South Carolina is known for its natural beauty and rich culture. Unfortunately, the state is also known for something else: one of the lowest rural high school graduation rates in the country. A John Hopkins University study found that South Carolina had more rural schools on its list of “dropout factories” than any other state in the nation.
Many of our partner schools are located in rural communities in the Pee Dee and Orangeburg along Interstate 95, where corps members are uniquely positioned to provide our students with the opportunities they deserve. We also place teachers in some of the highest-need schools in the Lowcountry including partnering with school districts in Charleston, Colleton, and Berkeley Counties. Students growing up in low-income communities do not often have the chance to fulfill their potential. Teach For America corps members work collaboratively with students, parents, and community members to provide an avenue for academic achievement.
The opportunities for education reform in the state are tremendous, and our corps members are stepping into the region at an especially exciting time of growth and expansion. Teach For America came to South Carolina in 2011 with 30 charter corps members and 60 alumni working in the state in education and other sectors. Since our inception, we’ve grown to nearly 200 corps members. The districts in our state are enthusiastic for improvements in education and we expect to see the size of our corps and the amount of students we are impacting continue to grow in the coming years. We also seek to grow our network of partner organizations throughout the state so that we will see the day when, regardless of background, all of South Carolina’s students have the opportunity to excel.