Aiken Scholars Academy (ASA) has developed an academically focused instructional program to ensure that all students are prepared to graduate with world-class knowledge and skills, along with quality life and career characteristics of the Profile of the South Carolina Graduate. ASA offers a rigorous course of study in a nurturing and supportive learning environment with strong beliefs and values focused on culture building, critical thinking, communication, collaboration, creativity, and community service.
ASA has a thriving culture in which we cultivate positive and long-lasting relationships, embrace diversity, communicate effectively, and provide support for the developmental and academic needs of our student body. We firmly believe in developing the whole child and preparing scholars for success in school, work, and life. We focus on building the Scholar Profile attributes within all of our students, which include Service, Curiosity & Life-Long Learning, Honor, Ownership, Leadership, Advocacy, and Resilience.
Developing a positive school culture and climate maintains a priority within the school. We accomplish this by offering school sponsored extracurricular activities to engage students. The Academic Team had a great season finishing second in the county during the regular season and second in the County Team Tournament. Additionally, they competed in the 3-2-1 Questions Unlimited Competition placing first in Aiken County, third in the state and 48th nationally. The Beta Club inducted 25 new members and completed service projects with Harvest Hope's Spooky to be Hungry and United Way's Be A Bunny Campaign. Students engaged in STEM activities as well. We hosted a Cyber Girls team, and partnered with Scientific Research Corporation where students learned about Open Source Intelligence. From this group two students were offered paid summer internships. The Fine Arts club gathered weekly, exposing students to various types of activities. They produced four paintings of local shelter animals for the "Love to the Rescue" public art exhibit, hosted two-week art show at a local gallery, and sponsored Furry Friends Friday, where members of FOTAS brought shelter dogs in monthly to visit. Science Team competed in the Science Olympiad, placing 4th in Bridge Making. Student Council continued to bring scholars together outside of the classroom and promote school spirit. They celebrated Hispanic Heritage Month, Black History Month and Asian American Pacific Islander month with many activities including trivia, speakers, information about music, art and culture. Each month ended with a culminating event were students, faculty and parents were able to taste food from each culture. The group received a commendation from Aiken City Council for their celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month. In addition to these, they spirit weeks, game nights, movie nights, dances, a talent show, and much more. They also sponsored made blankets and collected donations for foster children in South Carolina, collected books for a local elementary school, sponsored Kim's Kids, and held a walk for Ukrainian Refugees along with UofSC Aiken. They were recognized by the SC Student Association of Student Councils Honor Recognition Program, earning the Silver Council of Honor. One student was named the SCASC District 3 Chair and the Student Body President was also inducted into the Terry McCoy Hall of Fame for being named Outstanding Student Council Member of the Year. "The Nest" published its 4th yearbook entirely developed and created by students.
The School Improvement Council maintains focus on goals surrounding recruitment and retention, building community relationships, and providing increased opportunities for Scholars to engage in internships. They selected a Parent Volunteer Liaison who has worked to provide more parent volunteers to help support school events.
Student achievement is reliant upon providing access to meaningful and engaging learning experiences with a focus on academic excellence and preparation for future learning. Through the advanced course sequence and use of honors and Advanced Placement curriculum delivered by experienced faculty, Scholars are engaged in critical thinking, problem solving and collaborative efforts daily.
With such an accelerated program comes the highest of expectations. Scholars rose to the challenge, evidenced by their performance on state assessments. In 2021-2022 Scholars earned a 100% pass rate on the Biology End of Course test (EOCT), with 26 students earning a perfect score and 100% earning an A, B or C. Additionally, there was a 100% pass rate on English 2 EOCT, with 20 students earning a perfect score and 100% earning an A, B or C. Of the students enrolled in a U.S. Government course, 100% passed the James Edwards Civics Assessment.
Students participated in 275 AP Exams. Overall, 96% percent of students earned a qualifying score on an AP exam and 75% of all scores were a 3,4 or 5. Additionally, 56% of students earned qualifying scores on all exams taken. The school's performance surpassed state and global performance in AP Calculus AB, AP ELA Language, AP Human Geography, AP Seminar, AP Statistics and AP US History.
Nine students presented research as part of UofSC Aiken's Center for Research Excellence Scholar's Showcase. In addition, Seven students were selected to participate in UofSC Aiken's Summer Scholars Institute where they will have a 8-week paid internship experience and then present at the Summer Symposium.
ASA facilitates the learning process and builds within Scholars the ability to make connections between their knowledge and its application to the world beyond the secondary classroom. We believe in working cohesively with our school family and local community, and our Scholars have a responsibility to support our local community through service learning projects. Despite continued interruptions due to Covid-19, Scholars were still able to give back to the local community. There were 826 documented hours of community service. We also initiated a pilot Literacy Program with local elementary schools. Taking previous lessons taught in English 3H and AP English Language where learned how to conduct effective Read Alouds based on the Jack Ezra Keats characteristics, ten students served in seven elementary schools for two months providing support to the classroom teacher and students. The program will expand to include numeracy support in 22-23.
The school celebrated its first graduating class! In June, 36 students graduated from the school's first cohort. The graduating class data can be found highlighted in the chart below.
|College & Career Readiness
|Average Graduating GPA
|SC State Honors Diploma
|AP Capstone Diploma
|AP Seminar & Research Certificate
|AP Scholars with Distinction
|National Merit Scholarship Recipient
|National Merit Commended Students
|# Dual Enrollment Courses Passed
|# Dual Enrollment Credit Hours Earned
|# Community Service Hours Earned
ASA continues to work diligently to provide scholars access to an accelerated course of study and challenging curriculum, highly qualified faculty and staff, up-to-date classroom technology, and a supportive environment. The future of ASA is bright! The School Leadership Team and School Improvement Council look forward to building new traditions and to ensuring that ASA students enjoy and reap the benefits of a high-quality educational experience.
Martha Messick, Principal
Dr. Tom Burns, SIC Chair