NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – The Hunley Park bees are all the buzz!  

The neighborhood school is celebrating significant academic gains.       

The halls of Hunley Park are lined with words to motivate and inspire.

Principal Dr. Katchia Gethers says, “Hunley Park is a gem of a school tucked away off of Dorchester Road. We’re celebrating.  We’re celebrating the actions that got us some wonderful results.  We’re instilling in our students a vision of what they can become.  When I speak to students, they’re talking about literature.  They’re talking about books.  In our foyer area, we have toys they created.”

Hunley Park Elementary serves more than 400 students from Pre-K through fifth grade.

The diverse Title One school has endured academic challenges, and the pandemic made the achievement gap worse for minority students, but Dr. Gethers says, instead of being discouraged by poor results, they rolled up their sleeves and focused on doing the work to improve academics.  

“I attribute the growth to everyone working toward a common goal.”

Preliminary results show significant gains on the SC Ready and SC Pass tests due to be released this month,” she said. “We have preliminary data that we can share with our staff and we were able to celebrate that our students did increase proficiency in reading and math.”

To improve, staff worked to build stronger relationships with students.  They re-examined instructional practices and focused on a rigorous and challenging curriculum.  Gethers says, “we committed ourselves to implement a rigorous curriculum and it’s amazing.”

Teacher Alichia Leavy attributes some of the success to a unique individualized program that gives students “more differentiated instruction on their level.”

“The I-Ready curriculum is one of our apps that we use here at Hunley Park, and it has reading and math. I’m able to assign them lessons on there as well,” Leavy explained.

Parent Tiffany Hilliard says, “I do notice their growth. I really do appreciate Hunley Park. Honestly, the homework is definitely different.  It is challenging, but overall it’s good because I can see the changing and growing for the next grade level.”  

Students have a sense of pride.  

Fifth grade student Jordan Haynes says, “I’m proud of our school.  Changes are happening here, the clubs, everything that’s happening here.  This school is awesome.”

Hunley Park is asking for support from the community to keep the success going.  They need volunteers and financial contributions to help extend learning beyond the school walls.  

“I’m excited because we have collective efficacy here at Hunley Park.  We have our students believing they can be excellent. We have our teachers believing our school can be excellent, and we have all stakeholders believing in the school.  We want to show the community we are definitely striving toward excellence.”

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