The challenging curriculum is constant at Mt. Zion Elementary, which motivates students to excel to become creative thinkers.  Support from the community is a vital component to the school’s success.  We’re on Johns Island for our Cool School of the week.

Students at Mt. Zion Elementary take ownership of their education through personalized learning.   Caley Jones is a kindergarten teacher at Mt. Zion. She says, “We do personalized learning which is all about the students really setting their own academic goals, working on  those goals. The teachers do weekly conferences with them setting up their data binders with them, discussing where they are and where they need to be and help them really understand their next step in learning.  It’s just about the students really taking ownership of their learning, understanding they can do anything they put their mind to.”

In Rachel Parker’s first grade class students are working in literacy centers.  “It is a part of personalized learning,” says Parker.  Everyone has a different learning target at writing.  They are all working on a different writing activity that is special to what they need to learn.  It’s really helped our kids.  I’ve seen then grow as leaders as writer, students in general. They’re better thinkers. They’re more confident because everything is catered right to their needs.”

Students chart their progress in data notebooks.  Principal Deborah Fordham says, “The challenge is constant.  I have mastered that goal. I have mastered that skill, let me move on to the next thing.  In fifth grade, we actually have students reading at a high school level.”

Mt. Zion Elementary, a Palmetto Gold and Silver award winning school offers one to one technology.  Volunteers from Kiawah and Seabrook Islands are in the school helping students several days of the week. Students have both boys and girls mentoring clubs.  Parent Sanicqua Smalls says, “I love this school.  There is lots of parent involvement, lots of community interaction.”  Principal Fordham says, “Great school, great teachers, great students, the best in CCSD.”

Mt. Zion has a majority hispanic student population.  The school district allotted for a bilingual secretary to help communication efforts.

Coming up Friday on News 2 Today, we’ll present Mt. Zion with our Cool School award.

We want to hear about the good things that are going on at your school.   Just send an email to Octavia at omitchell@