Our Schools

Executive Summary

Provide a general description of the learning experiences in which the STEM students were most successful. Additionally, generally describe the learning experiences that need improvement for greater student success.


Spring Valley High School opened in 1970 in a rural area of the Midlands.  In 2008 we moved into a new 450,000 sq. ft. state-of-the-art facility with cutting-edge technology, science and fine arts labs designed for specific content, and exceptional athletic facilities.  Located in Richland County, the school community is a mixture of suburban, rural, and military families – approximately 45,000 citizens (Federal Census, Dec. 2016) -- a 2% decline since 2010.  Retail and business growth in the area has increased steadily over the past few years which is slowly creating a more urban profile.
 
Currently, we have a diverse student body of approximately 2,100 students, including African American (52%), White (29%), Hispanic (9.2%), Asian (6.5%) students, and other (3.3%) of all socioeconomic levels with household incomes ranging from 18% below $10,000 per year to 12% above $75,000.  Within the past three years, our Hispanic enrollment has almost doubled, and we have seen an increase in lower socioeconomic families and a decrease of higher income families moving into our area.  Adding to our diversity, we have students from single-parent and traditional families; students whose parents are laborers, military personnel, and professionals; and native English speakers alongside second language learners.  Regardless of background, these families have a keen sense of pride in our school. 
 
Probably our greatest strength is our use of technology in the hands of great teachers, allowing us to provide students opportunities to cultivate and shape their own learning.  The use of technology permits our teachers to be great orchestrators of learning that involves collaboration, critical thinking and problem solving, research and experimentation; technology allows teachers to become facilitators and learning to be personalized.  The combination of being a Google and 1-1 technology school provides avenues for teachers to engage students through interactive learning with countless apps and programs.  Opportunities for collaboration and feedback are extended beyond the school day through digital tools like Google documents, chat, and email.  Students and parents have greater access to information, class materials, and virtual learning.  Our use of technology as a teaching and learning tool opens doors to greater possibilities than ever before for our students.
 
Another major strength is the comprehensive nature of our STEM-embedded curriculum, which insures that every student has multiple opportunities for success.  To meet the needs of diverse students, we offer college prep, honors, and advanced placement courses in all core content areas and in many of our elective areas.  Our modified block schedule also addresses the diversity of student needs.   Students are able to take multiple math, science, and technology courses within each year.  We extend our day with “early bird” and “late bird” classes before and after our regular schedule and by offering students opportunities to take an array of virtual courses.  Essential learning for students is based on state and national standards. State adopted texts are utilized and supplemented with all manner of hard copy and digital texts and technology resources.  Classroom experiences are extended with field studies and experiential learning.  Teachers employ all levels of Bloom’s taxonomy with emphasis on STEM and higher-order thinking skills in student-centered classrooms.  
 
Our continual review of data has made us cognizant of areas in need of improvement.  For example, we are implementing actions and strategies to help us better serve our Hispanic/Latino student achievement in all areas and to close achievement gaps that are evident for Hispanic/Latino and African American students.  Although our graduation rate is above the state average, our goal is to increase it by 5% per year.  In addition, over the next three years, we aim to increase the freshmen promotion rate to 95%, our overall EOC pass rate by 5% per year, and our AP enrollment by 3% and the pass rate by at least 1% per year.

 

Provide examples of how the STEM educators and facilitators implement and sustain the core tenets of an effective and age-appropriate STEM curriculum.


The heart of the principal’s philosophy is to focus on what is right for students:  a school where children are valued and respected; where diversity is addressed and celebrated; and where children are treated as our most valuable resource and best hope for the future.  To accomplish this, he has encouraged teamwork through the shared leadership that he employs with administrators, teachers, parents, and community members.  He works to build a community that publicly demonstrates great pride in a school; a community that is supportive and involved as a partner in the education of all its members.  The principal’s vision is a school where students are actively engaged in learning; where lifelong learning is an expectation, opportunity, and commitment; and where success and high achievement are manifested in unquestioned quality performance. 
 
We don’t have a STEM program; we are a STEM school.  As a school, our charge is to foster in every student the traits identified in the Profile of the SC Graduate: integrity, self-direction, global perspective, perseverance, work ethic, and interpersonal skills.  These are STEM tenants.  Our students will be the creative and innovative thinkers and problem solvers of the future who understand the importance of collaborative teamwork and communication.