Joint Base CharlestonCommunity
Education & Academics in Charleston, Berkeley and Dorchester Counties
Finding the right schools and educational opportunities for each family member is an important part of any move. This chapter outlines Charleston, Berkeley and Dorchester counties’ public schools system, private schools, charter schools and home schooling criteria, as well as local libraries and higher education institutions. To be enrolled in a South Carolina school, a child must be at least 5 years old by Sept. 1 of the school year. Those wishing to register their child in school should bring the following to the school office: a birth certificate or other proof of the child’s age, and the child’s previous school records and immunization records. For more details on South Carolina’s minimum vaccine requirements for students in grades K-12, please visit the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control website at www.scdhec.gov. Check with the school for additional requirements.
South Carolina does not use Common Core education standards. Instead, the state has set its own standards for public schools that can be found at http://ed.sc.gov/instruction/standards-learning. The state utilizes the Every Student Succeeds Act, which provides significant federal support for programs to serve students in kindergarten through 12th grade and replaces the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. ESSA limits the power of the federal government to set education policy for states and increases state and local flexibility in the use of federal funds.
Choosing a School
Choosing the right school is very important, so be sure to research each one before deciding. Contact the school by phone or by visiting its website, which is a valuable source to learn about a school district’s statistics and curriculum. Talk to people in the area, especially friends and colleagues who already live there.
If the school shows promise, schedule a visit and bring a list of written questions about student-teacher ratios, computer availability, extracurricular activities, sports programs, music programs, gifted programs and grading standards.
Discuss the potential school with your child: what they liked and what they didn’t like. Your family’s ability to readily adapt to a move and to find happiness in your new home may depend, in part, on how happy your children are in their new school.
Charter schools are public schools of choice that are tuition-free, serve all students and have open enrollment. For more information or a listing of charter schools in South Carolina, visit the South Carolina Public Charter School District website at www.sccharter.org.
For an introduction to home schooling in South Carolina, visit the South Carolina Department of Education’s website at https://ed.sc.gov/districts-schools/state-accountability/home-schooling. Here you will find information on home-school rules and regulations, home-school associations and more.
VirtualSC is a free state-sponsored online program serving students currently attending public, private and home schools in grades six through 12 and adult education programs. VirtualSC offers free online courses aligned to state standards that are developed and taught by South Carolina-licensed teachers.
Palmetto Homeschool Association
Palmetto Homeschool Association is different from other accountability associations in that it protects parents’ freedom to choose their own curriculum and school calendar, allows flexibility with assessing progress and maintaining records, and provides guidance so that the home school is in compliance with the South Carolina Option 3 law.
To search for local private schools in South Carolina, visit the National Center for Education Statistics website and use the private school search tool at https://tinyurl.com/ybhpwoyt. Users may search by location, religious affiliation, school type and more.
Berkeley County School District
229 E. Main St.
Moncks Corner, SC 29461 843-899-8600
Berkeley County School District has 25 elementary schools, one combined elementary and middle school, 11 middle schools, 10 high schools and two education centers. The district has an enrollment of more than 33,000.
Charleston County School District
75 Calhoun St.
Charleston, SC 29401
Charleston County School District, the second-largest school system in South Carolina, represents a unique blend of urban, suburban and rural schools that span approximately 1,000 square miles of coastal lands. The district serves more than 50,000 students in 85 schools and several specialized programs.
Dorchester School District Two
115 Devon Road
Summerville, SC 29483
Dorchester School District Two serves more than 25,000 students at 15 elementary schools, six middle schools and three high schools. The district also has an adult education program and an alternative program for middle and high school students.
Dorchester School District Four
500 Ridge St.
St. George, SC 29477
Dorchester School District Four serves approximately 2,500 students. The district offers three elementary schools, two middle schools, a high school and an educational center for grades 6-12.