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Educating our Future

Simpsonville is a community which values education. The community’s 12 elementary, middle and high schools, which are part of the Greenville County Schools, teem with activity. Programs abound which help students strive for successful futures, no matter what their particular talents and interests.

Greenville County Schools educates an average of 73,116 students annually, spread over more than 800 square miles in Greenville County, as well as small parts of Spartanburg and Laurens Counties. Approximately 12,000 of those students live in Simpsonville, attending 12 schools, a child development center, and a career technology center.

Among those facilities many state and national awards are sprinkled including a National Blue Ribbon School, two Palmetto’s Finest schools, a National PTA School of Excellence, a National School of Character, a South Carolina School of Promise, and one that earned the Balrige Model of Continuous Improvement recognition.

During 2014, the last year for which results are available, Hillcrest High School, the high school which serves Simpsonville, boasted 21 Palmetto Fellows and its students earned $11 million in college scholarships.

“Recognized as a school system of excellence, Greenville County Schools has earned district-wide National Accreditation from the AdvancED Accreditation Commission,” said Dr. W. Burke Royster, Greenville County Schools Superintendent. “We are the state leader in school choice, with about 15 percent of our students taking advantage of the choice option to match their needs and interests. Our students outperform the state and national averages on the SAT and ACT college entrance tests, and our graduation rate of 84.2 percent has increased more than 16 percent since 2012.”

The schools in Simpsonville and the entire county are emphasizing preparation for life beyond high school through their new “Graduation Plus” initiative, which begins when young children enter school for the first time.

Under this new initiative, elementary school faculties are focused on building a sound foundation in the basic disciplines and increasing students’ exposure to a variety of careers. At the middle school level, enhanced academic rigor is paired with greater exposure to career and college opportunities and an introduction to 16 basic career clusters. During high school, students are now building their electives around potential college or career paths.

The Golden Strip Career Technology Center serves schools in the Simpsonville area. It offers career preparation in culinary arts, web design, welding, carpentry, automotive technology and collision repair, HVAC, law enforcement, and more.

“Parents will be hearing more about Graduation Plus, a district-wide initiative from pre-K through high school to ensure all students are career and college ready. We have expanded learning opportunities to provide students with courses that match their interests and skills while preparing them to graduate with a diploma, plus a technical certification and/or college credit in a major,” Dr. Royster said.

In this way they are helping all of their students develop world-class skills by providing diverse opportunities for individual growth through project-based learning and the implementation of innovative courses in the arts, architecture, engineering, industry, business, law, agriculture, health science, and more.

In addition, the district’s choice program, which approximately 15 percent of its students and their parents utilize, allows students to focus their studies on their individual interests and skills by allowing them to opt to attend one of several magnet schools, a Fine Arts Center, four International Baccalaureate Diploma programs, four career and technical education centers, and other schools with specific focuses.

Incidentally, the graduation rate at Simpsonville’s Hillcrest High School – 87.4 percent – is even higher than the district average and in 2016, 83 percent of those graduates announced their intention to attend a two or four-year college or a technical school, compared to the national average of 66 percent.

One of their options is nearby Greenville Technical College’s Brashier Campus (GTC). It is the neighborhood college campus for residents of Simpsonville, Mauldin, Fountain Inn, and other nearby communities. It houses core programs including nursing, respiratory care, welding, industrial maintenance/mechatronics, and fire science. Plus, there’s a university transfer program for early bachelor’s degree and general education courses needed for any major.

In fact, high school students are encouraged to enroll in GTC courses while completing their secondary education. The college even accommodates athletic and extra curricular schedules whenever possible. It is a good place for local residents to begin their higher education.

Greenville Technical College also plays an active part in its local communities, said Frank Wilburn, campus coordinator at the Brashier Campus. GTC administrators understand that an educated workforce attracts new businesses and encourages economic development in a region. So Wilburn partners closely with local municipal, business, and education leaders on a variety of local councils in order to foster community growth.

Attracting new businesses and supporting the success of current businesses is vital to every community, Wilburn said, “because business and industry not only provide jobs to area residents which in turn allow them to buy groceries, gas, and housing, but they also generate taxes that subsidize the roads, schools, parks, libraries and other public resources that every community relies on.”

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