Just less than half the teaching staff at Shell Point Elementary School will be headed to Broad River Elementary next fall, despite the impression some staff members had that the schools would be merged.
A handful of teachers also are headed to Joseph S. Shanklin Elementary and Robert Smalls Middle schools after Shell Point Elementary closes at the end of the school year.
Jackie Rosswurm, the district's head of human resources, said the goal has been for staff to follow the students to their next school. Shell Point Elementary students will be attending Broad River and Shanklin next year, and fifth-graders are moving to Robert Smalls.
The Beaufort County Board of Education voted in August to close Shell Point Elementary at the end of the school year. Riverview Charter School will lease the building from the district for two years. The district received word this week that the federal Office for Civil Rights approved the lease.
Rosswurm said 14 of the 33 certified staff -- a category that includes teachers, guidance counselors and media-center specialists -- will move to Broad River Elementary.
Adea Humphries, a nurse at Shell Point Elementary, said based on staff meetings and her conversations with staff members, eight teachers and two literacy coaches are moving to Broad River. Four teaching assistants -- positions that don't require certification -- are moving too.
Humphries said a series of meetings of the two schools' staff and meetings with parent groups from both schools caused people to believe the schools would be "fused."
"Instead of the schools fusing, they just filled in holes," she said.
Rosswurm said eight more teachers have also been placed already.At least one is moving to Shanklin. It wasn't clear how many are moving to Robert Smalls Middle. Some live in southern Beaufort County and are being assigned to schools there. Two teachers have either retired or resigned, Rosswurm said.
Shell Point principal Mary Ellen Parkswill become the district's director of academic assistance, which Rosswurm said focuses on students in kindergarten through second grade.
Rosswurm said the district also is working to place the school's office staff. There are 12 classified employees, which includes office staff and teacher assistants.
The eight teachers and two classified staff that don't have yet have placements are placed on a priority list, Rosswurm said. Principals will use those lists, which may also include teachers from schools other than Shell Point Elementary, to fill vacancies before selecting job candidates from outside the district.
Rosswurm said her department has been working closely with the staff at Shell Point Elementary all year to ensure they are placed at other schools.
Although they knew it was coming, Humphries said the break up of staff she calls close-knit has been disappointing.
"We're trying to stay upbeat about it," she said. "The whole staff is like a family."