Berea High School’s mission is to prepare our students to become productive responsible citizens who can make a difference in the local and global communities. In order to help students develop world-class skills in preparation for life and careers, we work to embody the values expressed in our motto: Community, Character, and Excellence. Starting with our Freshman Academy, we build a sense of community in a diverse and changing geographic footprint.
As one of the most diverse schools in Greenville County (48% Hispanic, 21% White, 27% African American, 4% Other), we have embraced our community and remain true to our traditional values and family atmosphere. As we help prepare our students to become productive, responsible citizens, we have implemented a rigorous college and career focused curriculum that equips our students for their futures.
Berea High School is a one-to-one school, where all students are issued Chromebooks. Our faculty has trained to effectively use this technology as a learning tool to enhance instruction. Our students and teachers use a variety of resources to create and communicate across numerous mediums and augment what they are learning. For example, through the implementation of cold reads, coupled with online discussion boards, our students’ collaboration on text analysis has increased and has had a positive impact on our passage rates in English. During the COVID-19 shutdown, our faculty and students were well-prepared to use technology creatively. We were able to continue offering rigorous instruction, and students were able to participate in virtual classrooms, communicate using available, online platforms, and collaborate with their teachers and peers.
We have several instructional programs (theatre and arts, advanced manufacturing, agriculture, creative writing, Project Lead The Way (Computer Science), and digital media arts) that expose students to knowledge beyond traditional subjects. These programs, as well as other Career and Technology classes, have provided our students the opportunity to collaborate on engaging projects and express themselves creatively, while preparing for careers. Such experiences have opened up new doors for our students, encouraging them to work toward a future that they did not know existed, while simultaneously building their capacity to excel.
Berea High School continues to provide opportunities for our students that go beyond the classroom. We have had several students who have been accepted to internships through Launch Greenville. These students will be getting high school credit through work-based learning at places like BMW and Upstate Home Care. Bulldog RUN, a college access program, provides opportunities for our students to visit colleges and universities in our region. Students take a day trip in the fall to schools within the state, and in the spring, they take an overnight trip to visit colleges and universities further away. By having the opportunity to see different campuses and experience what college life really is about, our students are more motivated to attain their academic goals. Students who have participated have a 100% acceptance rate into college. Additionally, to enhance our learning environment for high-performing students, we offer both AP classes and dual credit opportunities with Greenville Technical College. Through these programs, students have the opportunity to earn both college and high school credit, all while they practice critical thinking in a rigorous, college-level course.
Our unofficial motto is “Make them Smart; Make them Good.” With an emphasis on making them good, BHS has embedded programs that teach good character and reward students for displaying such character. Character development begins in the ninth grade with our advisory classes, which emphasize personal development and accountability. We also have programs in place to reinforce good choices. The Renaissance rewards program, as well as our Freshman Academy, offer incentives for students for doing the right thing and working hard in classes. Community partners provide coupons and discounts to students to reinforce choices students make about coming to school, being kind to others, and maintaining high academic standards.
We believe that our success is due, in large part, to our faculty, who has built a highly collaborative environment that puts students’ interests before their own. Our goal is to provide a high-quality education for all students and to prepare them to be successful in all aspects of their lives after high school. With the help and support of our community, we have no doubt that we will continue to accomplish our mission.
Mike Noel, Principal Charlie Crenshaw, SIC Chair