Beaufort High School Drama Director LaRaine Fess and her troop of student actors are out to raise awareness of the issues of bullying and teen substance abuse. To bring these concerns to the forefront, they issued a challenge to their school and community at large called the “Lemonade Challenge.” Inspired by the recent “ALS Ice Bucket Challenge,” Ms. Fess and her students are “daring” everyone to take a bite from a lemon and “savor the sour,” because without the “sour” or the struggles in life, it would hard to appreciate the “sweet.” To kick off this effort, Beaufort community leaders were invited to Beaufort High to take the challenge to take a stand against bullying and teen substance abuse — and they rose admirable to that challenge! The motto for this effort is “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade,” a sentiment that can help everyone stand strong in the face of adversity.
Pictured from left: Beaufort Mayor Billy Keyserling, Bluffton Mayor Lisa Sulka, BHS Principal Corey Murphy, County Council Chairman Paul Sommerville, and Beaufort County School District Board Chairman Bill Evans take the Lemon Challenge.
Beaufort Academy fifth grade students traveled downtown to tour the historic Parish Church of St. Helena. The tour started in the graveyard where the students learned tales of Union and Confederate soldiers and of families with key roles in the history and development of Beaufort. They then travelled inside and learned about the history of the church, which was founded just one year after the founding of Beaufort 300 years ago. Finally, the students were treated to an organ concert by Matthew Brown of Salisbury, NC.
Despite the national trend of dipping SAT scores, Beaufort Academy students once again excelled, exceeding the national average by 295 points. All BA students take the nationally-administered Scholastic Assessment Test by the College Board, and the Class of 2014 scored a cumulative 1,792 on the three parts of the exam last spring. In comparison: BA: 1,792; U.S.: 1,497; SC: 1,429; BCSD: 1,424.
In addition to a high average for the BA Class of 2014, BA Class of 2014 alumna Rebecca Strawn scored a perfect 800 on the Critical Reading portion of the exam.
According to the College Board, the SAT is a key piece of the college admissions process, and while there is an increase in overall participation, overall performance has remained stagnant; not quite 43% of SAT takers in the class of 2014 met the SAT College and Career Readiness Benchmark score of 1550. Of BA graduates, 87% met or exceeded the benchmark score. The SAT Benchmark score of 1550 (Critical Reading, Mathematics and Writing score combined) indicates a 65% likelihood of achieving a B- average or higher during the first year of college, which in turn is indicative of a high likelihood of college success and completion.
“At Beaufort Academy our mission is to provide the knowledge and the skills for each student to reach his or her greatest potential as they prepare for college and for life. These test scores are reflective of the hard work of the entire BA community to realize this mission. While a score on a single test is not an indicator of overall preparedness for college, we can rest assured that our students can excel in college if they apply the skills that they have acquired during their time here. We are quite proud of our class of 2014 and are pleased that they continued the Beaufort Academy tradition of 100% college matriculation,” said Stephen Schools, BA Head of School.
Twenty-six Beaufort County public school teachers from 12 schools were surprised with news that they had won innovation grants from the Foundation for Educational Excellence, a fund of The Community Foundation of the Lowcountry.
The grants will fund more than $8,000 in classroom projects ranging from anatomy models to robotics equipment. Foundation officials visited teachers’ classrooms to deliver the news in person.
“The projects we’re funding this fall all have one thing in common,” said Jackie Rosswurm, the foundation’s chair. “They’re innovative and they are helping students learn from new perspectives, with new tools and in more creative ways.
“We’re privileged to recognize and reward teachers who approach their work in new and exciting ways. And the big winners, of course, are the students. They’re the ones who ultimately benefit from innovative and effective classroom projects.”
The Foundation for Educational Excellence is a nonprofit organization whose primary function is to raise funds to support activities and projects that spur classroom innovation. Its first grants were awarded in 2009, and since then grants totaling more than $60,000 have been awarded district-wide.
The fall awards were supported this year by a grant the foundation received from The Bargain Box. Funds are also raised from individuals, businesses and the foundation’s major fundraiser, “Jewels and Jeans.”
The 2014 fall cycle grant awards:
• Larry Leming, Alicia Brown, Mary Crosby (Beaufort Elementary, Science Exploration and Experimentation, Dr. Valerie Truesdale Innovative Teacher Grant Award)
• David Shervin (Beaufort High, Anatomy Models for 3-Dimensional Learning)
• Eve Weaver (Robert Smalls International Academy, Watch us Grow)
• Jill Brickley (Pritchardville Elementary, Wire Up a Critter Bot)
Technicians are completing the installation of solar panels at two schools that are each capable of generating 25,000 watts of electricity.
The new solar panels also will have an instructional component because students across the district can electronically access a computer system that monitors the energy that’s produced.
“One of our goals is to get students involved in actually evaluating these systems to see if it’s worth duplicating at other schools,” said Robert Oetting, the district’s facilities director.
A similar real-time monitoring system is in place for students to track the effects of a recently installed solar hot water heater at H.E. McCracken Middle School, Oetting said.
Bluffton High’s solar panels, in addition to their energy production, will be used to shade an outdoor patio used during the day by seniors at the school. Bluffton High students assisted in the design as part of an academic class on architecture and engineering.
Power generated by the new solar panels will be sold to South Carolina Electric and Gas for 8 cents per kilowatt hour, which the school district estimates will generate savings (at today’s rates) that will cover the cost of the panels in 15-20 years.
The $250,000 needed to purchase and install the panels was partially offset through the Solar Grant Program for Education Installations sponsored by Palmetto Clean Energy. The grant matched up to $50,000 each at both Bluffton High School and Whale Branch Early College High School. The rest of the funding comes from district funds approved by the Board of Education for energy efficiency projects.
The Beaufort County School District has achieved considerable savings by developing more efficient systems in school buildings. For example, schools’ energy use was reduced from 54 million kilowatt hours in 2006 to 39 million kilowatt hours in 2013 despite thousands of new students as well as the addition of more than a million square feet of building space. Occupancy sensors were installed in hallways and classrooms, and more efficient light fixtures and heating and air-conditioned systems were added.
Cutting-edge technology also reduced water usage from 58 million gallons in 2006 to 51 million gallons in 2013, again despite more students and more building space.
• The Battery Creek High School Athletics Department will celebrate Senior Parents’ Night and BC Alumni Night on Friday, October 17 at the football game vs. North Charleston. The senior parents of the cheer team and football team will be honored at halftime. Senior parents of these two teams will be admitted free of charge. BC alumni are also encouraged to attend and tailgate before the game. All BC Alumni are encouraged to contact Coach Drafts for special group discounts. The discounts will be for pre-sale tickets only and will not be available at the game. Coach Drafts contact info is: 843-322-5574 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
• Battery Creek students showed their Dolphin pride in a big way at the first quarter blood drive held by the Interact Club on September, 26. Over 37 donors contributed a total of 31 units for The Blood Alliance and exceeded our goal. These heroes’ donations will save nearly 100 lives in our Lowcountry community. The second quarter blood drive is scheduled for December 10.
• Friday, Oct. 10: Half day for all students, 11:30 a.m. dismissal.
• Monday, Oct. 13: No school in observance of Columbus Day.
• Wednesday, Oct. 15: The PSAT will be administered to all 8th, 10th and 11th grade students at BA beginning at 8 a.m. in the gym.
• Save the Date! Saturday, Oct. 18: The Golden Gala, an event celebrating BA’s 50th school with tales from BA past, present, and future as told by storytellers from the BA family. Speakers include duos Robert Trask and Ricky Akers, Sydney Meeks Fowler and Ginny Meeks Shuman, and Bill Dalton and Colin Crumpton. See the BA website for more information or to purchase tickets.
• Congratulations to Beaufort High’s April Brooks and students in her Financial Math classes, who took the W!SE Financial Literacy Certification assessment. Of the 67 students tested, 91% passed with an average score of 81%, qualifying BHS as a Blue Star School. The official recognition for this honor will be at the MoneyPOWER Conference in November in NYC. Only two schools in the state were honored for this accomplishment.
Beaufort High junior Mya Belden recently received scholarship funds from the American Association of French Teachers. She was selected based on her outstanding score in the National French Contest in March. She made the second highest score in the country and scored first in the state of South Carolina in her category. This year, Mya is serving as President of Beaufort High’s French Honor Society. She is pictured here receiving the scholarship check from Jennifer Woods, her International Studies “Head of School.”
125 Riverview students participated in the “Active Gamecocks Challenge” and were given an opportunity to track their after school physical activities for two weeks with a goal of an average of 30 minutes per day. Participating students earned tickets to a selected volleyball and men’s and women’s soccer game at USC in Columbia. Thanks to Coach Van Horn and Coach Strebe for organizing this awesome activity.
Average SAT scores of 2014 graduating seniors in the Beaufort County School District dropped slightly after a dramatic increase the previous year, the College Board reported this week. Scores improved on Advanced Placement (AP) exams that high school students take for college credit.
2014 SAT results
Average 2014 SAT scores for Beaufort County public school seniors decreased by seven points, from 1,431 in 2013 to 1,424 in 2014. Scores the previous year had increased by 48 points.
Average scores at four of the district’s five high schools decreased, while scores at one increased:
• Battery Creek High’s average was 1,280, down from 1,332 last year (57 percent tested).
• Beaufort High’s average was 1,403, down from 1,419 last year (63 percent tested).
• Bluffton High’s average was 1,437, down from 1,471 last year (73 percent tested).
• Hilton Head Island High’s 2014 average was 1,477, down from 1,548 last year (75 percent of seniors tested).
• Whale Branch Early College High’s average was 1,246, up from 1,169 last year (57 percent tested).
Statewide, South Carolina’s overall 2014 state public school average was up six points to 1,429. The national average was down four points to 1,471.
Looking at five-year trend data, Beaufort County public school students’ average SAT score is up 36 points, from 1,388 for 2009 seniors to 1,424 for 2014 seniors.
Superintendent Jeff Moss continued to stress preparation as the key to higher scores on college entrance exams.
“The SAT and ACT both let students know the courses that they need to complete prior to taking their exams,” Moss said. “Our guidance counselors make sure students know this because getting ready for college is all about preparation. If you take the right steps in high school, you’ll be ready to apply to college and succeed once you get there.”
2014 AP exam results
Nearly half of the Beaufort County students who took Advanced Placement courses last school year scored high enough to earn college credit, according to 2014 data from the College Board.
District officials said they were encouraged by increases in the numbers of district high school students taking AP courses. For the 2013-14 school year, 1,749 AP exams were taken compared to 1,712 the previous year and only 966 five years ago.
“It’s significant when more students decide to take more challenging college-level academic courses, and yet their scores continue to improve,” Moss said.
Testing experts say that average scores tend to decrease when more students take the tests, but that hasn’t occurred in Beaufort County over the past five years.
AP courses — and the accompanying College Board exams that demonstrate mastery of the course material — let students earn college credit while still in high school. Last school year, 49 percent of Beaufort County’s AP students scored 3 or better on the tests’ five-point scale, qualifying them for college credit. That was up from 47 percent in 2012-13 and an up from 44 percent five years ago.
Congratulations to the BA Swim Team on their performances last Saturday at the SCISA A-AA State Swim Meet. Overall, BA had one individual state champion and the teams finished 4th of 15 schools in the A-AA division.
Girls Team Highlights:
• Freshman Sarah Avera is the state champion in the 50 freestyle with a 26.30! This is a new BA school record.
Jane T. Upshaw, Ph.D., the chancellor of the University of South Carolina Beaufort, announced today she will retire after serving as USCB’s chief administrative officer for 15 years.
Dr. Upshaw sent an email to faculty and staff notifying them that she plans to retire on Aug. 15, 2015. She said it was her “distinct honor” to serve USCB for the past 31 years, beginning as an adjunct professor and concluding her career as its chancellor.
In 1999, Dr. Upshaw was appointed Dean of the University — the first woman to lead a campus of the eight institutions in the USC system. Her charge from the community was to grow the institution — to serve a historically impoverished population in a four-county region of the state that had no access to a public or private baccalaureate education. After a statewide campaign by Dr. Upshaw and several community leaders, the USC Board of Trustees and the South Carolina Commission for Higher Education voted to encourage USC Beaufort to pursue baccalaureate status in 2002.
With the institution’s change in role and mission now a publicly stated goal, Dr. Upshaw was promoted to Chancellor of USCB, reporting directly to the President of the University of South Carolina. She was the first woman to lead a senior, baccalaureate campus of the university system.
Under Dr. Upshaw’s leadership, the USCB strategic plan to gain baccalaureate status was approved by the Southern Association for Colleges and Schools. In 2004, the first baccalaureate graduates of the University of South Carolina Beaufort received degrees. In that same year, a new 200-acre campus opened at the gateway to Hilton Head Island.
Since then, USCB has tripled its academic degree programs, doubled its FTE enrollment, opened its first on-campus housing (now serving up to 680 students), joined the NAIA Sun Conference, and fielded conference and national award-winning Sand Shark athletic programs in nine sports. The university’s two campuses serve a diverse student body of more than 1,700 students. Dr. Upshaw played a pivotal role in adding such new academic majors as Computational Science and Nursing, both of which are supported by extensive, state-of-the-art laboratories.
Dr. Upshaw served as a guiding force for the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI), which today accounts for more than 1,500 members. In total, they participate in more than 1 million course hours annually, which places USCB’s OLLI program in the top 10 in the country.
“Jane Upshaw is a dynamic educator and leader. The size of her vision for USCB, the courage of her commitment to grow a small two year college into a regional comprehensive university and her 15 years of continuous leadership at USCB have yielded exceptional results. The realization of the dream of a full service baccalaureate university offering affordable access to students in the Lowcountry is her significant and enduring contribution to our state,” said Paula Harper Bethea, executive director of the SC Education Lottery and President of USC MyCarolina Alumni Association.
• The Battery Creek High School Athletics Department will celebrate Senior Parents’ Night and BC Alumni Night on Friday, October 17 at the football game vs. North Charleston. The senior parents of the cheer team and football team will be honored at halftime. Senior parents of these two teams will be admitted free of charge. BC alumni are also encouraged to attend and tailgate before the game. All BC Alumni are encouraged to contact Coach Drafts for special group discounts available that evening. The discounts will be for pre-sale tickets only and will not be available at the game. Coach Drafts contact info is: 843-322-5574 or email@example.com.
Congratulations to the Beaufort Academy Middle School Cross Country Team, they have won their last three meets. BA hosted its first home meet on October 1.
• Wednesday, Oct. 8: BA is hosting Fields of Faith, a national Fellowship of Christian Athletes event, for the entire Beaufort community. All are invited to attend from 6:45-8 p.m., middle schoolers, high schoolers, youth groups of all kinds! Please see www.beaufortacademy.org for more information or call us at 843-524-3393.
• Wednesday, Oct. 8: Blues Musician Scott Ainslie will visit BA to give a concert and afterschool workshops.
• The Beaufort High School Boys Basketball program will be hosting two skills clinics for boys in October for boys in grades 4-8. These clinics will be at the Beaufort High School gym from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday, October 4, and Saturday October 18. The cost of each clinic is $25 but there are discounts for registering siblings or for registering for both clinics. For more information, contact Coach Livesay at 843-322-2000, firstname.lastname@example.org
• Beaufort High will hold Spirit Night at Fat Patties on Tuesday, October 7, from 5:30 p.m. until close. A portion of the proceeds to benefit the Beaufort High School Theater Department.
Battery Creek’s Marissa Davis tried out to be elected as a FCA All-American Cheerleader this summer at the Fellowship of Christian Athletes’s Furman University Cheer Camp. She was successful and will now have the opportunity to perform in the Chic-fil-A parade and pre-game pep rally this New Year’s with other All-Americans from all over the South.
Kindergarten students in Ms. Newton’s class at Bridges Prep became scientists last week and used their five senses to conduct an experiment. They made hypotheses, or guesses, before conducting their experiment as to what they thought would happen. They worked in groups to see what they would find inside an owl pellet. They were shocked to see the many small animal bones there were in the pellets. They then determined if their hypotheses were correct and made a conclusion as to what an owl must eat if they found so many bones in their pellets.