Family, Friends and Educators Celebrate Biggest-Ever Class of Grads at Flexible South Carolina Charter High School
“This School Changed Us,” Declares Grad and Aspiring Doctor
“With teachers that motivated us when we had our down days, with an environment that helped us all to feel comfortable and confident — this school changed us.”— Graduate Natalie Allen
NORTH CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA, UNITED STATES, January 7, 2023/ EINPresswire.com / -- As schools across South Carolina and the nation struggle with helping students regain lost ground due to the Covid-19 pandemic, an innovative public charter high school celebrated its largest-ever class of graduates on Friday.
“That’s my boy!” his mother called out as new grad Derrell Felder crossed the stage. His grandmother joyfully added, “That’s my grandson!”
“Many of our students didn’t find traditional high schools to be a good fit for a variety of reasons. Some wanted to move at a quicker pace, others needed more one-on-one attention or a flexible option that would leave them time for work and family obligations. But they have hit the ground running here — and it’s so exciting to see them achieve their goal of a high school diploma, ” said Dr. Jacinta Bryant, South Carolina Director for Acceleration Academies.
Lowcountry Director Amber Speights added, “We have seen exponential growth since the academy opened in the fall term of 2021. We are thrilled to help our young learners make their dreams a reality.”
One of the new grads is Natalie Allen, an 18-year-old who had felt overwhelmed in the crowded classrooms of a traditional high school but found the calm, studious atmosphere and one-on-one coaching provided at Lowcountry Acceleration Academy to be just what she needed. On Friday, she graduated a semester ahead of schedule and will soon embark on the college studies she hopes will lead her to the Medical University of South Carolina and a career as a neurologist specializing in the treatment of premature babies.
“We all have the power to change the world, and I don’t mean that in a cringy way,” Natalie said in an address to her classmates and the family, friends and educators who had gathered to celebrate them. “I don’t mean we will all become presidents or astronauts. I mean that although we are all the main characters of our own story, that doesn’t mean we don’t have the power to make an impact in someone else’s story.”
“This leads me to acknowledge the school that guided us to this point today,” she continued. “Lowcountry Acceleration Academy has helped us all grow as people: With teachers that motivated us when we had our down days, with an environment that helped us all to feel comfortable and confident. This school changed us.”
Research has shown that student progress suffered when the Covid pandemic closed school buildings and forced an abrupt shift to full- or part-time remote learning beginning in 2020. According to the federal Department of Education, those losses were particularly steep for students of color, LGBTQ students and those from economically disadvantaged communities — all groups that Lowcountry Acceleration Academy serves with a personalized approach rather than a one-size-fits-all curriculum.
The academy is located at 5935 Rivers Ave. in North Charleston and accepts new students on an ongoing basis who are looking for a non-traditional high school program rather than settling for a GED. Students are able to do coursework at an individualized pace, taking advantage of intensive one-on-one coaching in person at the academy and via Zoom and phone tutoring sessions. Like all public schools, Lowcountry Acceleration Academy provides a high school education at no cost to students and their families.
About Acceleration Academies
Acceleration Academies operates academies at 17 locations across the United States, including a new academy scheduled to open in Horry County for the 2023-24 school year. Education Week recently featured the network in a special report on re-engaging students after the pandemic. To help those students, Acceleration Academies provides a blend of in-person and remote coursework, individualized learning plans, flexible scheduling and career/life coaching to help students who may otherwise not be successful in earning their diploma. Find more information at accelerationacademies.org.