TIMMONSVILLE, SC (WMBF) - Florence School District Four is starting off the new school year with change.
All three Timmonsville schools are under new leadership after the state declared them in a state of emergency last school year.
State Superintendent Molly Spearman visited the schools last week to encourage them to make a positive difference in the student's lives to help them succeed academically.
The school district's board appointed Zona Jefferson, a retired superintendent, to serve as interim superintendent for Florence School District Four.
"We're looking forward, we're looking at opportunities," Jefferson said. "How do we move our children from where they are to where we want them to be?"
The 650 students at Brockington Elementary, Johnson Middle and Timmonsville High schools are all facing new leadership.
The three schools have new principals and staff changes are in place for school year as well. Jefferson said her goal is to make sure each child has an enriched learning experience.
Kamil Cooper, the director of bands for both the middle and high schools, said there is a "big, strong vision" behind what they are doing. Staff, he added, is also trying to do extra.
Cooper said he can feel a noticeable difference from last year and believes he can change the lives of students through music. He added there is a 12 percent population of band students in the full orchestrated band, marching band and the dancing squad. Hopes are to start a jazz band this Spring.
"You get a chance to express yourself artistically as well as develop new friendships and a bond with people that may be different from you," Cooper said.
Extra curricular activities are part of the three main goals the district has, with the two others being strong academic programs and community service projects.
"My role is to push them musically to where they need to be, and I'm just that one small step of what the overall school district is trying to do," Cooper said.
Heath Stokes, the resource teacher at Brockington Elementary, has taught kids with special needs the past 11 years. He said he has seen every stage the district has faced over.
"We had different leaders who had different ideas about what we should do and hopefully we are on the right track," Stokes said. "I do believe we are on the right track of implementing great changes for our school and community."