HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - On Tuesday, educators, parents and community leaders gathered in Columbia to talk about the possibilities of new charter schools coming to you. Charter schools in Horry County helped ease some overcrowding issues a few years ago.
Charter schools like Bridgewater Academy have a student teacher ratio of 19 to 1. For some parents, that's hard to pass up. Unlike Horry County Schools, charter schools have the ability to be flexible with curriculum. Teachers at Bridgewater Academy said that allows them to move at the pace of the class.
The schools still follow the same base guidelines as public schools. Charter schools serve a little less than 1,000 kids in Horry County, and about 32,000 students across the state. Just this year, Bridgewater Academy increased enrollment in response to parent requests.
Bridgewater's principal Steve Wilson says teachers have brought in an arts focus in teaching. "The smaller classroom size, as I said before, we have a 19 to 1 student teacher ratio. Which gives the teacher on a daily basis a huge opportunity to reach small groups of students as well as perfect individual instructions," Principal Wilson said.
The meeting Tuesday was to discuss how to meet the needs of each student as well as the a discussion on applications for new charter schools in South Carolina. There's 72 schools across the state and five are in Horry County.
Last year, the South Carolina Department of Education was awarded a $30 million grant to build more charter schools in the next five years. The meeting helped decide where those schools will go, and Horry County plans to be home to at least one.
Bridgewater Academy principal Steve Wilson said he thinks our community could use another charter school. "Not every student learns the same way. One size does not fit all. So you have to be able to reach students in some way so that they can achieve what needs to be achieved academically, socially and vocationally..."
The proposed new charter school will have a focus on farming and organic living. Letters of intent are due November 3 and applications for a new charter school are due February 1.