East Edisto Middle School is wrapping up its first year as a new school in Summerville, and they are doing so with bragging rights. We’re in Dorchester District Two for our last Cool School for the 2022-2023 school year.

Dorchester District Two’s new middle school opened its doors this year to nearly 900 students in sixth through eighth grades.  

“It’s been a fun journey. It really has. I’m proud of how everyone came together,” said Principal Brion Rutherford. “When they walk in the doors, they’re not the same kids they were back in August when they walked through the doors. You can really see the changes as a group in how they conduct themselves around the building, but also individually, kids who really had some challenges coming in the school year. They’ve grown to where they are flourishing.”  

“When I first came here, I was nervous because my family had just moved here and it was a newly built school, but the teachers here are really welcoming, and the students are really nice, and there are a lot of activities you can do,” eighth-grade student Elyse Torres said. “I look forward to coming to school, and I really enjoy being here.”

The school has a lot to offer from fine arts to top science labs, including Gateway to Technology and Robotics courses. Amy Baldwin is the school’s Gateway to Technology and Robotics teacher.

“We are a STEM-based lab. So, the students learn design and modeling. They get to create 3-D builds with recycled materials, and then we move into our 3D printing. We have an entire 3D printing lab that we run, and the students get to build things off of it.  Then in our eighth-grade Gateway to Technology, we learn about medical detectives and forensics, and then we get to do robots.”

The state-of-the-art neighborhood school has bragging rights, five robotics awards in their first year on the national and state level,  as well as a school science fair.  

Special needs students run a coffee cart at the school. “Practicing vocational skills and communications skills, daily living, how to interact with people. We sell coffee every Friday to teachers,” explained special education teacher Michelle Meier. “They place an order, and we go around and deliver those orders. Students take turns pushing the cart and who pours the coffee.  They ask questions about creamers and sugars, that way they can interact with other adults and learn how to have those kinds of conversations.”

The school also has a refocus room for students. Chonsie Eechaute is the school’s student success specialist.  She says, “It helps the kids understand what they’re feeling, and go about it in an appropriate way. Middle school, you’re going through a lot of big changes, and sometimes we act big, so we’re just trying to get those kids to understand those feelings, so they can act appropriately and make good choices in class.”

As they wrap up their first year, EEMS is looking ahead to an exciting new school year.  

“We have so many great new things coming. Just wait until next year, big things,” said Eechaute.

“East Edisto Middle is a Cool School because we have the best principal around. He’s so supportive of our students, our staff, and our teachers. Anything we want to try, he’s willing to support us. Our students love being here, and our teachers love being here, and we try to make school fun,” said East Edisto Middle Teacher of the Year Erica Schultz.

“We have the best kids in Dorchester District Two, if not the Lowcountry and South Carolina. My personal philosophy has always been we need to teach math, English, science, and social studies, as hard as we can, but an important goal right behind that is to make school fun for our kids,” said Principal Rutherford. “They should look forward to coming every day, and if they can leave us as eighth graders going to ninth grade and still love coming to school, we’ve done a good job.”

The school year is coming to an end this week and next week, but you can still send in nominations for the new school year this fall. Let Octavia know if you have a cool school, educator, or principal.  Send an email to Octavia at omitchell@wcbd.com.