Jasper County School District (JCSD) is a small rural school district located in Jasper County, South Carolina. Jasper County is located in the Lowcountry region of SC. According to the 2010 census, Jasper County had a population of 24,777 people and 8,749 households. The racial makeup of the county was 53.9% White, 43.1% Black or African-American, 0.37% Native American, 0.9% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 3.39% from other races, and 1.3% from two or more races. Of the population, 15.1% were Hispanic or Latino of any race. Of the percent of persons age 25 years +, the educational level of Jasper County Residents consists of 78.3% high school graduate or higher and 13.0% bachelor’s degree or higher.
Jasper County School District serves approximately 2,714 students, Pre-K – 12th grade. The student body is made up of approximately 1838 African Americans, 303 Whites, 758 Hispanics/Latinos, and 15 others. The overall district poverty level is 88.5% and all students currently receive free meals under Community Eligibility.
JCSD has two campuses. The north campus is located in Ridgeland and houses Ridgeland Elementary School, a K-5 school, and Ridgeland-Hardeeville High School, a 9-12 school. The south campus is located in Hardeeville and houses Hardeeville Elementary School, a K-5 school and Hardeeville-Ridgeland Middle School, a 6-8 school. The overall configuration of the district is two elementary schools, one middle school, one high school, and one alternative school. The system provides college and career support through offerings at the Beaufort-Jasper Academy for Career Excellence (BJ-ACE) for sophomores, juniors, and seniors. BJACE offers 14 different vocational programs, and all programs focus on producing students who are qualified either to attend college or begin their careers.
JCSD is governed by a nine-member Board of Trustees. During April of 2015, U.S. District Court Judge Richard Gergel of Charleston approved a plan to redistrict the school board to address compliance issues with the “one person, one vote” requirement due to population growth in some areas of the county. The redistricting resulted in a split of districts 6 and 7. A special election was scheduled on September 22, 2015. The election resulted in four new members joining five incumbents.
The district’s former superintendent served for approximately five years (July 2010 – December 2015). Immediately after, an interim superintendent served for six months. A superintendent search was conducted by McPherson-Jacobson during the spring of 2016. Public forums were held to involve as many stakeholders as possible in the process. Mr. Donald E. Andrews was selected by the Board of Trustees and began serving as our Superintendent of Schools on July 1st. Andrews, from Tennessee, has 21 years of experience as a superintendent in Tennessee and North Carolina. Under Mr. Andrews’ leadership, the Board of Trustees, administrators, staff, and stakeholders have embraced our new motto, “Jasper County School District: Where the Classroom is Our Focus.”
JCSD has three Title I and three Priority Schools (Ridgeland Elementary, Hardeeville Elementary, and Hardeeville-Ridgeland Middle School). All schools have been challenged with high teacher and administrator turnover and low student performance on State Performance Assessments. There has been a concerted effort on the part of the district and stakeholders to increase parental involvement and volunteer services. A growing number of volunteers from communities throughout Jasper County and a large population of the Sun City retirement community are being recruited and will be placed in our schools and Community Outreach Programs to provide a variety of services to our students and parents.
To accelerate student performance and ensure they are college and career ready, JCSD continues to evaluate its educational practices, resources, governance, and student services to determine areas of strengths and challenges. Structures and programs are being put in place to move the district forward. The following are a few of our current priorities:
* Continue the development of a viable guaranteed curriculum
* Implement Academic Non-negotiables
* Implement behavior management structures
* Multi-Tier Support System in the elementary grades
* Timely student intervention (academic and behavioral)
* High-quality professional learning opportunities for all staff