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ALL4SC Already Making a Difference

A Note from Barnett Berry,
ALL4SC's Director


 

Back in the summer of 2019, ALL4SC was awarded a five-year grant as one of the then-UofSC President Pastides’ Excellence Initiatives. We had no idea our initial transformation vision for whole child/whole community education in South Carolina would play out as it has.

We had just gotten our initial strategic plan in place and first team members on board in late 2019 when every aspect of education in South Carolina had to make a complete and immediate pivot last March.

This short summary of ALL4SC’s progress to date illustrates how we have taken our initial vision and adapted - very quickly - to today’s needs and goals. 

The pandemic changed everything in our educators’ and students’ lives. Our ideas for education transformation suddenly had to incorporate all the challenges of hybrid, face-to-face and virtual instruction. These challenges brought to light that now, more than ever, we must advocate for the whole child - not just in the classroom, but also in the home and in the community. And focusing attention on our students’ - and teachers’ - social emotional learning is more critical than ever.

Our transformative model for whole child education turns out to be the perfect fit for today’s pandemic times. The pandemic has given us opportunities to pilot several SEL projects in Fairfield, Berkeley and Marlboro Counties. These are school districts with visionary superintendents and educators who are willing to try new approaches. 

ALL4SC is making progress to transform education in our state. It’s not a rapid process at times and has many moving parts. But a year from now, I feel certain we will be able to say that good came out of this pandemic.

Make sure you’re following ALL4SC on Facebook and Twitter to keep up with the ongoing work in these pilot school districts. Also share this newsletter with your colleagues who are passionate about education transformation in our state. They can subscribe here.

Barnett Berry, Research Professor and Founding Director, ALL4SC 

Fledgling Journalist Thrives at
Fairfield Central High School

 

Demaia and her journalism class teacher, Ms. Chisholm, take a look at a recent issue of the Fairfield Post
 

ALL4SC is working with students at Fairfield Central High School to help give them tools to amplify their voices around issues important to them. This is part of ALL4SC’s partnership with the Fairfield County School District to transform how South Carolina children learn by marshaling resources across UofSC and beyond to support all aspects of a student’s development - in the classroom, at home and in the community. 

One of several ways this is happening in the Fairfield County School District  is through the school’s journalism class. ALL4SC’s team is working closely with this class that publishes a weekly print and online community newspaper, The Fairfield Post. This is the only student-run community newspaper in the state.

Demaia Stinson is one of the student writers whose recent article spotlights her experience as a new student at Fairfield Central and explains why she is so enthusiastic about the school. Demaia discusses the importance of diversity in the classroom and how her experience at Fairfield Central High School has given her confidence. She emphasizes the importance of being able to work with other people from different backgrounds in the workforce. 

As a Black female, Demaia walked into the diverse classrooms of Fairfield Central High School and quickly felt more comfortable in both social and educational aspects of her life. This “‘good’ culture shock,” as she calls it in her article, gave Demaia confidence to begin asking her teachers for help. This led to improvement in her grades and a newfound excitement for learning. 

Feeling unmotivated enough to drop out at her old school, Demaia describes how her whole outlook on education has changed in a positive way after transferring to Fairfield Central High School.

Read the full article.

High School Students Help Plot Change for Fairfield County

ALL4SC added to its work at Fairfield Central High School in February with the kick-off of a new initiative to give students the chance to explore their own community’s assets and develop solutions to the challenges they identify. This asset mapping project, grounded in ALL4SC’s vision for drawing on resources and people from the community, not only places students at the center of the work, but it also charges them with finding solutions to challenges identified. 

The project looks to capitalize on the goals outlined during ALL4SC’s previous community and educator listening sessions in Fairfield County by conducting an asset mapping of the Fairfield County community to better understand its resources. In collaboration with Student Voice, a national youth-led organization whose expertise focuses on empowering youth to engage in civic action, students at Fairfield Central High School are engaging in a semester-long project which includes three major phases. 

The first phase involves a series of round table discussions, workshops, and experiences to provide students with the tools and knowledge to investigate their community through various equity and opportunity lenses. The second phase includes students conducting an asset mapping analysis of the community. This takes students past identifying an issue and begins the process of creating a solution. 

The last phase includes students creating a detailed action plan and presenting their findings to local leaders. Publicizing the students’ work is essential to showing authentic student growth and, more importantly, how youth are capable of encouraging community improvement.

This project lays the foundation for a long-term sustainable youth empowerment and leadership model that can be replicated around the state. To learn more about this work, contact Luke Harris.

ALL4SC Shares Resources on
Social Media

 
     

One of the ways that ALL4SC is partnering with other organizations that have similar goals is through social media. By sharing each others’ successes, insights, ideas and stories, ALL4SC and its partner organizations expand their reach and amplify their voices within the wider education community. 

With hundreds of friends and followers already, ALL4SC is currently using Facebook and Twitter to share resources, stories and ideas. 

By partnering with the UofSC’s Social Media Insights Lab in the College of Information and Communications, ALL4SC is able to get weekly deep dive insights into its social media reach and engagement. 

Follow ALL4SC on Facebook and Twitter to stay abreast of the latest trends in whole child/whole community schools; track the progress of the pilot projects already underway in Fairfield, Marlboro and Berkeley counties; and get to know the ALL4SC team.

In the News

  • March 26 is SEL Day. Find out what what local educators can do to bring attention to the importance of social emotional learning in SC.
  • Get five helpful tips for educators to tackle social emotional learning in this article.
  • This article from the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning is an illustration of why the idea of whole child/whole community education is needed now more than ever.
  • The State newspaper’s article about the SC Department of Education’s report on learning loss during the pandemic directly reinforces ALL4SC’s work to transform education in SC by focusing on the whole child/whole community rather than solely academic achievement.
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