Darlington County School District offers parents choices

DARLINGTON COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - In an effort to give parents more flexibility and control in the educational process, Darlington County School District is offering district-wide Expanded School Choice for the 2014-2015 school year.

Any student in Darlington County may apply for the Expanded Choice program, regardless of whether that student is currently enrolled in a public school, a private school, or a home school.

Beginning January 16 and running through Thursday, February 13, parents can submit Expanded School Choice applications to the district. Applications are available at all schools, through the district's Office of Curriculum & Instruction and on the district website at www.darlington.k12.sc.us.

Under the Expanded School Choice program, students who reside in Darlington County may request to attend almost any public school in the county for Math, Science and Technology. In May, parents will be notified if the transfer was accepted. Parents have approximately one month to confirm their decision for their child to attend the choice school. The Expanded School Choice program is independent of the Title 1 Choice program designed by the "Elementary and Secondary Education Act".

Under the Expanded Choice program:

• Choice selections will be based on space availability at the selected school.

• If there are more applicants than the space allows, the applicants' names will be drawn in a random selection process

• The Darlington County School District will not provide transportation for the Expanded Choice program. Parents and guardians are responsible for providing transportation.

• Child development (4K) programs are not included in the district's Expanded Choice program.

• Athletic eligibility for students who transfer under Expanded Choice will be governed by the South Carolina High School League Constitution - Article VII - Student Eligibility Rules - www.schsl.org. For more information, please contact your local Athletic Director, Principal, or Dr. Willie E. Boyd, Sr. at (843) 398-2269.

• Students enrolled in special education programs that are offered at all schools may opt to transfer to another school, if space is available in the program. Students enrolled in special education programs that are offered at specific sites will continue to attend those sites.

• Once a child is selected to participate, Expanded Choice will remain in effect until the student moves to the next school level (primary to elementary, elementary to middle, middle to senior high).

• If a child moves into the county after the request period ends, the child must attend the school to which he/she is zoned. A parent can apply during the next choice cycle.

• It is not necessary for parents to complete an application for their child to attend the school for which they are already zoned and attending.

• The only school exempted from the Expanded Choice program is Mayo High School. . Mayo High School already offers choice as part of its magnet program and is, therefore, not included in the Expanded School Choice program.

• Darlington County schools with magnet programs (Brockington, Thornwell, Hartsville Middle, Darlington Middle, Hartsville High, and Darlington High) offer Expanded Choice as an option into the non-magnet program of the school. If a student would like to attend the magnet program at a school, he/she must apply during the magnet application period.

For complete guidelines or more information, contact Darlington County School District's Office of Arts and Innovative Programs at 843/398-2224.

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