School district braces for transfer requests to new specialized programs

February 10, 2011 

Students who want to enroll in special instructional programs at public schools outside their attendance zone must turn in transfer applications to the Beaufort County School District by March 1.

This fall, nearly half of the district's schools will accept out-of-zone students to programs that cater to a range of interests. Among them are arts-infused, science-focused or International Baccalaureate curriculums.

"We have students with different learning styles and different talents in different areas," said Cynthia Hayes, the district's student services officer. "We have different options to meet their needs."

New programs this year include a Montessori option at Beaufort Elementary School and a military science academy at Battery Creek High School. The district's second Advanced Math, Engineering and Science Academy for gifted students will open at Pritchardville Elementary School.

Beaufort High School will stop accepting new transfer students this fall because the 1,600-student school is filled to capacity, Hayes said. Those already attending the school may apply to continue there, she said.

In the past, Beaufort High has accepted transfers to its Advanced Placement program, and Battery Creek High School accepted transfers to its International Baccalaureate Diploma Program. Both give high school students an opportunity to earn college credit.

The Board of Education, however, is considering a plan that would eliminate the IB program at Battery Creek over two years and replace it with a full slate of AP courses. It could vote on the plan as soon as Tuesday.

Whether new students can transfer to Battery Creek for the IB program will depend on the board's vote, Hayes said. Current IB students could continue in the program until it is discontinued, she said.

Hayes said the district received more than 1,500 transfer requests for this school year. More than 500 were for program choices, with the most popular being Beaufort Middle School's humanities program and Lady's Island Elementary School's arts-infused program.

Transfer options are available for a few other reasons, among them allowing students assigned to schools where their race is the majority to attend schools where their race is in the minority. The district also allows its employees to send their children to schools of their choice.

AN ARRAY OF CHOICES

Schools offering program choices for the 2011-12 year are:

Battery Creek High: Three new academies focus on military science; technology and engineering; and the arts and humanities. Whether it accepts new students to the International Baccalaureate program depends on the outcome of a school board vote.

Beaufort Elementary: Montessori program or the Advanced Math, Engineering and Science Academy. Students must meet academic criteria to qualify for the AMES Academy.

Beaufort Middle: Arts, Community and Humanities program.

Bluffton High: Advanced Placement scholars. Students must meet academic criteria to qualify.

Broad River Elementary: International Baccalaureate Primary Years program.

Hilton Head Island High: International Baccalaureate diploma program. Students must meet academic criteria to qualify.

Hilton Head Island IB Elementary: International Baccalaureate Primary Years program.

Hilton Head Island Middle: International Baccalaureate Middle Years program.

Hilton Head Island Elementary School for the Creative Arts: Arts-infused.

Lady's Island Elementary: Arts-infused.

Lady's Island Middle: STEM -- science, technology, engineering and math -- program.

Pritchardville Elementary: Advanced Math, Engineering and Science Academy. Students must meet academic criteria to qualify.

Robert Smalls Middle: International Baccalaureate Middle Years program.

St. Helena Elementary: STEM -- science, technology, engineering and math -- program.

Whale Branch High: Early college program that lets students earn credit through the Technical College of the Lowcountry. Students must meet academic criteria to qualify.

Whale Branch Middle: STEM -- science, technology, engineering and math -- program.

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