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Virtual school wins Free Times Best Charter School Award

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Columbia, SC – SC Whitmore School (SCWS), a Columbia based virtual public high school and member school of the SC Public Charter School District, was named the 2020 Best Charter School by the Post and Courier’s Free Times. The Best of Columbia contest was founded in 1989, making it the longest-running and most prestigious readers’ choice contest in the Midlands. Over 450,000 votes were cast during the 2020 Best of Columbia contest. 

SCWS was founded in 2011, in order to support at-risk youth and to provide a high quality online public educational option to students across South Carolina. Over that period of time, more than 650 students have graduated from SCWS, while being fully prepared for both college and career. The most recent College Freshman Report, released by the SC Department of Education, showed that over 98% of SCWS graduates passed all of their courses during their freshman year at their respective post-secondary college or university. 

Many of these graduates have credited their success at SCWS to their innovative approach to education. SC Whitmore School provides a personalized curriculum and online learning platform, which allows students to accelerate in courses they are strong in, while also taking the time they need to catch up in other courses. SCWS has a motto of #SchoolYourWay which allows all students the opportunity to thrive, with the support and guidance of highly qualified, trained, and certified professional educators.

Executive Director John Loveday said, “I am incredibly honored for SC Whitmore School to be named the 2020 Best Charter School. This is evidence of both the quality of our faculty and staff, as well as the community and culture we have built at SCWS since 2011. I would like to thank everyone within the SCWS family from all across South Carolina for taking the time to vote for SCWS. I can promise you all that we will continue to work hard and grow as a school, in order to continue expanding our outreach to young people across our state that may be in need of a high quality public online education.”

The SCWS Board Chair, Shennice Cleckley, is also honored and truly proud to serve such an innovative public school.

“On behalf of the SCWS Board of Directors, we would like to congratulate the SCWS faculty and staff on the incredible recognition of being named the 2020 Best Charter School,” said Cleckley. “It is such an honor to serve as the board chair for such a creative and groundbreaking public school, such as SC Whitmore School.”

As SCWS continues to grow the school continues to see the positive impact on students in communities across South Carolina. This past school year SCWS graduated a school record of 136 students, representing practically every county across South Carolina. Unique to any other public school in South Carolina, the class of 2020 was also made up of 26 students who graduated high school either one or two years early, compared to the traditional four years of high school. The 2020 SCWS Valedictorian, Rylee Burr of West Columbia, graduated from SCWS in only two years with a 5.102 GPA. After graduation Ms. Burr plans to join the United States Air Force.

The South Carolina Public Charter School District Superintendent, Chris Neeley, is overjoyed by the continued success of SC Whitmore School.

“SC Whitmore School continues to show South Carolina and educators across the nation when innovation, technology, and hard work are combined, success will follow,” said Neeley. “The motto of the SC Public Charter School District is ‘Excellence, Innovation, Results’ and SCWS displays all of those characteristics. It is an honor for one of our member schools to be named the 2020 Best Charter School by the Post and Courier’s Free Times. I look forward to continuing to work with SCWS, as they strive to create a catalyst for positive change in South Carolina public education.”

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