WINNSBORO — Fairfield County’s new charter school, Midlands S.T.E.M. Institute, will open Aug. 25 for the 2014 fall semester.
Executive Director Marie Milam said the school is on schedule to open on time for its inaugural year.
“Everything is going very well and we’ve been quite busy,” she said Monday.
Milam said staff is still enrolling students and that there are open spots in every class from kindergarten through fifth grade.
The charter school will host a Family Fun Day at Rockton Baptist Church from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday and Milam believes the event will help to impact enrollment.
Teachers have been hired and the staff recently attended S.T.E.M. instructional training at Mission Ridge last week.
Allison McFarlan, who will be teaching a combination kindergarten and first grade class, said the S.T.E.M. training taught staff how to incorporate the common core standards with engineering and technology.
McFarlan said she is looking forward to the upcoming school year.
“I am extremely excited,” she stated. “I’ve been working on my classroom, working on curriculum and putting things together.”
McFarlan noted the main difference in standard curriculum and S.T.E.M. curriculum is the ability for students to work with problems hands on.
“I think the children will be more excited about it because they get to see how they use the things that they’re learning and why they’re learning it,” she explained.
Midlands S.T.E.M. will spend its first year and possibly the second year at Rockton Baptist Church after issues developed with the original location at Greenbrier Mossydale Road.
Milam said the board of directors will wait to see what happens after the end of the first year before making a decision on moving to the Greenbrier Mossydale Road site.
“We’re going to do what is in the best interest of our children,” she said.
The school stayed on track for its opening for the 2014 fall semester after the board was able to reach a lease agreement with Rockton Baptist in July. Following that agreement, approval was granted by the State Department of Education and the S.C. Department of Transportation.
Some renovations began immediately at the new facility to meet requirements set forth by the state’s Office of School Facilities.
Milam said that renovations are going well and the engineer is still on target to complete the project on time.
“When you get this close to a new project there are always things to work out but right now we are right on target according to our engineer and things are moving along very well,” she said.
Engineer Dan Dennis of the Dennis Corporation in Columbia is serving as the project engineer.
“I am really looking forward to this opportunity to help Midlands S.T.E.M. and the children of this community,” he said in a written statement in July. “As both a former resident and an engineer myself, I have a developed a strong personal passion for this project.”
Parents interested in enrolling their child at Midlands S.T.E.M. Institute can obtain further information at Rockton Baptist Church, which is located at 112 Crane St. in Winnsboro.
Milam noted that parents enrolling their child should bring the child’s birth certificate, Social Security card, immunization records and proof of residency.
Midlands S.T.E.M. Institute will continue to add a grade level each year until 12th grade is reached.
Midlands S.T.E.M. Institute is a tuition-free public charter school sanctioned by the S.C. Department of Education. As a comprehensive S.T.E.M. school, MSI will immerse students in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics throughout its curriculum.