WEST COLUMBIA, SC -- Two middle schools in Lexington Two have been recognized by the prestigious National Schools To Watch program.
Busbee Creative Arts Academy has been designated for the first-time as a National School to Watch, while Fulmer Middle School received a Redesignation III, recognizing its third time being selected to the list.
National Schools to Watch recognizes high-performing middle schools in the areas of academic excellence, social equity, developmental responsiveness, and organizational structures for learning. The selection process includes a school site visit, interviews with school administrators, faculty and staff, students and families, as well as community members.
Busbee has focused on providing a comprehensive fine arts program that gives all students opportunities to showcase their talents through the arts, said Principal Stephanie Hucks. The school also has implemented effective interventions for student achievement as part of the daily schedule. Intervention time has students grouped based on their academic needs, and they receive additional support to meet the rigorous standards at each grade level.
“Being recognized as a South Carolina School to Watch is an absolute honor for The Academy,” Hucks said. “It has taken many years of hard work, collaboration, and perseverance to build the culture we currently have. The relationships with our staff and families are built on trust and the idea of knowing we are all in this together. To be recognized as a School to Watch is a great way for The Academy to showcase the programs and our learning community to other schools across the state that look to be recognized as a diverse and growth-oriented middle school.”
Fulmer Principal Megan Carrero said the school focuses on several initiatives aimed at providing students with rigorous learning opportunities designed to meet their individual needs. Fulmer’s grassroots academic and behavioral intervention systems are designed to help students who demonstrate needs academically or behaviorally.
Carrero said Fulmer maintains strong partnerships with local businesses, colleges, universities, and technical schools to support both student and staff success, along with Fulmer’s Professional Development Schools partnership with the University of South Carolina. Fulmer is a "sandbox" for educational research, innovation, the clinical preparation of aspiring teachers, and a source of professional support to the school’s faculty and staff, she added.
“Having been a part of the state and national Schools to Watch network since 2011, Fulmer has implemented the framework to continuously improve,” Carrero said. “As a School to Watch, we focus on challenging students to use their minds well, providing students the opportunity to exercise their voices, designing programs and opportunities that are unique to the needs of adolescents, and implementing organizational structures for learning. Being redesignated for the third time means that our school community is on an upward trajectory towards an excellent environment for adolescent learners.”
A full list of South Carolina schools recognized with the National Schools to Watch designation is expected to be released in coming weeks.
The National Schools to Watch program is an initiative with the National Forum to Accelerate Middle Grades Reform.
WATCH: Busbee students celebrate the school's designation as a School to Watch. Video taken by Lex2Be. Click on this link to watch: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1sg_NiN4aOQODIkmZtZI5DtB96liko5bX/view?usp=sharing