students who are not in the college prep pathway choose a career cluster and take a sequence of four courses in the cluster area. Students’ career interests are assessed, and they are advised accordingly by a School-to-Work Coordinator. STW coordinators provide assistance to ninth graders through High School 101 and assistance to seniors in the development of the Career Portfolio, and English IV requirement. Through the School-To-Work program, students are referred to the Job Development program and are exposed to a wide range of work-based learning experiences.
Chesterfield County was the first county in South Carolina to implement Mechatronics, a 3-year high school high-tech industrial curriculum. Components of the program include CAD/CAM, basic programming, hydraulics, pneumatics, electrical systems, automated materials handling, CNC and quality assurance.
Accelerated Programs – Early Childhood Assistance and Academic Acceleration provide extra educational experiences to compensate for factors contributing to risk of low achievement. Federal funding sources support school wide Title I projects, and special state funding sources support projects targeting early intervention and academic acceleration. Success is evaluated by school performance on the state testing program.
Exceptional Children – A broad range of services are offered to disabled students. The disabled program serves approximately 1,400 students in Special Education from ages 3 to 21. Programs are provided for students who are physically challenged, sensory impaired, speech, communication disorder, emotionally disabled and learning disabled. Preschool programs are provided for three and four year old children. The goal of the program is to serve students in the least restrictive setting possible.
Gifted and Talented – The ALPHA gifted and talented program currently serves academically and artistically gifted students in grades 3-12. These programs include pull-out resource classes for students in grades 3-8, a non-credit summer enrichment class for ninth graders, a summer program for art and music, and a college credit program which serves students in grades 10-12. Students can transfer credits from this program to most public and private post-secondary schools in the state.
Early Childhood – Comprehensive instructional programs for four and five-year old children who reside within the school district are available. The district provides developmentally appropriate foundation programs with emphasis given to the intellectual, physical, social and emotional development of the child. Over 600 children are involved in the district’s Child Development and Kindergarten classes.
Adult Education – Adult Education programs offer adults a second chance to achieve a better quality of life. Chesterfield County Adult Education programs include the high school diploma completion, the General Education Development tests preparation program, basic education, one-to-one tutoring, industry skill enhancement, and special interest classes. During the previous school year, the District’s Adult Education program served over 700 adults.
Attendance – South Carolina law requires students to attend school 170 out of 180 days. Chesterfield County School District employs a full-time attendance coordinator who, in addition to visiting in the homes of students, assists schools with a variety of attendance incentive programs. The results of these efforts have been significant. During the 1981-82 school year, average daily attendance was 89.2 percent. That percentage has risen significantly, and annual averages remain between 95.7 percent and 95.9 percent which are comparable to state figures.
The attendance coordinator also oversees a comprehensive drug prevention program which provides current information about the harmful effects of drug-abuse and appropriate ways of resisting their use to students at all grade levels, i.e., D.A.R.E. and SADD. Collaboration with the county alcohol/drug prevention agency provides schools with prevention and intervention services for students and their families.
21st Century Learning Programs
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Chesterfield County School District 21st Century Learning Centers serve 600 students in grades K-5 after school and during the summer. Designed to provide expanded learning opportunities in a safe, drug-free and supervised environment, the following schools serve as sites: Cheraw Primary, Cheraw Intermediate, Ruby Elementary, Edwards Elementary, Plainview Elementary, McBee Elementary, Petersburg Elementary and Jefferson Elementary. Expected outcomes of the program include: improved academic success, improved school attendance, reduced violence, enhance health, improved grades, lower failure rates, decreased alcohol and other drug abuse, and a greater number of high-risk youth meeting state academic standards. Contact Pat Hendrickson, 21st Century Project Director.