South Carolina law requires children ages 5 to 17 to enroll in school. All children who will be 5 years old on or before Sept. 1 must enroll in kindergarten unless the parent or legal guardian signs an official waiver, which is available at local schools. Any child who is 6 years old on or before Sept. 1 must enroll in first grade. Exceptions are made for children who have attended public school for a minimum of one grading period in another state that has different age requirements.
Children of military members attend schools in the Charleston, Dorchester and Berkeley County school districts. Transportation is provided to students enrolled in the public schools. Area schools in all three districts provide a full range of educational programs. Before- and after-school programs are available at several elementary schools. Most schools start in mid-August and end in early June. There are approximately 147 public schools, 32 private schools and an array of virtual/charter schools available in the tri-county area. Pre-K programs are available in the public schools, but access is limited, based on ability and income restrictions. The local school can provide detailed information/screening for these programs.
Registration requirements include immunization records, a birth certificate and proof of residency, as well as proof of guardianship if the student lives with someone other than a parent.
While living in a TLF, unless you can show future residency in another county, your children will attend school in the area assigned for that facility. If you have a lease/rental agreement or purchase a home, you may register your children with the school near your residence while you are still in TLF. You will have to provide transportation until you move to your new residence.
Parents are encouraged to enroll or register their child before the opening day of school. The child’s proof of residency, birth certificate and Social Security card, if available, should be presented at registration. A physical examination is recommended to enable the school to accommodate any medical needs the child may have. Parents should bring sealed permanent records from the previous school. Students transferring from out of state should secure a South Carolina Immunization Certificate as soon as possible. The base clinics can provide assistance with immunization issues. Contact the SLO at 843-963-4438 or 843-963-4406 for more information on local schools. SLOs advocate for military children with the local schools and districts and provide training and resources to families and the local community on school-related issues. For more information on school resources, download the School Information Packet at www.jbcharleston.com/military-child-education.
Charleston County School District – Rated Excellent
The Charleston County School District serves more than 48,000 students in 84 schools, including 34 magnet and charter schools. The charter and magnet school options generally have attendance zones and an application process. The district has partnered with JB Charleston to create the “Resolution to Accommodate Military Families.” This policy extends the “Choice” school application deadlines for newly arriving military families who will reside in Charleston County. Contact the SLO at the Airman & Family Readiness Center for additional information. There is a “Military Families Link” on the Charleston County School District’s web page at www.ccsdschools.com.
Dorchester County School District – Rated Excellent
Dorchester County has 25,000 students attending 12 elementary schools, six middle schools and three high schools. The district also offers an alternative program for students in grades six through 12 who are behind academically. Registration takes place at the individual schools and there is a $20 registration fee.
Contact the school or district in advance to ensure you have all documentation required. Visit the district web page at www.edlinesites.net/pages/Dorchester_County_SD for more information.
Berkeley County School District – Rated Excellent
The Berkeley County School District is the fourth-largest school district in the state with more than 31,000 students and a total of 44 schools. Active-duty military families residing anywhere in Berkeley County have the option to enroll their children at Marrington Elementary and Marrington Middle schools, which are located on the Weapons Station. Registration requirements include immunization records, birth certificate and two proofs of residency, as well as proof of guardianship if the student lives with someone other than a parent. For more information, go to www.berkeley.k12.sc.us.
Palmetto Scholars Academy – Rated Excellent
Palmetto Scholars Academy is a State Charter School, providing a gifted and talented program for grades 6-12. The school is constructing a new campus at Joint Base Charleston’s Hunley Park. Currently located at the old Navy base, the new facility is scheduled for completion December 2015. For more information, go to www.palmettoscholarsacademy.org.
The central points for adult education programs on JB Charleston are the Base Education Center (Air Base) and Navy College (Weapons Station), which offer a range of educational services and programs.
Education counselors are available to help active-duty members with their educational goals and provide up-to-date information on tuition assistance. The A&FRC is available to assist spouses and dependents.
Complete testing facilities include Dantes and CLEP-approved exams via the National Testing Center (NTC). The Air Base Education Center also offers testing facilities for the ECI, AFCT and other specialized tests through NTC. Navy College offers testing facilities for the SAT and ACT tests. In addition,NCPACE is available for all deploying Sailors through the Navy College.
Colleges and universities offer programs on both the Air Base and Weapons Station. They have offices co-located with the Education Services Center and Navy College. For more information, contact the Air Base Education Center at 843-963-4575 or the Navy College at 843-794-4493.
English as a Second Language classes are offered by the Trident Literacy Association, 843-747-2223, and county adult education programs such as the Dorchester County Adult Learning Center, 843-832-7851.
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