In the News

ST. MATTHEWS — The Calhoun County School District Board of Trustees at its October meeting heard a presentation on an initiative called GEAR UP (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs).

Everleen McFadden, district human resources director, said GEAR UP, a discretionary grant program, is designed to increase the number of low-income students who are prepared to enter and succeed in postsecondary education.

GEAR UP provides six-year grants to states and partnerships to provide services at high-poverty middle and high schools. Grantees serve an entire cohort of students beginning no later than the seventh grade and follow the cohort through high school and the first year of college. Program funds are also used to provide college scholarships to low-income students.

McFadden said the emphasis of the program is on math and English. The Calhoun County School District is partnering with the Boys and Girls Club in Columbia in the effort, which involves 71 students from the St. Matthews K-8 School and 66 from the Sandy Run School, she said.

Also during the meeting, Superintendent Dr. Steve Wilson presented the district’s new painting by Jonathan Green titled “A Breath of Freedom,” which commemorates the 60th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education.

Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, 347 U.S. 483 (1954), was a landmark United States Supreme Court case in which the court declared state laws establishing separate public schools for black and white students to be unconstitutional.

Wilson said a copy of the painting has been given to every South Carolina high school.

In other business:

* Wilson presented the 2013-2014 Superintendent’s Award to student Jurnee Jenkins for obtaining the highest GPA for the 2013-2014 school year.

* The board unanimously approved requests for four high school diplomas.

* Trustees unanimously approved a Jobs for America’s Graduates trip to Washington, D.C. JAG is a state-based national, nonprofit organization dedicated to preventing dropouts among young people who are most at-risk.

* Wilson introduced Dr. Samuel Alston of St. Matthews who was recently appointed to the State Board of Education.

* During public comments, Lewis Rivers of the Men’s Organization of St. Matthews told the board his group would like to use the ball field across from the district office for a free job training program.

* Trustees went into executive session to discuss a technology contract and to receive a personnel hiring update.

Contact the writer: 803-874-3276.

Source: The Tand