Superintendent gives updates on new Darlington schools, programs

West Hartsville Elementary

HARTSVILLE, SC (WBTW) – On Friday, education leaders in Darlington gave an update on progress with the penny sales tax and what new programs Darlington County Schools have to help students progress after high school.

County taxpayers approved a $60 million bond last November and now six older schools like West Hartsville Elementary are planned to be replaced by three new schools.

“We’ll have three facilities instead of six. We are in the process of architect selection,” said Dr. Eddie Ingram, Darlington County Schools Superintendent.

Superintendent Dr. Eddie Ingram says the Board of Education Committee and construction manager have narrowed the search for an architect down to four. The final candidates will be interviewed next Friday.

“We have to be cognitive of the fact that it’s taxpayer dollars. We want to be good stewards of it. So, the building has to be flexible and durable enough to last 50 years,” said Dr. Ingram.

The board hopes to design three state-of-the-art elementary schools.

“In the Elementary schools, the thought is designing schools with flexible spacing. So that we can expand rooms to be large or small. So kids can work together to solve complex problems,” said Dr. Ingram.

Dr. Ingram says the project should take about three years. Until the new schools are built, the school district is focused on different teaching styles to account for the different learning styles of their students.

“We always want to adjust our delivery styles because there is no —one set way that everybody learns,” said Dr. Ingram. “In some cases, kids sit in rows and they listen to lectures but that’s not how we learn best. We know that we learn best by engaging talking with each other, working together, making projects, doing things that are rigorous but relevant to the life’s that they are leading.”

The district’s newest apprenticeship program allows high school students to work a part time job to receive hands on learning and school credit.

“[Students  are] learning about the job. While doing it. Under the tutelage of someone who’s licensed to do that. It helps the student gain insight into that they learn in class in a practical way on the job,” said Dr. Ingram.

The district has partnered with four businesses and more than ten students are already enrolled in the program.

“These could turn in to full time jobs for them or it is something they can add to their resume as they find out and discover what they want to do in life,” said Dr. Ingram.

The board is currently reviewing site selections for the new schools. Dr. Ingram says public hearings will be held so parents are included.