Grantee Corner  |  Richland School District Two

A group of students sits on the floor and watches a CPR demonstration.
MED at Bridge Creek Elementary fifth-grade students learn CPR from their Medical Lab teacher.

Two students lift kettle bells
SAIL at Rice Creek Elementary students work in the Echo Lab’s physical therapy space to apply knowledge learned about muscle groups and safe practices when participating in various medical and health-related activities

A group of students move pieces of paper around on a wall
Kelly Mill Med Pro students complete a jigsaw activity to piece together syllabus information and key scholar expectations as part of the school’s recognition as an AVID National Demonstration School

A teacher and student look at a full-scale model of a human skeleton
AIMS at Ridge View High School sophomore student learns about the skeletal system from the Health Science teacher

Students tape together a vertical tower of spaghetti noodles
SAIL at Rice Creek Elementary fourth-grade students complete a STEAM challenge using spaghetti noodles to build a tall structure

Students work on laptops in front of a wall sign that says AVID
Kelly Mill Middle Med Pro students learn about possible career pathways and career clusters by completing an online career assessment inventory

Students in medical gear wash their hands.
Ridge View High School AIMS students implement their learning of hand washing and patient care through active application in the school’s medical simulation room

Students lay on their backs in a circle and hold up colorful drumsticks
MED at Bridge Creek Elementary students enjoy the school’s newest arts integration activity, Pound Fitness, which combines musical content and purposeful physical movement

Emily Caskey, Richland Two Project Director

South Carolina’s Richland School District Two (Richland Two) takes pride in being the district of choice—where every school is an excellent choice. Nestled in the northeast corner of Columbia in Richland County, Richland Two is the largest school district in the state’s Midlands and one of the fastest growing districts in the state. Richland Two serves more than 28,000 Pre-K through grade 12 students, and employs more than 3,500 full-time professionals. The student population is 58.0 percent African American, 24.0 percent White, 10.0 percent Hispanic, 4.8 percent Other, 3.0 percent Asian, and 0.2 percent American Indian/Alaska Native. Richland County is also home to the nation’s largest and most active military training installation for the U.S. Army, Fort Jackson. With 83 of the 242 miles of the district located on Fort Jackson property, more than 9 percent of Richland Two students are military connected. 

In October 2017, four schools received Magnet Schools Assistance Program (MSAP) funding to implement the Med Pro 21: Healthcare for a Caring Community project. Each school uses MSAP funds to incorporate a science, technology, engineering, arts, mathematics, and medical (STEAMM) theme into its curriculum. The schools provide a continuum of unique, theme-based learning opportunities for all students while focusing on the goals of increasing diversity by reducing minority isolation, improving socioeconomic balance, and engaging students in high-quality educational opportunities that build academic success and personal growth.

The schools focus on exposure to job opportunities in areas such as medicine, engineering, web design, and entrepreneurship; building awareness and regular application of healthy lifestyle choices and practices; collaborative learning opportunities across all content areas; and the integration of arts instruction. The schools’ new names reflect their magnet themes: Medical, Engineering and Discovery through the Arts (MED) at Bridge Creek Elementary; Rice Creek Elementary School of Academics, Innovation, and Leadership (SAIL) Magnet; Kelly Mill Middle Med Pro Magnet School; and Ridge View High School Arts Innovation for Medical Sciences (AIMS) Magnet.

MED at Bridge Creek Elementary offers a medical lab to support student awareness and learning of health and wellness, an engineering robotics lab to engage students in hands-on learning, and a maker space to emphasize student collaboration and creativity. Rice Creek Elementary SAIL students create individualized Health Academic Profiles and participate in Leader in Me character education. At Kelly Mill Med Pro Magnet, students learn about personal health vitals and medical care and are exposed to medical and health science careers. The challenging curriculum focus is balanced by “The 7 Mindsets” character education program for building social and emotional skills to become healthy, lifelong learners.

Ridge View AIMS Magnet provides a medical simulation lab, and its classes in advanced biomedical topics prepare students for postsecondary education in health care. Students interested in the arts can work with guest artists throughout the year, and a Black Box theatre regularly showcases student talents. Other areas of career focus include engineering, sports medicine, master hair care and barbering, web design, and entrepreneurship. 

In addition to the STEAMM theme at each school, Richland Two emphasizes preparing all students for the 21st century. All districts in South Carolina have worked with the State Department of Education to adopt the Profile of the South Carolina Graduate. The framework that supports the Profile is vital to helping the state address the need for a sustainable, educated, and qualified workforce. This profile is embedded into each school’s magnet curriculum through culturally relevant teaching practices and the use of Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) instructional strategies in all classrooms. To further promote a diverse, accepting school culture, the project worked with a diversity expert to conduct needs assessments at each school and implement strategies based on data.

Parents and partnerships in Richland Two are essential to the success of all students. Each Med Pro 21 school has a Parent Collaboration room that provides a comfortable and relaxed space where teachers, parents, and partners can come together to talk about how they can support students and the work of the school. In addition, parent and community members are invited to events where students showcase their learning. To help recruit students, families and students have the chance to attend the district’s fall Choice and Magnet Fair, where the choice policy and magnet school selection processes are explained. Then, after the New Year, each school holds a Magnet Night to provide an up-close opportunity to learn about the school’s theme and programming. The MSAP Project Director presents information about the MSAP schools at local venues, such as the district’s annual Realtor Breakfast.

The district’s mission statement says, “In partnership with our community, we develop global citizens of tomorrow—citizens who are prepared to lead and excel in their chosen pathways.” The Med Pro 21 project in Richland Two will celebrate every success and grow through each challenge as it builds new opportunities for students.

MSAP Project Director Emily P. Caskey has been a classroom teacher and educator for more than 13 years. Ms. Caskey managed implementation of the U.S. Department of Education’s Race to the Top grant in Richland Two prior to becoming the Project Director for the Med Pro 21 project. Ms. Caskey holds a bachelor’s degree in elementary education, a master’s degree in divergent learning, an Ed.S. in educational leadership, and certifications in Elementary Education and School Administration.