School district unveils new dropout prevention program


Simpson scheduled to close

as part of plan

COUNTY — Beginning in the 2013-2014 school year, the School District of Pickens County will begin C3, a new dropout prevention program for 8th-12th grade students.

The goal of C3 is to offer a safe, engaging learning environment to students who need an instructional approach that is different from traditional high school programs.

According to officials, it is a great place for students in middle and high school who feel that they can benefit from a smaller learning environment that offers hands-on learning activities that are connected to real-world applications.

As part of the transition to the C3 program, the J.T. Simpson Alternative Center will close.

“In order to ensure that we prepare all graduates to be college, career and citizenship ready, we felt that we needed to provide a program that offered a rigorous curriculum while providing students with hands-on opportunities,” said Dr. Kelly Pew, district superintendent. “Students will have these opportunities through STEM activities, apprenticeships, and integrated courses. We know that our community needs employees who have skilled workers. We believe that C3 will enable us to prepare more students for employment opportunities in our community.”

C3 will be located at the Pickens County Career and Technology Center, in Liberty. However, students will have access to extracurricular activities at their home schools.

“Our vision is to have C3 teachers and CTC instructors collaborate on lesson planning,” said Ken Hitchcock, who will take over as director of the Career and Technology Center in the 2013-2014 school year. “We hope the faculty will take full advantage of the resources available at the PCCTC to make learning relevant to the world of work.”

The program is aimed at keeping students in school and promoting graduation among all students. One of the key practices of C3 is to allow students to begin earning high school course credits earlier to increase graduation rates.

“The C3 program will allow us to offer a specialized sequence of high school courses to students as they enter eighth and ninth grades. This plan will open opportunities for them as they become upperclassmen,” said Sharon Huff, assistant superintendent of Instructional Services. “It will allow these students to choose from courses at the Pickens County Career and Technology Center or Tri-County Technical College. They will be able to earn their high school diploma while working on additional workready credentials.”

The disciplinary approach at C3 is unique. It will focus on helping students develop the character skills that are necessary for success in any career field. Students will learn the qualities that employers value in their businesses.

Students at C3 will be held to the same behavioral standards as students at each of the district’s high and middle schools.