Darlington County receives grant for summer reading

The Darlington County School District will receive approximately $37,000 for summer reading, one of 20 districts set to receive funding through the Summer Reading Camp Community Partnership Grant. The TEACH (Teaching, Educating and Advancing Children in Hartsville) Foundation will also contribute $29,000 to further the program to at-risk students in grades 4K, 5K, 1st and 2nd grades.

“Summer learning loss is a well-documented problem for students. Children need as much quality exposure to vocabulary acquisition, reading and comprehension as possible. Those experiences, coupled with rigor and relevance, will serve to improve children’s academic futures as they move through school,” said Dr. Eddie Ingram, superintendent of the Darlington County School District. “We are excited to once again partner with the YMCA, Coker College and the TEACH Foundation to provide reading opportunities for students this summer. I’m very proud of our staff who took the initiative to secure these funds.”

The Jump Into Reading Program will include Coker College, the YMCA of the Upper Pee Dee and the TEACH Foundation with the purpose of providing students who are significantly below third-grade reading proficiency the opportunity to receive quality, intensive instructional services and support.

“We know that children who do not read on grade level by the third grade are significantly more likely to leave high school without a diploma than proficient readers,” said Sharman Poplava, executive director of the TEACH Foundation. “TEACH believes the earlier we can promote good reading skills, the better chance we have for 3rd grade students to meet the reading level mark. Creating an additional learning environment for these students to succeed is paramount to their success.”

Hartsville student to appear on new 'Boy Band' show

Hartsville, S.C. (WPDE) — An 18-year-old from Hartsville will be a part of the new ABC series "Boy Band."

Stone Martin, Hartsville High class of 2017, is one of 30 young men who will be on the series premiere this Thursday, according to a news release.

The 'Boy Band' website says "Host Rita Ora welcomes 30 of the best young male vocalists in the country to Hollywood, where they audition before musical icons Emma Bunton, Nick Carter and Timbaland. Only 18 performers will make the cut and advance to the next round. Thus begins the mixing and matching, as the architects form three groups of six to compete in the next phase of the competition."

Viewers will get to vote for their favorite five band members.

Stone lives in Hartsville and studied at the "A Cappella Academy" last summer in Los Angeles and was accepted again for this summer. He is set to be a music major at Berklee College of Music in Boston.

Stone was also on X-Factor when he was in 8th grade, according to a release from school district spokeswoman Audrey Childers.

The series begins this Thursday, June 22, at 8 p.m. on ABC 15.

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.

Jumpstart program provides reading readiness skills

By Sharman Poplava

Learning to read begins in early childhood and research indicates that the ability to read is critical to a child’s success in school. Third grade is a transition period when children should be making the shift from learning to read to reading to learn. Studies show that third grade reading level indicates a child’s chances of graduating high school. If children start behind they tend to stay behind.

Early literacy experiences are critical to a child’s development.

Darlington County Head Start offers a language and reading curriculum through the Jumpstart, Children First program for children 3-5 years old at the Butler site in Hartsville. The program is in partnership with Coker College, the Darlington County School District, and the TEACH Foundation. In 2015, the TEACH Foundation selected Jumpstart as one of the PULSE education initiatives to help address early childhood literacy. The TEACH Foundation a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization funded through the Sonoco Foundation.

Jumpstart is a national early education organization that recruits and trains college students to help close the kindergarten readiness gap. The program provides a curriculum to increase reading and vocabulary skills and alphabet comprehension targeting preschool-age children.

Jumpstart’s college corps program began in 1993 in Connecticut and has since trained more than 45,000 college students and community volunteers, preparing nearly 100,000 children for kindergarten success. Jumpstart’s program is replicated across the country in 14 states and the District of Columbia.

The Jumpstart college corps program offers students a chance to receive high-quality training in early childhood development and education, and gain invaluable hands-on experience in the classroom, all the while giving back to the local community. Jumpstart is a great opportunity for students who are interested in education, looking for a work-study opportunity, or simply love spending time with children.

“The children I work with are amazing. They love Jumpstart and what we do in the classroom. It’s like a game to them but at the same time they’re really learning,” says Kyle Chrzanowski, Coker College student and Jumpstart corps member.

The curriculum, based on language and literacy skills provides children with a consistent routine, low adult-to-child ratios, and positive, meaningful interactions with adults. The curriculum also provides a balance of child-initiated and adult-guided learning opportunities. All of these factors contribute to the progress a child makes towards lifelong success in school and beyond.

By participating in Jumpstart’s program, children can develop the language and literacy skills they need to be ready for school, setting them on a path for lifelong success.

Reading skills must be developed early and over time and reinforced once children enter kindergarten. Taking time to read to a child is one of the most important steps to prepare your child for kindergarten. Here are some additional tips and resources to help start your child on the path to lifelong learning:

• Tumblebook Library for free e-books through the Darlington County Library System

• Paws to Read with dogs at the Darlington Library branch

• MotherRead/FatherRead program through Darlington County First Steps

• Parents As Teachers (PAT) through Darlington County First Steps

• Reach Out to Read program through local doctors’ offices

Every child holds great potential and Jumpstart is one path forward to unlock it.

To learn more about the TEACH Foundation and the Jumpstart, Children First program, visit the Foundation website at

Sharman Poplava is the Executive Director of the TEACH Foundation.

Graduation rates continue to rise across S.C., local schools grab #1 spot

South Carolina (WPDE) — The South Carolina Department of Education and State Superintendent Molly Spearman released the 2015-2016 state report cards for SC schools and districts on Tuesday and trumpeted the fact that the state's high school graduation rate continues to climb.

Spearman said the rate climbed to "an unprecedented 82.6 percent" and pointed out that that was an more than 2 percent increase from last year.

She said it was a "true testament to the collaborative effort of students, parents, and educators to ensure that all graduates are prepared for success and meeting the Profile of the South Carolina Graduate," according to a news release.

And Darlington County School District (DCSD) ranked No. 1 in four-year graduation rate in South Carolina in 2016, according to the data released.

DCSD students graduated at a rate of 94.5 percent, an increase of more than 2 percent from 2015. The state average was 82.6 percent.

Within the school district the rates were as follows:

  • Mayo High School for Math, Science and Technology - 100 percent graduation rate
  • Lamar High School - 98.3 percent
  • Darlington High School - 95.1 percent
  • Hartsville High School - 91.5 percent.

The district pointed out in its release that Darlington High saw an increase to its graduate rate of nearly 4 percent, while Hartsville High’s rate rose by nearly 3 percent.

The data came as part of the SCDE’s release of 2015-2016 state report cards for schools and districts. To see the report for each school click here.

"Report cards are designed to provide a progress report on how schools and districts are performing on the World Class Knowledge, Skills and Characteristics outlined in the Profile of the South Carolina Graduate; and are reported through test score measures that indicate readiness for college using the ACT, SAT, End of Course Tests, and readiness for careers using WorkKeys. The SC READY tests in grades 3-8 are also aligned to show student readiness for the college entrance tests they will ultimately take in high school.

The new report cards also highlight a multitude of opportunities provided to students at each grade level, such as advanced placement, International Baccalaureate and dual credit participation. Report cards also provide vital information to the business community by showing the number of students enrolled in career and technical courses, number of students who have earned an industry certification, and students who participated in an apprenticeship or work based learning opportunity.

Pursuant to South Carolina’s Act 200, report card ratings for both districts and schools are suspended for two years, in 2015 and 2016. Districts and schools will receive report cards under a new accountability system for the 2016-17 school year, which will be released in the fall of 2017," the release said.

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


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

Julie Scott