Chesnee High School is dedicated to ensuring all students develop the world class skills and life and career characteristics of the Profile of the South Carolina Graduate by placing an emphasis on innovative instructional practices to address our state standards through Professional Learning Communities that we call Teacher Learning Teams (TLTs) and through opportunities in STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics. First and foremost, all instruction in our school is data-driven and guided by our rigorous state standards to ensure that our students are developing needed skills. Our professional learning opportunities provide teachers with effective instructional strategies and practices that enable them to prepare our students to be college and career ready and to fit the Profile of the South Carolina Graduate. Our instruction has become even more personalized as we analyze data and plan instruction in our TLTs for those students that did not meet standards assessed, exceeded them or met them. This year, more than ever, we relied on what our data was telling us to personalize learning and minimize instructional loss due to distance learning, quarantines and other challenges presented during the pandemic. We also built in academic recovery time on Saturdays for our students that demonstrated a need for more time on particular units.
Our STEAM Academy includes two classes each of English, math, science, and social studies as well as a Paxton-Patterson lab. Here, students discover the relationships among science, technology, engineering, arts and math through PBL experiences and collaborative learning. Through our increased Dual Credit offerings and Advanced Placement courses, students can earn credits and experience college course work prior to graduating from high school. Other CHS programs through which our students may acquire World Class Skills and Life and Career Characteristics include Swofford Career Center, Jobs for America’s Graduates, JROTC, Work Based Learning, Senior Project, job shadowing and LiBros and Page Turners, our boys and girls book clubs. Although book clubs presented more of a challenge this year, we were able to host some virtually thanks to the creativeness of our media center specialist and local public library. Our Response to Intervention program targets struggling students and provides them a mentor teacher who assists them in developing good study habits, monitoring progress in completing projects and assignments, and in preparation for tests. To assist our ESOL students, we provide ESOL professional learning opportunities for all our teachers and an on-site ESOL teacher. We incorporate instructional strategies aimed at ESOL students as well as all struggling students as a routine component of our monthly professional development with all our teachers.
Even though we did not continue our Early Release program this year, we still allowed for teachers collaboration using a disciplinary and multidisciplinary approach. Over the past two years, teachers have worked through the High Impact Process, unpacking standards, which has provided even more teacher clarity of essential standards. This process has also encouraged teachers to develop success criteria for our students and collaborate to form common assessments which enable them to drill down to the very essence of the skills each student needs to be successful. Our Teacher Learning Teams have been a huge success, and we look forward to reinstating our Early Release time and in continuing this next year.
This year in particular, it was important for us to educate both our students and teachers on social emotional learning. Our administration, instructional coaches and counselors made every effort to support teachers, who also in turn supported and educated our students. Chesnee High School has presented our first-class multi-tiered systems of support model to other high schools in the state.
Despite the pandemic that forced the closing of SC schools in the spring of 2020, we were able to continue working with students through Distance Remote Learning (DRL). Teachers were extremely innovative in preparing lessons for students and utilizing face-to-face platforms such as Zoom to continue instruction with our students. Administration, faculty and staff put both the learning and emotional well-being of students at the forefront as we continued to check in with them from an academic and personal perspective. At the start of the 2020-2021 school year, we were able to bring students back for face to face instruction on a hybrid model. We are proud to say that we are one of the few districts in the state that have seen our students face to face for instruction throughout the duration of this school year.
The efforts of CHS teachers and students have produced positive results in the 2020-2021 school year. We graduated 190 individuals that we believe to be college and career ready. This was the largest senior class to ever graduate Chesnee High School. This group was able to amass over 7 million dollars in scholarship monies. This year’s senior class consisted of those ready to move to the next level in college, several that were joining our military forces and many that were ready to accept job opportunities. Because of the efforts of CHS, all are ready to move to this next level. Truly we are on the right track in ensuring that our students possess the world class knowledge and skills as well as the life and career characteristics of a South Carolina graduate.
Angela Ramsey, Principal
Holly Barrett, SIC chairperson