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CCSD Middle School CTE Classrooms Equipped with New Tech Tools

littlelogoOver the summer, CCSD middle school teachers created new curricula for four classes: Google Basics, Multimedia Basics, Financial Literacy, and Digital Literacy.  This project was initiated due to a need for relevant and engaging content for these courses.

The great work done by these middle school teachers made it clear that additional equipment was needed in each classroom. The district’s Career and Technology Education Support Team led by Director Ginger Reijners agreed, and CTE funds were used to purchase the supplies required for the middle school classrooms!

Each CTE middle school business teacher received:

  • a classroom set of headphones with built in microphones
  • 1 document scanner
  • 3 digital video cameras
  • 7 digital cameras.

When the items were delivered to each classroom by members of the CTE support team, the teachers and students were very excited!   They were greeted with hugs, cards, and sincere thanks.

Laing Middle School

Student from Donna Thomas’s Multimedia Basics class at Laing Middle School showing off their projects created with the new equipment.

Haut Gap Middle School

Students from Danita Gause’s class at Haut Gap Middle School created a thank you card for the CTE department.

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Wando Culinary Arts Students Assist with Les Dames d’Escoffier Autumn Affair Event

Students in Chef Bill Twaler’s culinary arts program at Wando HS were recently invited by the local chapter of Les Dames d’Escoffier (LDEI) to assist in food prep and service at one of the organization’s upcoming gatherings.

LDEI is an invitational organization of women leaders in food, beverage and hospitality whose mission is education and philanthropy.

But the upcoming event was not a typical local meeting, it was actually the LDEI National Conference that was being held in Charleston!

The students prepared special biscuits for the guests and assisted in other aspects of the food services required at the event.


“We jumped at the opportunity for this work-based learning opportunity for the students”, said Chef Twaler on the opportunity to partner with LDEI.


Students’ & professionals’ quotes from the event:
  • “After shucking 600 oysters I don’t know if I’ll be able to use my hand again,” said Cliff Beilke.
  • “Chef this was so much fun I can’t wait to do another function,” said Brenden LaFave.
  • “Chef stop eating my desserts,” said Azlynn Butler.
  • “(Your kids) they were wonderful!”  said Chef Susan Wigley.IMG_2669
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WAHS Robotics Takes 1st Place in VEX Competition

Vex Robotics Comp logo24 teams from throughout the state competed in the Oct. 24, 2015 VEX Robotics Qualifier – “The Cougar Challenge” at Lady’s Island Middle School in Beaufort, SC, but just one team left with the FIRST PLACE TROPHY: West Ashley High School’s VEX Robotics team led by their advisor Mr. Nicholas Holmes.

Congratulations to the WAHS Wildcats robotics team on their victory, and earning the opportunity to compete in the Palmetto State Championship this spring. IMG_1608


Below is the list of teams that competed in the event – for the final results click here. 

Team Team Name Organization Location
120E Green & Gold Robotics Spring Valley High School Columbia, South Carolina, United States
916A Bobcats Center for Advanced Technical Studies Chapin, South Carolina, United States
916B IronCATS Center for Advanced Technical Studies Chapin, South Carolina, United States
2533A Robotic Engineers Dutch Fork Middle School Irmo, South Carolina, United States
2533B Auto Robots Dutch Fork Middle School Irmo, South Carolina, United States
6318 Cougars Lady’s Island Middle School Beaufort, South Carolina, United States
6318B Cougar Robotics Lady’s Island Middle School Beaufort, South Carolina, United States
6318C Cougar Assassins Lady’s Island Middle School Beaufort, South Carolina, United States
7432 M.T. Brains Dutch Fork High School Irmo, South Carolina, United States
8624 CVK (Complex VEX Kids) Bluffton Middle School Bluffton, South Carolina, United States
8659G Binary Bots Goose Creek High GOOSE CREEK, South Carolina, United States
8659H Deez Nuts and Bolts Goose Creek High GOOSE CREEK, South Carolina, United States
8926 Combined IQ Oakbrook Preparatory School Spartanburg, South Carolina, United States
9118 Orcas Whale Branch Middle School Seabrook, South Carolina, United States
9118B Orcas Whale Branch Middle School Seabrook, South Carolina, United States
9168A Bimbots Bluffton High School Bluffton, South Carolina, United States
9168B Bluffton High School Bluffton High School Bluffton, South Carolina, United States
9447A Team Toss Up Palmetto Scholars Academy North Charleston, South Carolina, United States
9447B Knights Who Say Ni Palmetto Scholars Academy North Charleston, South Carolina, United States
9447C Millennium Robotics Palmetto Scholars Academy North Charleston, South Carolina, United States
9447D Phoenix Uprising Palmetto Scholars Academy North Charleston, South Carolina, United States
9447E Phoenix Rebellion Palmetto Scholars Academy North Charleston, South Carolina, United States
9623A West Ashley HS West Ashley High School Charleston, South Carolina, United States
9623B West Ashley HS – B West Ashley High School Charleston, South Carolina, United States




Boeing SC volunteer speaking to WAHS engineering class

WAHS Engineering & Mechatronics Classes Welcome Guest Speakers from Boeing SC and Stantec

West Ashley High School Engineering and Mechatronics students recently enjoyed guest speakers from Stantec and Boeing SC.

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Both Dr. Barbara Leonard, engineering instructor and Mr. Nicholas Holmes, WAHS mechatronics instructor agreed the visits were very impactful for the students. “We are very thankful for their investment of time and energy in our classrooms” said Dr. Leonard. “Guest speakers like these add important relevance to classroom instruction,” added Mr. Holmes.


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Huge thanks to Scott Baker and Saeed Jones, both Civil Engineers with Stantec, and Boeing SC Stress Engineer Joel Driskill for speaking to West Ashley High School Engineering and Mechatronics students.



Boeing SC Volunteers Lead Marshmallow Challenge in Garrett Academy of Technology Engineering Class

Milton Howard, Project Lead the Way engineering instructor at Garrett Academy of Technology, shared these terrific pictures of his students working with volunteers from Boeing South Carolina on an activity called The Marshmallow Challenge. 

This highly engaging & timed activity had teams of students constructing towers out of dry spaghetti, string, tape, and other basic materials that would support a large marshmallow on top. The competition to see who could build the highest tower within the time limit allowed for healthy interaction between students and the professionals from Boeing. It also provided valuable lessons in teamwork and leadership on projects . At the end, a healthy debriefing session allowed input from students, teachers and Boeing SC volunteers and the winning team was celebrated for their success.

“We are so thankful for the investment of time and talent the Boeing SC team members brought to our classroom today!” said Mr. Howard.

“Special thanks to Mr. Frank Hatten, Boeing SC Education Relations Specialist for his leadership – my students will never forget this experience”, Mr. Howard added.

Charleston County School District truly appreciates all the support the local Boeing SC team provides!

Charleston, SC

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West Ashley HS Mechatronics Students Accept Assignment to Build T-Shirt Launchers

Charleston, SC – Sept 28, 2015 – Earlier this year, West Ashley High School’s Mechatronics instructor Nicholas Holmes received an exciting request from his principal Lee Runyan, “Build a t-shirt launcher to use at athletic events”.

So that’s what he and his students did – and then they built another version, and another, and even a robot that can launch t-shirts remotely.










“The experience for the students has been fantastic” said Holmes. “They’ve fully embraced this project-based learning opportunity, and the creative solutions to challenges are flowing freely,”  Holmes added.


A logo has been developed  for the project:

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Now, at the WAHS pep rallies, football games, and many other Wildcat athletic events, the launchers help get the crowds cheering!








“Perhaps the next step is producing these for other schools”, said Holmes.

Check out videos of the T-shirt launchers in action  

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Wando Culinary Arts Welcomes Chef Mackenzie Mantegazza from the Culinary Institute of America for Demonstration

This week at Wando High School, culinary arts instructor Chef Bill Twaler welcomed Chef  Mackenzie Mantegazza from  the Culinary Institute of America for an interactive demonstration in his classroom.

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She prepared a special bacon ice cream in a cheese cone, with candied tomatoes and balsamic glaze.IMG_2375

“Needless to say, my students were captivated”, said Chef Twaler.

Thanks to Ms. Mantegazza for investing her time and talent in the culinary arts class at Wando High School.


goodwill workforce academy

Palmetto Goodwill Partnering with R. B. Stall High School for Workforce Development Program

September 18, 2015 – North Charleston, SC – Palmetto Goodwill has partnered with R. B. Stall High School to offer over a dozen students the opportunity to work and go to school at the same time!

The program, dubbed Workforce Academy, began this summer with a job skills training course.

When school started, the students in the Workforce Academy program began working every other day at the Goodwill facility on Rivers Avenue. They each work about 20 hours a week, and on the days the are not working, they are completing their core high school course.

Thanks to this program, these students have the opportunity to earn a paycheck while they are completing their diploma requirements.

Special thanks to everyone at Palmetto Goodwill for welcoming these students on to their team, and to the extraordinary faculty at R. B. Stall HS for ensuring an innovative program like this can become a reality for the students.

Check out this report that aired in May 2016 on Live 5 News on the terrific outcomes of this partnership:http://www.live5news.com/story/31987385/goodwills-workforce-academy-motivating-students-to-graduate-high-school



St. Johns High School Students Excel in Computer Science Class

Students at St. Johns High School are preparing for high demand, high wage jobs in Computer Science related professions.

Mr. Darwin Shorters, their Intro to Computer Science instructor said, “My students are working on developing an Air Hockey game for the Andriod environment!”

“They use paired programming and the Agile software development methodology to develop and program all our software applications.  This is the 3rd Andriod App they’ve created so far this semester which is truly wonderful because none of the students had any prior experiences with coding or programming”, Mr. Shorters explained.

Congratulations to Mr. Shorters and his students on their classroom success!

Here are some pictures of his students in action:

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Successful CTE Professional Development Kicks Off 15/16 School Year

August 11, 2015 – Mt. Pleasant, SC – Seacoast Church graciously provided the meeting space for the back to school professional development for CTE teachers on Tuesday. With ample parking, a large space with tables and chairs provided, and plenty of rooms for break-out sessions, the location was ideal.


The day began with a keynote speech from new CCSD Superintendent Dr. Gerrita Postlewait. She shared her passion for Career and Technology Education and answered a number of questions from teachers.


Two local business partners also shared their support for CTE teachers – Brad Davis with Rick Hendrick Automotive Group and Jim Hirni with Anchor Sign company. Both professionals talked about their company’s critical workforce needs and offered to assist as needed to ensure students are ready to maximize the wonderful career opportunities available in the Charleston region.

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After the morning plenary session, teachers cycled through 4 breakout rooms with presentations from the CTE Support Team members on CTE Data, Work-based Learning, Student Learning Objective plans, and many other important topics. CTE Director Ginger Reijners’ session was an overall update on the factors that will impact CTE this academic year.


Teachers enjoyed round table discussions over lunch from Chic-fil-A and wear treated to 5 Minute Foot Rubs thanks to the generous support of Anchor Sign!

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After lunch, Robin Willis from the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce shared a presentation on the continued growth of our community. She also talked about the Youth Apprenticeship program the chamber is supporting along with Trident Technical College, all 4 local school districts, and over 60 industry partners.


At the end of the very productive professional development day, several teachers names were drawn for prizes – one teacher won a dinner for two at The Charleston Grill and another won a trip to the ACTE Conference in New Orleans in November! Other teachers won tickets to Charleston Battery Soccer matches at MUSC Health Stadium on Daniel Island.

Special thanks to Mickey Bakst with The Charleston Grill and Suzanne Brandon with the Charleston Battery for donating prizes for teachers attending the meeting!

All teachers left with a special gift: a special back-up battery for their phone! IMG_2303


Please enjoy this gallery of additional pictures from the event: