The College of Education recently visited select educational and historical destinations across South Carolina on its fourth Listen and Learn tour.
The group was comprised of College leadership, faculty and staff. According to George J. Petersen, founding dean of the College of Education, the tours are designed so that participants learn of the successes and innovative approaches undertaken by urban and rural schools in the state so that they can better understand the challenges facing education in the state.
“There is no better way for our faculty and staff to serve our students – and by extension, the state – than to go to administrators, teachers and students across the state to learn directly from them,” Petersen said. “After each trip, I’m in awe of what I’ve learned about South Carolina, and I know that feeling is shared by everyone who goes on these trips.”
The first day of the trip included a trip to Wade Hampton High School, where the group was hosted by Hampton County School District Superintendent Ronald Wilcox and other district leaders. They discussed the district’s approach to online teaching and teacher retention and recruitment.
Day two saw the group diving into South Carolina history at the Penn Center on St. Helena Island in Beaufort. This historic cultural site was the first school in the South for formerly enslaved West Africans. After decades serving as a school and hub for efforts in the nation’s civil rights movement, it now serves as a museum for artifacts from Gullah Geechee culture and history.
The group then visited Bells Elementary School in Colleton County School District to hear from the district’s superintendent, Dr. Vallerie C. Cave, and the school’s leadership, teachers and students. The teachers shared what they would like to see in the College’s teacher preparation programs, as well as their challenges and successes in teaching.
The group then wrapped up the trip with a visit to Columbia. Matthew Ferguson, executive director of the South Carolina Education Oversight Committee (EOC), welcomed the group to the Edgar Brown Building to discuss current issues facing education in South Carolina.
Ferguson also discussed the possible options in front of the EOC, which provides ongoing review of the state’s education improvement process, assesses how schools are doing and evaluates the standards our schools must meet. The group then sat in on an EOC session to see this process in action.
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