Grantee Corner  |  Florence County School District Three

Six students stand in a row on stage with a winter set behind them
Olanta Elementary Creative Arts and Science students perform in “Frosty”

Three students conduct an experiment with a balloon on top of a soda bottle
Olanta Elementary Creative Arts and Science students participate in STEM Explorers class

A male student stands over a pile of sweet potatoes
Olanta Elementary Creative Arts and Science student helps his class harvest sweet potatoes

Students gather around a page with puzzles on it
Olanta Elementary Creative Arts and Science students use critical thinking and problem-solving skills to crack codes and messages to unlock a box

Three students stand on stage in period costumes
J. Paul Truluck Creative Arts and Science sixth grade students perform a scene from “Oliver Twist”

Headshot of Cutina Barrineau
Cutina Barrineau, FCSD3 Project Director

Florence County School District Three (FCSD3) in Lake City, South Carolina, serves 3,491 students. Here, Magnet Schools Assistance Program (MSAP) funds help to create premier public schools with more choice by transforming two schools into creative arts and sciences magnet schools. Both magnet schools enable all students to pursue rigorous, engaging programs of study that meet challenging academic standards and provide preparation for college and/or careers. 

Olanta Creative Arts and Science Magnet School serves approximately 350 students in grades 4K-5. Past enrollment at Olanta Elementary was based on specific attendance zones, but now, as part of the MSAP grant, it has open enrollment, which enables students across FCSD3 to apply to the school. At Olanta, students engage with the theme through project-based learning approaches designed to foster a range of critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Olanta offers course and extracurricular opportunities such as creative dance and movement, creative art design, schoolwide choral classes, an outdoor amphitheater for performances, a news media room for schoolwide news station shows and student-produced presentations, and choreography and performance classes. Afterschool clubs include steel drum band, chorus, and an art studio facilitated by local artists, all of which performed for the community at the school’s Arts Extravaganza night. In addition, the school partners with South Carolina Governor’s School of Arts to provide an arts outreach program to Olanta’s summer school students. Olanta students are also able to enter artwork in a local professional art competition hosted by another partner, Artfields.

J. Paul Truluck Creative Arts and Science Magnet School serves approximately 275 students in grades 6-9 in the first year of the MSAP grant, with plans to add a grade level each year to become a 6-12 middle/high school with approximately 600 students. Prior to becoming an MSAP school, J. Paul Truluck was the district’s school for all sixth-grade students. Now the school is a choice option for students across FCSD3 and in neighboring districts. J. Paul Truluck provides project-based learning opportunities that develop competencies in both the arts and science while challenging students intellectually and creatively. In addition, partners provide out-of-school experiences such as field trips to the South Carolina Barrier Islands, South Carolina Lynches River State Park, and Charleston’s Spoletto Festival. Students presented their projects to the community at the school’s first STEAM night and can participate in an afterschool engineering club. J. Paul Truluck is also partnering with the S2TEM Centers to create an 8-day summer engineering academy.

MSAP funds have also been used to provide extensive professional development. Each school has an outdoor environmental science lab to facilitate hands-on learning. Both schools have partnered with Moore Farms Botanical Garden to attend and participate in the summer academy offered by Edible School Yard in San Francisco, California. This week-long professional development opportunity allows J. Paul Truluck’s STEM Coach and Olanta’s Resident Scientist to learn about integrating problem-based learning and cross-curricular themes around agri-horticulture and environmental science. Other professional development is provided by the Buck Institute on project-based learning, Flippen Group Capturing Kids’ Hearts on building effective student-teacher relationships, Project WET Training on water education, and South Carolina Take Action Training on environmental education. Staff also collaborate during inquiry-based professional development sessions and curriculum writing days.

Dr. Cutina Powell Barrineau, FCSD3’s MSAP Project Director, has been an education professional for 22 years. Dr. Barrineau understands the importance of providing opportunities and choices to students, families, and community members. Through the FCSD3 MSAP grant, Dr. Barrineau works closely with all stakeholders to ensure FCSD3 is a premier district of choice for all students and their families.