Aiken County school leaders transforming student education through competitive programs and workforce skills

AIKEN COUNTY, S.C. (WJBF) – School leaders are working to offer a quality education tor all Aiken County students.

Aiken County school leaders are transforming the district into a premier school system with competitive educational programs and a focus on workforce skills.

Walking across the stage to receive a high school diploma is no longer enough for Aiken County Superintendent Dr. Sean Alford.

Alford says one of his main goals is to make students marketable to future employers.

“We’re preparing students for life,” Alford told WJBF NewsChannel 6. “We want them to have a set of skills that someone is willing to pay them for, when they leave us.”

In the next 30 years, more than 37,000 jobs will need to be filled in Aiken County.

Aiken County Board of Education Chair Levi Green says that’s why it’s so essential to equip the future workforce with the right tools.

“We have the STEM programs in place. We have the engineering type programs,” Green said.

One challenge the school district is working to overcome, is the demographics of each different community in the county.

Alford says traditionally where people live determines the quality of education they receive, which the Superintendent say is a disservice to students.

“They don’t get to choose where they lives, most times that’s their parents decision.” Alford said. “But it doesn’t matter where they live or what decision is made, a student should have a right, to have access to high quality and challenging programs and opportunities.”

To ensure this isn’t the case in Aiken, the same programs are being offered at every high school.

So each student has access to the same seamless educational opportunities across the board.

“To me the spirit of public education is to make sure that happens. That’s a guarantee, that’s a promise,” said Alford.

Each school in Aiken County has a focus, for example Ridge-Spring Monetta is the farm-to-table school.

However, school leaders say that students can apply to the high school of their choice, and will be considered if they can provide their own transportation.

Count on WJBF NewsChannel 6 to bring you the latest on this developing story. 

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