Myrtle Beach charter school nearly doubles enrollment for second year

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Coastal Leadership Academy will open its doors for its second year to nearly double the number of students that attended the charter last year.

Sixty more students have enrolled, and that's up from 100, last year.

On Friday, several students at CLA were finishing up a summer writing workshop.

"We are doing writing and learning how to fix grammar mistakes," said Paris Tullock, a ninth grade student.

The students are getting extra help they say they need in a non-traditional setting prior to the start of a new school year.

"Back at St. James, I couldn't really focus with just listening to a teacher because I'm more hands on and want to learn my way," said Breanna McDonnel, another ninth grade student.

McDonnel says she was failing at her old school, so this year, her parents enrolled her at the charter school to give project based learning a try.

The school has no textbooks. Chairs are on wheels in order to easily transform classrooms.

Learning is done through research, internships, case studies and discussions.

"The students are given a problem to solve and instead of reading a textbook, answering a problem and then taking a test, the students have to actually go in and think critically to solve the problem and come up with a solution," said Principal Melinda Tavernier.

Coastal Leadership Academy is a public high school, part of the South Carolina state charter school system. Its status gives administrators more freedom to teach as they see fit, but students are still required to meet state standards.

One thing CLA touts after only its first year, is a 100 percent pass rate on the end of course exams in algebra, biology, and american history.

"If you are teaching and teaching well, a good test score will be a byproduct," she said.

This year, the school is building an additional 3,000-square-feet to accommodate more storage space, a technology center and another classroom for its new students.

Tuesday, the school will host an orientation and there's about 10 spots left, if you think this type of learning will work best for your child.

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