BEAUFORT CO., SC (WTOC) - The Beaufort County School District is kicking off its second year of 'school choice' initiative, where parents get to choose their child's school based on their academic preferences.
The school district says the first year was a success – almost 3,000 students participated. The district says when students attend schools aligned with their interests, it's easier for them to learn.
Amy Henry's three kids have all gone to schools outside of their zoned areas.
"I like that the programs give you choice because when we left Beaufort Elementary, we got to tour Beaufort Middle and Lady's Island and kind of make our decision. I always tell parents you have to do what feels right," said Henry.
Henry says her children have benefitted from going to a school that had programs they were interested in and they actually look forward to going to school.
"They're able to relate with a lot of kids that are like them, that really enjoy doing a lot of experiments and different stuff like that the kids really enjoy," said Henry.
Some of the county's school focus on arts, languages or technology. The district says they created the school choice program to cater to the student's different interests and learning needs.
"For those that offer that very specific language opportunity, whether it's Chinese immersion, Spanish immersion, arts infused or our engineering programs, or project based opportunities. All of those provide students with the opportunity to expand or go more in depth where they believe they have an expertise or a skill or a talent," said Beaufort County School District Superintendent Dr. Jeff Moss.
School choice may not be for everyone. Parents who participate have to provide their own transportation for their children. Also, students aren't allowed to transfer schools just to participate in extracurricular activities or sports. Dr. Moss says every school provides students with the tools to succeed.
"All of our schools are essentially balanced. We have STEM focus at every one of them, regardless of which school a parent chooses, there's going to be a science technology engineering and math focus," said Dr. Moss.
The school choice fair will be held at River Ridge Academy Monday at 6 p.m. If you can't make it, there will be another one next Monday, Feb. 1st, in Beaufort. The deadline to apply is March 1st.