TIMMONSVILLE, SC (WBTW) – It’s been several months since the state Department of Education declared a state of emergency for two schools in Florence School District Four. Now with school about to start News 13 checked in to see how district officials are working to improve.
Interim superintendent for Florence Four Dr. Zona Jefferson has high hopes for her once troubled district.
“We want to make sure that we’re making steady progress,” Jefferson said.
Earlier this year–after months of warnings from the state Department of Education and years of mounting debt and slow growth–officials in Columbia declared a state of emergency for both Brockington Elementary and Johnson Middle Schools.
It was that declaration that brought Dr. Jefferson to Timmonsville, charged with turning things around and bringing a fresh start to Florence Four students. She says it’s a big job, but the people of Timmonsville are behind her.
“We’re trying to accelerate that as much as possible,” Jefferson explained. “Because we know that to get from where we are to where we need to be we’re gonna need to take that accelerated route to get to where we really want to be.”
The intervention marks only the second time the state’s education department has taken such action under South Carolina’s accountability laws in the last two decades.
A Department of Ed spokesman in Columbia told News 13 that although there are set dates and timetables in place to return control of the district to Timmonsville, it’s really a more fluid situation–and not one they’re willing to rush.
Jefferson said improvements need to start at home.
“We’re talking about families rallying around the education of their students,” Jefferson said.
As well as creating a school culture where failure is not an option.
“Where students are expected to do well,” said the interim superintendent. “Where students are given all the opportunities and removing as many of the obstacles as we can.”
Jefferson says in her eyes, the stage is set for things in Timmonsville to get better and better.
“I think we’re gonna be off to a great start,” she said.
Students return to the classrooms in Timmonsville on August 15.