Exceptional Educational Choices
When thinking about relocating a business or company, the educational opportunities available within a community are incredibly important. Families who are considering a move to the area are always pleased when they learn that in the Myrtle Beach area, kindergarten through 12th grade students have a variety of exceptional choices. Public, private, parochial and charter schools provide plenty of options, and high school graduates are able to continue higher education locally, with two universities, a technical college and several area trade schools.
The Horry County School District consists of 51 schools, making it the third largest public school system in the state of South Carolina. The school district also boasts two academies offering concentrated study in technology, science, arts and Early College High School. Eight private schools and three charter schools also offer specialized concentrations and an alternative to the public school system.
Over the past 10 years, more than $500 million has been invested in Horry County schools for the construction of new schools, investment in technology and current upgrades. With a resume consisting of several awards and accolades, Horry County is school district with a competitive advantage on both state and national levels.
1. Horry County Schools received a grade of ‘A’ in student performance measured for federal accountability. HCS met 94.6 percent of federal objectives for Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP).
2. Eight schools have been named National Blue Ribbon Schools of Excellence by the U.S. Department of Education.
3. In 2013, Horry County Schools students’ SAT scores were 89 points above the South Carolina state average and 38 points above the national average.
4. Horry County Schools have the highest performing IB program in the state. Additionally, 94 percent of high school students who sought International Baccalaureate diplomas received them.
5. In 2012, Horry County Schools’ students made significant gains in meeting and exceeding state standards in ‘Palmetto Assessment of State Standards’ (PASS) testing. Achievement improved in over 50 percent of tests for students scoring at the “exemplary” level, and Horry County School PASS scores exceeded the South Carolina state average scores in each subject and grade tested.
Schools to Watch
Several Myrtle Beach area schools have taken a turn in the spotlight and make great additions to the community. Loris Elementary School, touted for its innovative use of personalized digital learning, was recently featured in a Google Hangout with the White House, while Whittemore Park Middle School continues to gain national attention for its implementation of a blended learning environment, thanks to a grant from the Gates Foundation. Lastly, Myrtle Beach Primary, Elementary, and Intermediate Schools have all been designated as Stephen Covey ‘Leader in Me’ Lighthouse Schools, providing an innovative, school wide model that emphasizes a culture of student empowerment and helps unleash each child’s full potential.
Higher education opportunities in the Myrtle Beach area offer a multitude of opportunities for retraining and educational advancement with a variety of degrees and certification programs. Coastal Carolina University’s top-tier MBA program provides students with internship opportunities at leading national companies and also offers a progressive pre-engineering program in partnership with Clemson University. Horry Georgetown Technical College offers more than 70 programs of study at three locations and online, while Webster University’s Myrtle Beach campus provides workers and students with an with an alternative educational opportunity to complete their graduate degree.
When it comes to making the grade, look no further than Myrtle Beach Elementary, where innovation and inclusivity are the norm.
"The driving force here is ‘empowerment,’ " explains Principal Janice Christy. "Our goal is to empower all children to reach their learning and leading potential. This is where it all starts for us."
Since arriving at Myrtle Beach Elementary three years ago, Dr. Christy has instituted a number of nontraditional programs, including the Learning Village concept, yoga classes and a countywide Covey Leadership model based on the book "The 7 Habits of Happy Kids" by Sean Covey.