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Elementary Magnet Academies' Application Window Open Through November 19

OCSD’s Gifted and Talented Division launched four elementary school magnet academies this fall. Families of students interested in applying to attend a magnet academy for the 2022-2023 school year are encouraged to submit their interest now, ahead of the application deadline of Friday, November 19.

Current Magnet Academy offerings include the Broadcasting and Journalism (BAJA) Academy at Edisto Elementary; the Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts, and Mathematics (STEAM) Academy at Holly Hill Elementary; the Scholars Achieving Investigating and Learning (SAIL) Academy with STEAM at Mellichamp Elementary; as well as the Students Taking on the Arts and Gifted Education (STAGE) Academy at Marshall Elementary School.

These programs provide opportunities for students to engage in traditional education intertwined with learning activities of unique interest to them. Edisto, Holly Hill, Mellichamp, and Marshall will continue to serve students zoned for their schools in their traditional program, as well as both zoned and out of zone third, fourth, and fifth grade students who apply and are accepted into their magnet academies.

“There are currently 215 scholars being served in our elementary magnet programs,” Priscilla Hollington, the District’s Gifted and Talented Coordinator says. “With growing interest in these unique offerings, participation is expected to increase to 275 for the 2022-2023 school year, and transportation will continue to be provided for all students who are accepted into these magnet academies.”

While OCSD’s magnet programs are designed to individually serve unique student interests, each program shares the following overarching goals: provide students with a specialized educational approach, improve student achievement, and promote and maintain diversity. The District’s Magnet Academies are fully funded through grants and federal programs and there is no cost to students or families. Through community partnerships, collaboration and mentoring, magnet academy students are benefiting from hands-on experiences and real-world opportunities to demonstrate their talents. 

In partnership with “A Hand in Learning,” Holly Hill Elementary and Mellichamp Elementary host Saturday STEAM camps to promote student dialogue and critical thinking through hands on activities and exciting challenges that introduce and reinforce science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics (STEAM) concepts.

 The BAJA scholars of Edisto Elementary are being mentored by professionals with the Public Broadcasting System (PBS). BAJA and PBS are working together on a project titled “recess therapy,” in which students practice their interview skills by catching other kids on the playground and asking them a series of questions. 

SAIL scholars have a partnership with South Carolina State University with a focus on the 1890 research and extension program. Mellichamp’s SAIL students take part in “Horticultural Therapy,” where they explore the positive effects of gardening and are learning how a green thumb can benefit individuals socially, emotionally, and physically.

Our STAGE Academy students have a partnership with Orangeburg County Fine Arts Center. The work of Marshall’s talented artists is on display at the Center for the entire community to enjoy.  The Fine Arts Center is also pairing our STAGE scholars with art mentors to share their expertise in varied artistic mediums. STAGE was also recently awarded an Irene Myers Education Grant and will soon implement a beginner strings program.

Through dance, journalism, technology, engineering, painting, and more, Orangeburg’s elementary school magnet academies are proving to be an engaging, yet highly rigorous, educational option for students.

Caroline Baddipudi, a STAGE scholar at Marshall Elementary, says the program, while challenging, has made school really fun and she’d encourage other students to look into these programs.

“I’m able to challenge myself, so that I’ll learn new things,” she said.

The Magnet Academy window is open until Friday, November 19, for students interested in attending for the 2022-2023 school year. Visit www.ocsdsc.org/magnet for more information and apply today.