Grantee Corner  |  Richland County School District One

Two students point at a board with Chinese characters on it
Carver-Lyon Elementary Chinese immersion students read Chinese characters and select their interactive center for math rotations

A child smiles in front of an oversized book
Carver-Lyon Elementary Spanish immersion student reads a Big Book

Three students smile for the camera
Carver-Lyon Elementary preK Spanish immersion students play collaboratively in their flexible seating classroom

Two female students hug
Carver-Lyon Elementary Chinese immersion students share a hug during morning meeting time

A female student reads a book in Chinese
Carver-Lyon Elementary Chinese immersion student enjoys a book in the classroom library

A female student reads a book in Chinese
Carver-Lyon Elementary student reads a book in Mandarin

headshot of Teresa Turner
Teresa Turner, Richland One Project Director

Richland County School District One (Richland One) in Columbia, South Carolina, educates more than 22,000 preK-12 students at 52 schools and education centers in urban, suburban, and rural neighborhoods. The district’s mission is to be a leader in transforming lives through education and empowering all students to achieve their potential and dreams. Richland One, in collaboration with an engaged community, is committed to ensuring that each learner achieves his or her potential in a safe, caring, academically challenging, and diverse learning environment that will develop productive citizens for a changing world. 

The vision for Richland One’s Magnet Schools Assistance Program (MSAP) project is that all students will have the opportunity to succeed academically through a high-quality education in an environment characterized by social, economic, ethnic, and racial diversity. To improve student achievement, the MSAP project focuses on four areas: 
  1. Desegregation: Implement recruitment and selection approaches that promote socioeconomic integration and reduce minority group isolation;
  2. Academic success: Improve academic achievement through an educationally challenging and diverse learning environment that empowers all students to reach their potential;
  3. Magnet themes: Implement evidence-based leadership magnet programs in language immersion and career development through innovative instructional approaches and supports that bring together students from different backgrounds; and 
  4. Professional development: Ensure students have access to effective educators through high-quality professional learning that supports improvements in practice and sustainable integration of magnet themes.
Using MSAP funds, Richland One offers four evidenced-based leadership magnet programs in language immersion and career development. 

A year prior to receiving the MSAP grant, Carver-Lyon Elementary School piloted its Spanish and Mandarin Chinese language immersion magnet program during the 2016-17 school year to preK and Kindergarten students. Using MSAP funds, the magnet program expands by one grade level each year so that all preK- 5 students will participate in the magnet program. In addition, during the 2018-19 school year, Carver-Lyon will add a schoolwide global leadership component and a Spanish- and Mandarin Chinese-related arts component for all language immersion students. During the 2019-20 school year, the school will add French immersion beginning in Kindergarten. 

Carver-Lyon’s language immersion classes have out-of-school field studies at Riverbanks Zoo and EdVenture Children’s Museum, and attended International Day at the State Fair Grounds, and a performance at the Koger Center for Arts. In addition, this school year, the school held three Celebrations of Learning with parents and students to celebrate attendance and academic achievement and growth; a celebration of Hispanic culture  carnival and parade a parade featuring the king and queen of carnival, who have been voted on by students; and a two-week celebration of Chinese New Year with a parade and lantern festival.

In addition to expanding Carver-Lyon’s magnet program, Richland One has new magnet programs at Bradley Elementary, Sanders Middle, and Keenan High. All three schools have a schoolwide leadership component and a career-focused magnet program. These three schools are pursuing Leadership Lighthouse School status through The Leader in Me program, the highest status a school can receive through that program.

At Bradley Elementary, the magnet theme is Career Awareness for grades K-5. Teachers provide students with activities that develop skills to encourage success in future careers and educational experiences. 
Sanders Middle incorporates career exploration, in which students explore various careers through projects and activities that focus on identifying interests and how they relate to specific careers. Students in the career exploration magnet have numerous opportunities for on-the-job experiences, apprenticeships, and virtual collaborations with area industries. 

At Keenan High School, students can choose between four career academies: hospitality and tourism, government, entrepreneurship, and engineering. Students have hands-on projects and internships, and can earn college credit or career certifications by the time they graduate high school. 

The staff at all schools are also participating in extensive professional development that includes customized training materials, textbooks, and resources to train project staff, teachers, and administrators on topics such as global leadership development, project-based learning and thematic unit development, and arts integration. In addition, staff attend a Language Immersion Summer Institute, a Leadership Summer Institute, and the Leader in Me Symposium.

Dr. Teresa Turner is the Project Director for Richland One's MSAP grant. She is a lifelong learner and a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) and Salem College. She holds education degrees in political science, elementary education, and educational leadership. She has taught both undergraduate and graduate courses at UNC and has served as the Interim Director of Elementary Education and Staff Development for Chapel-Hill/Carrboro City Schools. She also served as a principal of three schools with magnet programs that included International Baccalaureate, Montessori, and language immersion themes. Her experience also includes a focus on culturally relevant pedagogy, biligualism, social justice leadership, and mindfulness.