Darlington School District considers merging two elementary scho - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Cain Elementary School possibly change to K-5th grade

Darlington School District considers merging two elementary schools

Brunson-Dargan Elementary Brunson-Dargan Elementary
Cain Elementary School Cain Elementary School

DARLINGTON, SC (WMBF) - Darlington County School District is thinking about merging Brunson-Dargan Elementary to Cain Elementary. Brunson-Dargan Elementary house grades 3 through 5, while Cain Elementary is kindergarten through 2nd grade. If the school board and parents agree to merge the schools, all of the students will go to Cain Elementary for kindergarten through 5th grade.

The idea to merge the schools came about back in 2012 when the school board did a district-wide facilities study. Architects looked at school campuses across the district for opportunities to make improvements or changes. One recommendation on the list was to have a single location for an elementary school, instead of the two schools Darlington County has right now.

If the plan moves forward, the school district says all students would attend a newly renovated kindergarten through fifth grade school. Audrey Childers, the spokeswoman for the district says the fewer kids who have to change schools, the better they will perform in the classroom. “Each time you bring the children and they have to shift to a brand new facility, there’s new rules, new layouts, new teachers, facilities, new expectations, so there’s a lot of adjustment that has to happen," says Childers.

Rose Cromer lives near Cain, but takes her granddaughter to Brunson-Dargan every day. She says, “There’s a lot of people that live close to Cain, we have several housing developments near us and they all have to come over here to bring the kids to school, pick them up, get in the lines.”

Cromer says she is in favor of having one neighborhood elementary school, and thinks the kids will enjoy school more with the same friends. “This will be a big advantage because the children will be able to start school in one area and complete it all the way until they get to middle school and I think the kids will like that," said Cromer.

The district thinks the merge will benefit the teachers too. Childers says, “They know the children from first grade on, so they can work together to support the children all the way through fifth grade, and they can do really intensive vertical planning, for example all the science teachers K thru five can meet and work together to make sure to get the right message out.”

Darlington County School District wants parents to weigh in on the decision, so they are encouraging families to attend an open information meeting tomorrow night at 6 p.m. at Brunson-Dargan Elementary.

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