10 Hartsville High choir students earn All-State honors

HARTSVILLE, S.C. – Ten Hartsville High School students recently earned the highest honor bestowed on high school choral singers when the South Carolina Music Educators Association named them to the All-State Choir.

The students are senior Andrew Lackey, senior Stone Martin, senior Daniel Thompson, junior Elianna Thompson, junior Chris Beasley, junior JaDira Fields, junior C.J. Johnson, junior Archie Torain, sophomore Larissa Berger and sophomore Lee Saxton.

Jim Beaumier, the director of choirs at HHS, described the selections as momentous.

“This is the largest number of All-State Choir students in the history of Hartsville High School,” Beaumier said. “These are all great students."

The number of All-State honorees from HHS increased from six last year. In fact, the number of HHS students named to the All-State Choir has increased four consecutive years. The Darlington County School District had more students named to the All-State Choir than the seven surrounding counties combined.

Lackey and Daniel Thompson earned All-State selections for a third consecutive year, something Beaumier said hasn’t had happen in his 12 years at HHS. Johnson, Martin and Torain earned the honor for a second time.

The 10 All-State Choir members will perform during the South Carolina All-State Concert on March 4 at Winthrop University in Rock Hill.

Hartsville PULSE Initiative Selected as Finalist for Dick and Tunky Riley WhatWorksSC Award for Excellence

Hartsville, S.C., U.S. – The TEACH Foundation (Teaching, Educating and Advancing Children in Hartsville) is pleased to announce its PULSE (Partners for Unparalleled Local Scholastic Excellence) initiative has been selected as a finalist for The Riley Institute at Furman University's 2016 Dick and Tunky Riley WhatWorksSC Award for Excellence. The WhatWorksSC award, first given in 2011, highlights outstanding evidence-based educational initiatives throughout South Carolina. Finalists were chosen by a panel of judges from more than 100 entries in the Riley Institute's WhatWorksSC clearinghouse. As a finalist, PULSE will receive a small grant from the Riley Institute for enhancement of the program or consulting with other schools, districts and organizations interested in its replication.

PULSE is a one-of-kind public-private partnership formed to implement a comprehensive scholastic excellence program in Hartsville public schools that expanded curriculum opportunities and further improved student achievement through collaborative academic and social development initiatives. Partners include the Darlington County School District, South Carolina Governor's School for Science and Mathematics (GSSM), Coker College and Sonoco. Sonoco funded the initiative through a $5 million grant over five years.

"We believe it is our responsibility to build the community as we build our business," said Harris DeLoach, executive chairman of the board, Sonoco, and chairman of the board, TEACH Foundation. "It is absolutely critical that every child, regardless of economic status, leaves the public school system with the skills needed to succeed in the workplace."

After its five year implementation, a snapshot of results is as follows:

  • A key component of PULSE, the Comer School Development Program, focusing on academic achievement and personal development of elementary students, served more than 6,500 students at four area elementary schools. On average, students increased reading scores by 12-points and math scores by 14-points on Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) testing.
  • Accelerated Learning Opportunities (ALO) served more than 840 high school students in Hartsville with courses such as Mandarin Chinese, Molecular Biology, Engineering Design and Development, Circuitry and Electronic Inventions, Applied Piano, Class Voice, and more. The ALO program grew to 14 course offerings during the 2015-16 school year and celebrated three successive years of all students passing AP tests, earning college credits. Students participating in ALO have published scientific papers, earned prestigious scholarships and been selected for competitive internships at organizations like NASA.
  • The local Scoutreach component helped more than 350 male students in grades 5k-5 gain leadership skills.
  •  The summer reading program (six weeks long) exceeded its goal of increasing reading proficiency – from four months to six months of reading growth. 

"Every accomplishment begins with action, and PULSE is no different. The five-year program is a great example of coordinated action resulting in positive change. We must build on it," said Jack Sanders, president and CEO of Sonoco.

"The TEACH Foundation is much more than just an exciting and unique partnership," said Dr. Eddie Ingram, superintendent of Darlington County School District. "The Foundation's leadership is forward-thinking in approach and execution. In addition to substantial fiscal support of the PULSE program, the TEACH Foundations also brings innovation and networking opportunities to the people of our district."

Finalists will be recognized and the winner of the 2016 award will be announced at a luncheon October 14 in conjunction with South Carolina Future Minds' annual Public Education Partners (PEP) conference at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center. The public is invited to attend the full conference or the luncheon only. For more information and/or to register for the luncheon or conference, please visit the Riley Institute's website or contact Jill Fuson at jill.fuson@furman.edu.


The TEACH Foundation is a not for profit, 501(c)(3) organization that serves as the administration arm for the PULSE initiative which includes accelerated learning programs at Hartsville High School, students living in Hartsville attending Mayo High School and the Comer School Development Program in four area elementary schools. It was formed as part of the Greater Hartsville Chamber of Commerce. The Foundation manages the $5 million in funding provided to PULSE by the Sonoco Foundation.

About Sonoco

Founded in 1899, Sonoco is a global provider of a variety of consumer packaging, industrial products, protective packaging, and displays and packaging supply chain services. With annualized net sales of approximately $5 billion, the Company has 20,800 employees working in more than 330 operations in 34 countries, serving some of the world's best known brands in some 85 nations. Sonoco is a proud member of the 2015/2016 Dow Jones Sustainability World Index. For more information on the Company, visit our website at  www.sonoco.com.

Julie Scott

TEACH Foundation donates funds for summer reading program

Enables 60 Hartsville students to participate

The TEACH Foundation recently presented a check for $28,080 to the Darlington County School District (DCSD) for a six-week summer reading camp. The funds enable 60 students from Hartsville to attend the program held at Carolina Elementary this summer.  A total of 150 district students in grades k4-2 will participate in the program.

(Pictured above, left to right: Matthew Ferguson, K12 ELA/Social Studies Coordinator, DCSD; Dr. Eddie Ingram, superintendent, DCSD; Lyde Graham, comptroller, DCSD; Sharman Poplava, executive director, TEACH Foundation; and Carlita Davis, assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction.)

Dr. Comer discusses SDP process in Hartsville

Speaks to TEACH Foundation board, visits schools

Dr. James P. Comer, founder and director of the School Development (SDP) at Yale University's Child Study Center, spent three days in Hartsville during January. He attended the TEACH Foundation board meeting, presenting research on brain development and discussing the SDP implementation process in the four elementary schools. Following the board meeting, Dr. Comer spent some time at each of the schools, visiting with the principals and talking to students and teachers. He also attended the District Planning and Management Team meeting in Darlington.

Dr. Comer explained to TEACH board members that there is a connection between development and learning. “Development and learning are inextricably linked. If children develop well, they learn well.

“Education as an enterprise doesn't focus on development,” Dr. Comer adds. “Instead, the focus is on the input and output of information.”

That input/output model worked through the 1950s and early 1960s, making it possible to find employment without an education. Today, in a high-tech environment, that is no longer the case. Children who don't succeed in school are unable to earn a living. “This change is the cause of many of the problems we see in society,” he says. “We are spending too much money on social welfare and entitlement programs and not facing the development issues that can make a difference.”

Because the human brain doesn't fully develop until age 25, most behavioral and impulse problems are caused by immaturity and underdevelopment. Rather than punish children for such behaviors, Dr. Comer's program supports creating a culture where adults work together to help children become more responsible for their behavior and learning. As this change occurs, it reduces many of the problems facing society.

“We can't assume that kids who are different are bad or dumb,” Dr. Comer says. “They are underdeveloped. If we can understand that and approach kids developmentally, we can make a difference.”

It is often the role of the school, Dr. Comer adds, to help children gain the skills necessary to interact positively and get feedback. “Using the six pathways, we show children what we expect in terms of behavior. When we help kids commit to desirable behavior, we get successful outcomes. Ultimately, children take responsibility for their own behavior and learning. Over time, we get to where we need to be to have the outcomes we believe are possible.”

Dr. Comer says that visiting Hartsville is a unique experience. “It's a pleasure to work in a community that doesn't use a one size fits all approach, but rather fits the program to meet the needs of the students.”

As the pilot program heads toward the end of year 3, Dr. Comer believes the components are all in place. “The end of the third year is the time when the School Development Program really takes off,” he says. “The framework is in place at all the schools. People are beginning to make the connections between development and learning. We are seeing teachers taking abstract ideas and creating concrete outcomes.”