Palmetto Scholars Academy was founded in 2010 by a group of parents and professionals seeking a unique educational environment that would meet the needs of gifted students. This initiative led to a sixth through eighth-grade charter school with a mission to meet the academic, social, and emotional needs of students by utilizing the best practices of gifted education. By empowering students through authentic engagement, we equip them with the knowledge, skills, and attitudes to become successful global citizens.
Over the past eleven years, PSA has grown to be a full middle and high school serving 6th – 12th grades. It has established itself as one of the top schools in the state. A few of the highlights of our success include:
- Being named a 2017 National Blue Ribbon School
- Being named a School of Distinction by the South Carolina Public Charter School District three years in a row
- Showing an increase from 180 students to 506 students in eleven years with over 200 each year on our waiting list.
- Establishing ourselves as state and national leaders in areas such as VEX and VEX IQ Robotics, Cyber-security, National History Day, and Mission Design.
- Obtaining state and national recognition in the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program for having three teams chosen to send their experiments to the International Space Station.
- Winning the 2017 State Class A Championship in Soccer
Our school is helping all students develop the World Class Skills of the Profile of the South Carolina Graduate by integrating differentiated strategies to promote depth and complexity in our curriculum and provide opportunities for acceleration and enrichment across all disciplines. At the high school level, we are utilizing dual-enrollment courses with Trident Technical College and the College of Charleston, AP courses, and honors courses so that our students can create college preparatory pathways in STEM and Arts & Humanities as they prepare for careers in those areas. By integrating best practices for educating high ability students throughout our curriculum, our students are more efficiently equipped with critical, creative, and collaborative skills necessary for success in today’s society.
One of the most critical components of our enriched curriculum is the research program which culminates in a Senior Capstone Experience. Starting with sixth grade, our students explore research methods which move from investigation of multiple careers to actual production of a research project in at least one discipline consisting of a research paper and a product which could include an oral presentation, a visual or multi-media display, or a type of service.
Just as important as our academic focus, PSA intentionally focuses on meeting the social and emotional needs of our students. We seek to create a safe place for all students as they navigate the multiple challenges of adolescence. Our staff strives to create positive relationships with every student in the classroom, in extracurricular opportunities, and through our house system. Students from 6th to 12th grade meet regularly to develop a tight-knit community through a variety of activities focused on service, positive life habits, strong academic skills, and personal responsibility. Utilizing fun competitions, service projects, and discussion time, the houses provide a warm and engaging opportunity for students.
Another important component of our school culture is LEAP Day (Learning Enhancement and Achievement Program). Every three weeks, students and staff step away from the regular class schedule and participate in a broad spectrum of enrichment activities. Teachers, staff, parents, and community leaders offer alternative courses in areas they have a passion for or expertise in. Students may choose up to 3 sessions for the semester. Classes include Entrepreneurship, Financial Literacy, Robotics, Zumba, Leadership, Woodworking, Pinterest, Model UN, Jazz Band, Photography, Screenwriting, and other areas of interest and enrichment for the students.
After eleven years, our focus on research, problem-solving, critical and creative thinking, and effective communication have enabled our students to achieve at high levels. With this foundation of excellence that has been established, PSA will continue to grow as we seek out new partnerships and opportunities for our students.