New North Charleston elementary school first of its kind in SC

By Gregory

NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) - A partnership between a Lowcountry private school and a school district would be the first of its kind in the state.

Meeting Street Academy and the Charleston County School District joined forces earlier this year to build a new elementary school in North Charleston. The two turned the old Brentwood Middle School at Leeds Avenue into an elementary school.

On Saturday, the 144 kids zoned to go to the school met their principal and teachers for the first time.

"I am so happy my kids go to this school because I really want to them in a good school," said Nicole Suders, a mother of two girls.

In the school's gym, parents and their kids feasted on barbeque and played games as Principal Sarah Campbell introduced herself to every parent and child.

"It's settings like this where we all get to come together meet each other and answer any questions parents may have," said Campbell.

Campbell brings 15 years of experience to the school. She says what makes it unique is the extra money put into programs.

"If there are programs that our students need above and beyond what Charleston County would traditionally provide, we do have private funding," said Campbell. "We also believe in extended days so when school is out at 3:30 p.m., students will be able to continue their school day until 6 p.m. and we'll provide dinner from 5:30 p.m. to 6 p.m."

Campbell says part of what makes the school unique is starting kids' education as young as 3 years old.

"I am so glad they extended to three because my son is smart and I don't want him sitting at home watching TV. I want him getting his education," said Diana Hinton, whose son will be attending the school.

"I think this whole thing is a great opportunity and that it's open to the public and not just certain people who live in certain places with a certain amount of money," said Suders.

Campbell says the first year the school will only serve children from ages 3 to first grade, but over time will expand to the fifth grade and serve more than 500 students.

The school board voted in February to allow the public-private partnership creating the new school.