U.S. Secretary of Education visits Timmonsville schools, FDTC

    U.S. Sec. of Education Betsy DeVos visited the Pee Dee, Feb. 21, 2019. (Credit: Tonya Brown/WPDE)

    U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, along with U.S. Deputy Sec. of Education Mitchell Zais, U.S. Congressman Tom Rice (R – S.C.) and South Carolina Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman, Thursday to see firsthand how education leaders in the state are rethinking education on behalf of students.

    They visited the Timmonsville Educational Center, where reforms put in place by Superintendent Spearman, the South Carolina Department of Education (SCDE) and school leadership have moved the three schools there and 29 more like them out of the state’s lowest-performing category, according to a news release.

    The leaders talked with school administrators and learned how the district is introducing new and innovative programs for students. The district has a new STEM class and a drone pilot program that teaches students how to fly drones.

    District administrators said they’ve made a number of changes since last May when the S.C. Dept. of Education took over the district.

    DeVos and the group also toured the Southeastern Institute of Manufacturing & Technology (SiMT) on the campus of Florence-Darlington Technical College.

    The SiMT website list the following information about the facility:

    • Train employees and customers in your newest processes without interrupting operations or putting them at risk in the manufacturing environment.
    • Hold a full three dimensional prototype in your hand when your new idea was simply a napkin sketch 24 hours ago.
    • Compete with larger competitors in filling product orders - without investing thousands in new equipment and processes.
    • Launch a new product and having the power to monitor your success in real time.
    • Host a large conference or trade show with all of the latest presentation methods without traveling to a larger city.

    The purpose of the facility is to “rethink how their workforce training programs can more closely align with the needs of local industry and set students on a meaningful career track".

    DeVos ended her visit by saying that she is pleased with the progress of education at public and technical schools in South Carolina.

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