Trio of new charter schools to serve Charleston students

Charleston Regional Business Journal
August 24, 2010

Three new public charter schools will be serving the tri-county beginning this fall.

Palmetto Scholars Academy opened its doors Wednesday at the Navy Yard at Noisette. The Apple Charter School also opened Wednesday on James Island. And Pattison’s Academy for Comprehensive Education, known by the acronym PACE, will celebrate its opening at 10 a.m. Tuesday at 2014 Bees Ferry Road. Supporters and local celebrities Beth and Darius Rucker will be at the opening ceremony.

The three Charleston-area openings are part of eight new charter school openings statewide. Public charter schools are independent, which frees them to create their own curriculum. They focus on specific needs or specific groups of students.

Palmetto Scholars Academy is geared toward helping gifted and talented students reach their full potential. It is the first public school to serve all three counties in the Lowcountry. Shelagh Gallagher, a gifted and talented curriculum expert, is developing the school’s curriculum, and Steve Driscoll is the principal.

The school has enrolled 216 sixth- through eighth-graders for the 2010-11 school year. It plans to add a grade each year until it enrolls sixth- through 12th-graders in 2014-15.

The Apple Charter School targets students who scored at the basic level or below on state tests. Patricia Williams will serve as executive director.

The school will implement single-gender classes in an effort to establish a high-quality, rigorous instructional environment that is rich with tangible, hands-on instructional materials and multimedia resources, according to its mission statement. This year, the school serves kindergartners through sixth-graders, and the plan is to eventually add seventh and eighth grades.

PACE seeks to improve the lives of children with multiple severe disabilities. The school will focus on the integration of education and rehabilitation to create an environment in which students are encouraged to be an active part of their education.

The school will serve 32 kindergartners through eighth-graders this year. Sloan Cooper will serve as executive director.

All three schools are members of the S.C. Association of Public Charter Schools. For more information, go online or call 800-691-7133.

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