PICKENS COUNTY — Longtime educator and Pickens County resident Betty Roe is the driving force behind a middle school program that would be attached to a proposed dual credit charter school.
Roe, with 36 years of experience in middle school education, is the chair for the planning committee responsible for helping spearhead the gathering of those interested in Clearview Collegiate Academy opening in Pickens County.
She is clearly excited about the prospect of a new approach to middle school education.
Roe’s vision is to partner with local businesses and entrepreneurs from all walks of the economic world to work hand in hand with middle schoolers, not once, but throughout the school year to check on the students’ progress.
“One thing I have learned throughout my years of teaching and being involved in education is if students don’t see how a theory, or application such as those in math and science, are applied they don’t see the value of what they have learned and often forget it,” Roe said. “This model will be successful because it is a project based interaction with business where the students take what they have learned and see it applied to everyday situations, especially in business, where they will one day head off to. This not only helps the students retain more knowledge and prepares them for college, it shows that all facets of their education matter.”
The plan is to admit 400 middle school students as part of the charter school, introduce them to leaders and business owners, and let the two groups progress. The projects the students and their mentors take on will be long range and require commitment from both students and mentors alike.
“This is a one of a kind middle school with its project based curriculum, there isn’t another one like it, and that’s a great opportunity for any student in South Carolina,” Roe said. “And when they progress to high school, they will be better prepared for the collegiate training and classes they will receive, which will be at no cost to the parents for the college classes or the textbooks.”
So how did this idea come to be for Roe?
“In 2012 the idea of a charter school kept playing through my mind, especially when it comes to the partnership with business,” Roe explained. “We aren’t here to say we can or will do better than the local school district and the people I work with don’t feel that way. We will be offering a product that is different through partnering with groups in the community. Imagine the progress a student can make over a year’s time under this model, which is nothing more than empowering students and parents.”
Meetings will be held to gauge the interest in the charter school and to collect numbers for the application to the state. The next informational meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. April 7 at Smithfield Country Club. Contact Roe at 864-630-0447 or Traci Bryant-Riches at 803-665-2011 for more information.
Reach D. C. Moody at 864-855-0355.