Built in 1975, Pepperhill Elementary School is one of the last few neighborhood schools in the Charleston County School District. We have accomplished much this school year due to the tireless dedication of our staff, students, families, and community. Our district and school is helping all students develop the World Class Skills of the Profile of the South Carolina Graduate by focusing on the four Cs – critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity.
In order to minimize the impact of COVID-19 disruptions and their impact on student learning as well as carry out the mission of significantly accelerating the academic growth of students to ensure they are college and career ready, we have implemented a framework that focuses on the four main elements of school improvement - Community, Climate, Culture and Curriculum - to address the profile of the South Carolina Graduate. At Pepperhill, we use the Continuous Improvement Model to focus on the strengths of our staff, students, and parents to work towards limiting risk factors that impede academic achievement while increasing protective factors that support it.
At Pepperhill, we weave the 4 C's into everything we do. From our Literacy and Math nights, Black History Month Celebration, Black History Bowl, March Madness for Multiplication Facts, Dreambox Challenge, Parent Seminars, Anti-Bullying week, Trident United Way Day of Caring, Terrific Kids Celebrations, Winter Strings Celebration, February Kindness Month, and student led morning announcements, to how we design E-learning due to the COVID-19 closures.
In the domain of Community, we have focused on strengthening home-school relationships with virtual students and parents and growing community partners. This year, we solidified our relationship with the City of North Charleston and our district councilwoman, and reinstated a full board for the School Improvement Council (SIC) which includes representatives from homeowners in the neighborhood, a local business, and a parent representative from the Naval Base. We are currently working towards having a full PTO board for the upcoming school year.
When addressing the need for a strong school Climate, we implemented a PBIS model and created a point based behavior system to promote positive student behavior which creates an environment more conducive to increased academic achievement. Incentives included Student of the Week and quarterly incentive celebrations for students who earned their points. A subcommittee focused on student attendance and truancy and used the Behavioral and Emotional Screening System (BESS) to identify students in need of counseling services from our school counselor, Communities in Schools (CIS) social worker, and a mental heath professional.
For campus Culture, our focus has been on increasing instructional time, building staff morale, increasing staff health and wellness, and increasing staff retention. There has also been a concerted effort and focus on creating traditions, celebrating the success of staff members, and building on the strengths of all staff members. At Pepperhill, we take the time to assure that staff members receive support in all areas of their life so they can come to school each day at their best, ready to deliver high levels of instruction for our students.
Lastly, our focus on Curriculum has been rooted in deep data analysis to identify areas of need and academic systemic issues. Utilizing the Continuous Improvement model and aligning it to the MTSS process, has allowed us to create action plans to support struggling students and to accelerate students already achieving at grade level or higher.
Pepperhill stakeholders will continue to work towards “achievement for all” while maintaining a safe and healthy environment, hiring and retaining a high-quality teaching staff, and building capacity to grow leaders for the school and the district.
Dr. Jennifer Baez, Principal
SanTonia Singleton, SIC Chair