Four SC School Districts Awarded Over $49 Million for School Choice

Columbia, S.C. - Four South Carolina school districts have received over $49 million in federal grant money as part of the U.S. Department of Education's Magnet Schools Assistance Program.

"South Carolina continues to strive to expand our school choice offerings for students and parents," said State Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman.

"This federal grant award is testament to our goal to expand choice programs for all students and will go a long way in ensuring that students have access to programs that will engage them and prepare them for the next step after graduation."

Florence County District Three, Richland County School District One, Richland School District Two, and School District Five of Lexington-Richland Counties are among the 32 recipients of the Magnet Schools Assistance Program (MSAP) grant. The awards provided by the U.S. Department of Education, total $91.7 million and are spread across 16 states. The school districts will receive funding for up to five years to implement programming that supports the development and implementation of magnet schools that increase racial integration and promote academic opportunity and excellence.

The awards in South Carolina total more than $49 million over the five year grant period. This is the highest number of school districts to receive the federal funding since the program inception.

Florence County District Three will receive $9.1 million for its “Project C3 Explores: Colleges, Cultures & Careers” initiative. Project C3 Explores will help transform Olanta Elementary and J.Paul Truluck Intermediate into creative arts and science magnet schools. The schools will offer students creative arts and science through themed, project-based, hands-on learning environments designed to foster a range of critical thinking and problem-solving skills while exposing them to an array of college and career choices.

Richland County School District One was awarded $14.9 million for its “Leadership Richland One” project. The money will help expand the Richland One Language Immersion Program at Carver-Lyon Elementary to include French and related arts, along with a global leadership component. Bradley Elementary and W.G. Sanders Middle School will use their money to focus on career exploration magnet programs. W.J. Keenan High School will develop a career preparation magnet, as well as four academies to help students prepare for jobs in the fields of hospitality/tourism, government, entrepreneurship and engineering.

Richland School District Two will receive $11.2 million for its “Med Pro 21: Healthcare for a Caring Community” project that will support the transformation of Bridge Creek Elementary School, Rice Creek Elementary School, Kelly Mill Middle School, and Ridge View High School into school-wide magnet schools. All the schools will incorporate a STEAM-M (STEAM-Medical) theme into their curriculum.

School District Five of Lexington-Richland Counties has been awarded $13.7 million for its “Discover 5” grant project. The money will fund an Arts Integrated magnet program at Nursery Road Elementary, Montessori program at H. E. Corley Elementary, and expansion of the LEAP program at Leaphart Elementary, which will allow the school to expand from STEM to STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math). It will also fund a new career initiative magnet program partnering Irmo High School and the Center for Advanced Technical Studies.

The awards will help school districts bring diverse groups of students together through the use of innovative educational programs and will create more school choices for parents. The goal of the MSAP grant is to develop specialized magnet programs that will attract students from different socio-economic, ethnic, and racial backgrounds.