Charleston landscape

Charleston County School District

Accelerating Turnaround

In 2019, Charleston County School District’s Acceleration Schools—a subset of schools on the state improvement list—were in need of significant support. Now, they are outperforming their pre-pandemic learning and outpacing growth for the district at large.

Over four years, Leading Educators has partnered with CCSD to bolster teacher knowledge and skill in math and English language arts, and it’s paying off.

About the Partnership

The Challenge & Opportunity

Charleston County School District, which serves more than 50,000 students across 1,000 square miles of coastal lands, is determined to educate and support every child to achieve college, career, and citizenship readiness. But to build on existing strengths and erase structural gaps that have historically disadvantaged students of color, leaders know they need to improve teaching and the quality of curricular materials.

In 2019, school ratings were on the rise, but nearly half of students had a below-proficient grasp of math and reading standards as measured by test scores. CCSD leaders also found that many teachers needed additional support to implement high-quality curricular materials, deepen their content knowledge, and better tailor classroom experiences.

In the fall of 2020, the district approached Leading Educators for a partnership to bolster teaching and strengthen students’ access to grade-level learning. Now, several years of data show that work is paying off.

  • Acceleration Schools saw significant improvement in math and ELA state assessments from 2021 to 2023 despite national declines in achievement seen across the country.
  • 78% of schools supported by Leading Educators in ELA surpassed their 2019 (pre-pandemic) state scores in 2022, maintaining progress through focused work on instruction.

Solution: Building a System for Excellence

Leaders have worked diligently to build the conditions and learning infrastructure for teachers to practice what they teach in collaboration.

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"After so many years of education, I see the power of high-quality instructional materials, strong PD, and an amazing team. You can get your teachers where they need to be because that's what they're craving.”
Jacqueline Haynes, Associate Superintendent Acceleration Schools

Behind the Change

Over four years, Leading Educators has helped Acceleration Schools design and implement ongoing professional learning and coaching for teachers tied to high-quality instructional materials.

As these schools implement vetted, common curricula, school-based leaders and instructional coaches participate in intensive learning, data reflection, and lesson practice that they can turnkey at their schools for other teachers in weekly sessions.

Simultaneously, Leading Educators designers and facilitators work alongside Acceleration School Leaders to set learning objectives, bolster design capacity, and monitor the set of supports that participating schools receive. All ELA and math teachers in Acceleration Schools participate in shared learning once per quarter alongside principals, assistant principals, coaches, and PLC leaders to strengthen content knowledge and instructional skill.

Charleston educators in a session

Partnership By The Numbers

Icon of a stack of books

100% of teachers

implementing high-quality instructional materials (HQIM) across Acceleration Schools

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4,230 students enrolled

in Acceleration Schools

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200+ teachers

supported with ongoing professional learning in ELA and math

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300 minutes

of weekly planning time and 60+ min collaborative PLC time

Meet the Charleston Team

Charleston leaders and educators have access to an experienced team from Leading Educators that includes strategists, designers, facilitators, and coaches.
Michael Freeland smiles

Michael Freeland

Senior Program Director for Charleston
Michael leads our partnership with Charleston County School District.
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Alisha Watts Burr

Senior Director of Networks
Alisha Watts Burr is a teacher development specialist and educator who is driven by her love of learning and commitment to high-quality education for all students.
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Reanna Patterson

Director of Content - ELA
Reanna is an educator and facilitator who supports district leaders, coaches, and teachers in delivering high quality and equitable ELA instruction.
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Ikecia Sigh

Instructional Leadership Coach
Ikecia is one of the Directors of Content and Coaching on our Charleston project. She loves coaching others professionally and personally because coaching has helped her find her niche in life.
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Chavon VanHooks

Director of Content, Math
Chavon VanHooks is a Math Instructional Leadership Coach for educators in Charleston County School District.
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Dr. Britney Wray

Director of Content & Coaching, Math
Britney Wray is a former Washington, D.C.-based teachers and school leader who leads design of Secondary Math content for our Detroit partnership.
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Regina Atkins

Instructional Leadership Coach, ELA
Regina is an instructional leadership coach who supports ELA coaches and PLC leaders at Charleston County Public Schools.
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Andrea "Fitz" Fitzgerald

Instructional Leadership Coach, Math
Andrea "Fitz" Fitzgerald is an Instructional Leadership Coach for math in Charleston.
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Rebecca Dill

Associate Director of Networks
Rebecca supports implementation of curriculum-based professional learning and teacher leadership development as the Program Manager for our Charleston partnership.
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Kenneth Jeffers

Program Manager
Kenneth is a project manager & marketer who understands the power of collaboration & advocates for teamwork.
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Tameka Ellzey

Director of Content & Coaching
Tameka is an educator and instructional leader who is passionate about empowering teachers.
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Rashay Foster

Director of Content and Coaching
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Michael Freeland smiles

Michael Freeland

Headshot of Alisha Watts Burr

Alisha Watts Burr

Reanna Patterson

Ikecia Sigh

headshot of Chavon VanHooks

Chavon VanHooks

britney wray headshot

Dr. Britney Wray

regina atkins headshot

Regina Atkins

Andrea "Fitz" Fitzgerald

Rebecca Dill

Kenneth Jeffers

Tameka Ellzey

Rashay Foster

Leading Educators Leading Educators
“I know that if we implement Bridges with fidelity and consistency in the future, the success of our students will know no bounds...I take all of that knowledge that I did with Leading Educators and with the Acceleration team, and I am giving it to my team…When we’re taking that time and we’re collaborating, we are able to identify how we’re using Bridges best.”
Megan Fisher, PLC Leader

Learn About More Partnerships

Charleston is just one of dozens of partnerships across the country that are pushing the boundaries of what school can offer students. Learn more about how we customize our supports to meet the needs and strengths of visionary districts.

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