TransformSC Announces Anderson Mill Elementary School and Sumter Career and Technology Center as Newest Network Schools, Explores the Benefits of Project-based Learning at 2019 Annual Conference

TransformSC, an initiative of the South Carolina Council on Competitiveness (the Council), has announced Anderson Mill Elementary School and the Sumter Career and Technology Center as the newest schools to join the TransformSC network.  The announcement was made at the 2019 annual conference when Mike Brenan, co-chair of TransformSC and state president of BB&T, welcomed the two schools during his opening remarks. 

Led by Director Dr. Peggy Torrey, TransformSC is a statewide network of innovative public schools that work in collaboration with business leaders, educators, students, parents, and policymakers in order to transform South Carolina’s public education system to prepare graduates for careers, college, and citizenship. The addition of the two schools brings the total number of TransformSC network schools to 69.  The network also has seven entire school districts. 

Dr. Torrey said the two schools have worked hard to demonstrate their commitment to embracing innovation in education and they will bring a lot of value to the network. “We have a rigorous application process for becoming a part of the network.  So, it is always exciting to announce that a new school is ready to come on board and share the innovative things happening in their classrooms.” 

Beth Foster, Principal at Anderson Mill Elementary School, voiced her enthusiasm about joining the TransformSC network. “Anderson Mill is extremely excited to join the TransformSC Network.  Our school’s mission is to develop competent and confident lifelong learners by creating a safe, positive, and innovative environment that recognizes individual differences. Having the opportunity to foster new relationships while collaborating with others in the TransformSC Network will aid in implementing innovative strategies that develop the skills and characteristics outlined in The Profile of the South Carolina Graduate for every student.”

Shirrie Miller, Sumter Career Center Director said that the TransformSC network is a natural fit for their work with students. “The legacy of the Sumter Career and Technology Center extends back nearly 50 years and over the years we have continuously worked to apply an innovative approach to education. Our designation as a TransformSC network facility helps further demonstrate that instruction in skilled trades such as mechatronics, cosmetology, health science, and automotive trades can be equally transformative in preparing students for their future career paths.”

President & CEO of the Council, Susie Shannon, said that the steady growth of the TransformSC network speaks to an ongoing desire to transform education for every student and every teacher in every classroom every day. “The TransformSC network includes a spectrum of schools across the state. As the network continues to grow, we see an ever-increasing breadth of representation of schools participating. The level of inclusiveness we have within the TransformSC network demonstrates that innovation in education can be impactful anywhere there are advocates willing to invest in implementation and leaders willing to be an agent of change for our students.”

In addition to announcing new network schools, the TransformSC 2019 annual conference featured a full day of conversations around personalizing education through project-based learning (PBL). 

Tom Vander Ark, author and CEO of the learning design firm ‘Getting Smart,’ gave an opening keynote address that highlighted trends and case studies in PBL from schools across the U.S. He also led a Q&A session with TransformSC co-chair, Mike Brenan and CEO of Total Comfort Solutions, Jim Reynolds, who serves as a member of the TransformSC Steering Committee.

Following Mr. Vander Ark’s address, a series of breakout sessions were held throughout the day.  Sessions included design workshops from New Tech Network, a national non-profit organization that is driving transformation in schools nationwide; Suzie Boss, an author and education consultant out of Portland, OR; and Stephanie DisTasio from the South Carolina Department of Education’s Office of Personalized Learning. Bates Middle School, Monarch Elementary School, and Carolina High School also led breakout sessions during the day.

In addition to learning from education experts, the conference offered an opportunity to hear directly from regional business executives who discussed the skills they look for when seeking new talent. Panel participants included Jill Davis, Senior Vice President of Strategic and Ancillary Services for BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina; Sara Fawcett, President & CEO of the United Way of the Midlands; and Ted Creech, Director of External Affairs for AT&T South Carolina.  Susie Shannon moderated the discussion.

To learn more about TransformSC, visit www.sccompetes.org. Schools at all levels and stages of development are encouraged to apply for acceptance to the TransformSC network by contacting Dr. Peggy Torrey at ptorrey@sccompetes.org.

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About Transform SC

TransformSC is an initiative of the South Carolina Council on Competitiveness. Led by Director Peggy Torrey, it is a statewide network of innovative public schools that work in collaboration with business leaders, educators, students, parents, and policymakers in order to transform South Carolina’s public education system.  Currently, there are 67 schools and seven entire districts in the TransformSC network; all working to prepare graduates for careers, college, and citizenship.

About the South Carolina Council on Competitiveness

The South Carolina Council on Competitiveness – The Council – is a nonpartisan, business-led, nonprofit organization that drives South Carolina’s long-term economic growth by stewarding the state’s industry clusters and providing the research, network, and resources that industry clusters require to thrive.

Led by President and CEO, Susie Shannon, the Council manages multiple industry clusters in South Carolina, including SC Logistics and SC Aerospace.  It also provides resources and support to other clusters across the state.