Charter school leadership attends Kids First Conference

COLUMBIA SC (WOLO) – Leadership from charter schools across the state came together for the 2nd annual “Kids First Conference.”

The event provides professional development for leadership from over 60 charter schools.

Hosted by the Charter Institute at Erskine and South Carolina Public Charter School District, the two day conference gives teachers and school leaders a chance to hear inspirational speakers, legislative panels, and have a little fun.

“I think that we really just focus on that partnership and focus on common goals and united resources and just that spark and united passion for what we do and where we’re going,” says event emcee and District Teacher of the Year for SCPCSD Juliana Smith.

Megan Patterson emceed the event with Smith and is Erskine Charter Institute Teacher of the Year. “I think this was a great opportunity for all of us to come together and build that partnership, network together to make education great. This was a wonderful day. Yesterday with inspirational speakers and today to just light that fire for us to go back to our schools and share what we’ve learned,” says Patterson.

Superintendent for SCPCSD Chris Neeley finds that charter schools grew by more than 25% during the pandemic because parents wanted more choices.

“Our schools don’t have a lot of the weight and bureaucracy and regulations over the curriculum and the way it’s presented and provided through instruction in the classroom. Our instruction in the classroom is designed by the teacher, it’s more personalized and it meets each kid where they are,” says Neeley.

Charter Institute at Erskine Superintendent Cameron Runyan says there are almost 50,000 charter school students in South Carolina.

“We believe it’s really important that you keep first things first. And you make sure that your teachers, your administrators, your school leaders and everybody understands that we’re in this business for one reason and one reason only, and that’s for children. And the education of the next generation of South Carolinians,” says Runyan.

S.C. House Speaker Murrell Smith was named the “2022 Kids First Charter Champion” for helping to create a sustainable funding formula for charter schools in the state.

Categories: Educational, Local News, State