Charter school to see benefits with Erskine partnership
Subheadline: RLOA awaits Nov. 30 approval
All of those associated with Royal Live Oaks Charter School in Hardeeville can hopefully expect some new opportunities next school year, according to Royal Live Oaks Executive Director Karen Wicks.
The charter school was recently accepted to be a part of the Charter Institute at Erskine, and awaits possible transfer approval from the South Carolina Public Charter School District on Nov. 30.
“This change in authorizer will offer many benefits to our students and staff that are not available to us through the charter district,” Wicks said. “Staff will have the opportunity July 2018 to take advantage of professional development opportunities during the summer. Other opportunities will become available over the course of the school year and into the following summer.”
Wicks said the biggest benefit would be for students to have a chance to learn with the help of college students.
“The biggest benefit will be in helping our students experience the college atmosphere and interface directly with college students,” she said. “This kind of opportunity can increase children’s beliefs in their ability to be able to go to college and have options in career choices.”
Wicks said the stakeholders in Royal Live Oaks have had the opportunity to sign petitions of support for both Erskine and to support the transfer from the South Carolina Public Charter School District.
Cameron Runyan, Chief Executive Officer of the Charter Institute at Erskine, said the Institute looks forward to its partnership with Royal Live Oaks.
“We are very excited about the partnership with Royal Live Oaks Academy,” Runyan said. “Karen Wicks, the board and staff are making amazing progress in an area of our state that needs educational opportunity. We are honored to have the opportunity to support Royal Live Oaks in their pursuit of excellence for families in the Lowcountry.”
Runyan said one area that Erskine wants to assist with at Royal Live Oaks will be professional development, an area that was requested by the schools who were seeking partnership.
“Professional development opportunities for teachers continue to be a constant area of response from both administrative leaders as well as board members,” Runyan said.
“Professional development seminars during the summer for teachers from schools chartered with the Institute would feature instruction from Erskine College’s School of Education professors, as well as featured speakers.”
Runyan added the subject matter of the seminars will be determined by a survey of institute schools the preceding year, but would include curricula analysis, student development and other matters related to classroom instruction. The seminars, he said, would be for beginning teachers, seasoned educators, and administrative staff and would be free of charge to the schools.
Opportunities in research was another area Runyan said the Institute would be able to help the schools with, to include a number of topics such as analyzing test structures and timing, student retention models, and the impact of extracurricular study and activities on student motivation and performance.
“The Institute has a goal of reaching rural communities with the opportunity for an excellent education,” Runyan said. “It therefore intends to conduct research containing socio-economic elements in order to better understand and address barriers to education across South Carolina.”
Runyan said there will be an opportunity available for students at Royal Live Oaks to work with the college through the newly approved Student Service Corps program.
“The Institute will be sponsoring a Student Service Corps for Erskine students with the goal of providing mentoring, tutoring and other opportunities for Erskine students to serve the students at Royal Live Oaks,” he said. “The specific needs of the school will be included in this program.”