contentsHilton Head Island-Bluffton Chamberads

Education

Education

Hilton Head Island and Bluffton are important parts of the Beaufort County School District, which is governed by a citizen school board of 11 elected members and a board-selected superintendent.

Student population is approximately 20,000 from pre-kindergarten through 12th grade, enrolled at five early childhood centers, 17 elementary schools, six middle schools, five high schools and one public charter school. Adult Education is also part of the county’s educational offerings. Career and technical education in such areas as health occupations, business, industrial arts, home arts and computer science are offered at the middle and high school levels, as well as the Beaufort-Jasper Academy for Career Excellence.

About 90 percent of the county’s school-age population is enrolled in the district. Two-thirds of the district’s teachers hold advanced degrees or specialist teaching certificates, and 142 – nine percent of the total staff, hold prestigious certifications from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards.

Hilton Head Island and Bluffton-area schools have earned numerous and varied state and national recognitions for excellence in academics, athletics and other extracurricular activities:

Higher Education

Okatie Elementary School was named a 2013 National Blue Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education. Bluffton High School and Okatie Elementary School were named as semi-finalists for the 2014 Palmetto’s Finest Awards and Hilton Head Island High’s athletic programs have won the state Director’s Cup, which recognizes the state’s top athletic programs, for the last three years in a row.

Hilton Head Island has three International Baccalaureate Program schools. Hilton Head IB Elementary School is one of 559 schools worldwide with an International Baccalaureate Primary Years Program World School designation. Hilton Head Island Middle School is an IB Middle Years Program candidate school and Hilton Head Island High School offers the IB Diploma Program as a candidate school.

Boosted by five consecutive years of steadily improving student test scores and on-time high school graduation rates, the Beaufort County School District earned a Good rating on a 2013 report card issued by the South Carolina Department of Education. The district earned a grade of B on its 2013 federal accountability report.

Graduating seniors in the class of 2013 earned a record $22.8 million in college scholarships, and 19 district schools won 2013 Palmetto Gold or Palmetto Silver Awards for student academic achievement from the South Carolina Department of Education. Hilton Head Island High School and Beaufort Middle School were winners of the 2012 Palmetto’s Finest Schools Awards, among the state’s top honors. Beaufort is one of only four districts in the award’s 34-year history to have two winners in the same year.

When entering the Beaufort County School District for the first time, students must provide:

(1) a record of immunization from their physician or the county health department (2) birth certificate (3) Social Security card

When transferring from another district, students must provide:

(1) the transcript of their academic record, including a record of immunization (2) birth certificate (3) Social Security card

For more information about school enrollment, attendance zones, student services or for general information, contact the district at (843) 322-2300 or visit the website’s “Parents and Students” section at this link: http://www.beaufort.k12.sc.us/pages/BCSD.

In order to invest the best in youth and education, the Hilton Head Island-Bluffton Chamber of Commerce has supported a public-private partnership approach to public education. On Hilton Head Island, parents, teachers, school administrators and students join forces to promote and enhance the learning process. In addition to parent-teacher organizations, every school sponsors an individual School Improvement Council, which advises the principal on issues relating to school improvement. These parent-driven organizations provide community buy-in and raise money and community awareness to augment scholastic innovations, instructional strategies, resources, facilities and overall learning conditions.

Hilton Head Island and Bluffton also offer five private academies to educate children from grades one through 12.

HIGHER EDUCATION
The University of South Carolina Beaufort reaches back to 1795 and has a nearly 50-year relationship with the University of South Carolina. USCB is the fastest-growing four-year school in the USC system, with a student teacher ratio of 18:1 and an enrollment of 1,822 full-time students in the fall 2013 semester.

USCB students pursue baccalaureate degrees in the liberal arts, sciences and professional programs. The university's two campuses, located on 200 acres at the gateway to Hilton Head Island and on the waterfront in historic downtown Beaufort, serve a diverse student body. USCB's faculty of scholars and professionals is committed to undergraduate teaching and learning in small class settings.

The Technical College of the Lowcountry offers programs in some of the Lowcountry's and the nation's fastest-growing career fields. It offers a variety of educational options, including associate degree programs in technical and business areas, diploma programs and professional certificates.

The college also offers transfer block programs and awards Associate in Arts or Science degrees, which may be transferred in full to any four-year public college or university in South Carolina, as well as to many out of state. Nearly 3,500 students enrolled in TCL’s 80-plus academic programs last academic year.

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