George Bradley and Tina Marshall-Bradley, Columbia 2016

This edition of Narrative features an interview from StoryCorps, an oral history project that collects the voices of our times. At the StoryCorps mobile booth in Columbia in 2016, George Bradley spoke with his wife and colleague Tina Marshall-Bradley about his term as president of Paine College, a historically black college in Augusta, Georgia. Here’s Tina.

Learn more about HBCUs (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) here.

South Carolina From A to Z
SC Public Radio

"B" is for Benedict College. A historically black college in Columbia, Benedict was founded by Rhode Island native Bathsheba Benedict. Benedict purchased an eighty-acre tract with the goal of educating recently emancipated African-Americans. Originally named Benedict Institute, the school began with ten male students and one faculty member housed in an abandoned residence. The first students followed a curriculum of grammar school subjects, Bible study, and theology. Later courses were added to train students as teachers and ministers.

SC State Dept. of Education Superintendent Molly Spearman

For the second time in almost two decades, Allendale County schools are under the control of the State Department of Education. Superintendent Molly Spearman said, when students return to school August 17, they will see the same teachers that were there previously, but will also encounter new faces working with familiar staff. Superintendent Molly Spearman explains how these individuals and the department will work with students, teachers and the community to improve the effectiveness of the schools.

Dr. Walt Tobin has been assigned superintendent of the district.

  "M" is for Memminger School. Founded in 1858 in Charleston, Memminger was patterned after normal schools in the North. Its mission was to train female teachers for the state at large as a department of a new city high school for girls. Admission depended upon entrance tests and was usually free. Eventually the curriculum was expanded beyond education and teaching to include domestic science and business. In 1932, the normal department was closed, but by that date the school had educated thousands of teachers, business and professional women, and housewives.

Derek W. Black on the Tavis Smiley Show in 2016.
Courtesy PBS/Tavis Smiley Show

In many schools across the nation in the last few decades, concerns over discipline have led to so-called “zero tolerance” policies.  USC law Professor Derek Black says suspension and expulsion rates have doubled under zero tolerance policies in the past 30 years.  Texas educator Dr. Nesa Sasser Hartford believes that the policies are justified in three specific areas – drugs, guns and sexual improprieties.

Prof. Jon N. Hale
College of Charleston

(Originally broadcast 12/02/16) - Created in 1964 as part of the Mississippi Freedom Summer, the Mississippi Freedom Schools were launched by educators and activists to provide an alternative education for African American students that would facilitate student activism and participatory democracy. The schools, as Jon N.

Dr. Hossein Haj-Hariri, Dean of the College of Engineering and Computing at the University of South Carolina.
USC College of Engineering and Computing

Technology Giant Siemens Corporation announced recently a technology grant worth nearly $630 million to the University of South Carolina College of Engineering and Computing. Officials say the grant provides computers, robotics, and software licensing as well as hardware to develop a “digital factory innovation lab” where students will model and test systems they may work on in the future. USC President Harris Pastides says students will graduate prepared for the high-tech jobs in the worldwide economy.

Megan Scharett, a new high school graduate from the Lowcountry, looks forward to a career in the food industry.  She has apprenticed with a prestigious restaurant in Charleston and taken many college courses at Trident Technical College through the Youth
Tut Underwood/ SC Public Radio

Today's job market is changing rapidly, and whether the field is health care, advanced manufacturing or information technology, there are high paying jobs for trained workers with a two-year associate’s degree from one of South Carolina's technical colleges. The Youth Apprenticeship Program at the state’s tech colleges acts as a "middleman" between businesses needing trained workers and students looking for meaningful careers. But not just college students.

photo of an old college campus in spring
David Mark, via Pixabay [CC0 1.0]

High schools all over the state graduate students at this time of year. But this time next year, Charleston County will begin graduating some students with a high school diploma and a college associate’s degree at the same time. Following a national trend already begun in other counties, Charleston has approved an “early college” program beginning this fall. According to Charleston County School District official Kim Wilson, the program will start with a class of 100 this fall and add 100 more each fall for the next three years.

"O" is for Opportunity Schools. Dr. Wil Lou Gray, the state supervisor in adult education, created a boarding school for young people who could not attend public school or who had not gone further than the fifth grade. The school opened in August 1921 at the Tamassee DAR School in Oconee County to offer educational opportunities for undereducated young white women. For a decade the school operated during August on the campuses of Anderson, Erskine, Clemson, and Lander colleges. By 1931 it was co-educational and in 1936 the Opportunity School for Negroes opened at Vorhees.

"E" is for the Education Accountability Act of 1998. The Education Accountability Act [known as the EAA] placed South Carolina in the mainstream of education accountability reform. It required the establishment of specific standards in math English/language arts, sciences, and social studies. These standards were to provide the basis for student assessment in grades three through eight as well as a high school exit exam. The legislation also called for end-of-course exams in certain high school courses. The purpose of these tests was to hold students and schools accountable for learning.

Charleston School of Law student Tyler Gilliam rehearses his tax argument with Prof. Kristin Gutting as his partner Anna Boning looks on.  Gutting coached the students to the school's sixth consecutive tax moot court national championship.
Tut Underwood/ SC Public Radio

For a law student, winning a national moot court championship is like winning the Super Bowl.  And Charleston School of Law students recently did it an astounding six times in a row.  Teams of students argue cases in front of judges to simulate situations in a real courtroom – in this case,  it was tax law, though other disciplines of law have their own moot courts.  This year’s winners, Anna Boning and Tyler Gilliam,  have the distinction of being the first team to repeat the feat, and win the competition for the second time. 

"B" is for Brawley, Edward McKnight (1851-1923). Missionary, educator. Born in Charleston, a free person of color, Brawley was educated in Philadelphia and studied theology at Howard University. He graduated from Bucknell College and was ordained a Baptist minister.

Vanessa Torres gets the active participation of her Spanish students at Nursery Road Elementary School.
Tut Underwood/ SC Public Radio

Vanessa Torres is a passionate advocate for teaching foreign language to elementary school children.  She says research proves that early education in foreign languages improves deductive reasoning skills, memory, self esteem and more.  Her enthusiasm in the Spanish classes she teaches is contagious, says her principal, Love Ligons.  And her fellow teachers and students’ parents are not the only ones who have noticed. 

Detail of a leaf from the "Natural History of Carolina, Florida and the Bahama Islands."

English naturalist Mark Catesby’s love of exploration and learning lives on through a new program, entitled Creating a Better Way to Learn, developed by the Catesby Commemorative Trust in association with local educational entities.

The Trust is working actively with the School of Education at the College of Charleston, SCETV, and curriculum specialists at the Charleston County School District on this program, developing lesson plans and innovative tools that will improve the learning experience for students across South Carolina and beyond.

Prof. Jon N. Hale
College of Charleston

Created in 1964 as part of the Mississippi Freedom Summer, the Mississippi Freedom Schools were launched by educators and activists to provide an alternative education for African American students that would facilitate student activism and participatory democracy. The schools, as Jon N.

At a luncheon in Columbia on October 14th, Healing Species, a program using rescue dogs to teach compassion to students in high risk, high poverty schools in SC, was named as the 2016 Dick and Tunky Riley WhatWorksSC Award for Excellence. Former U.S. Secretary of Education and South Carolina Governor Dick Riley presented the award, which highlights innovative educational initiatives throughout the state.

The SC Public Charter School District: An Update

Oct 17, 2016

With 18,500 students in 32 schools, Public Charter Schools in the Palmetto State are making a profound educational impact. New schools are added on a yearly basis and the 2016-17 school year finds a new Superintendent leader, Elliot Smalley. Find out about opportunities charter schools provide and learn about the growth and curricular expansion these schools offer to South Carolina students.

This week's podcast features the audio from the September Carolina Classrooms program which focused on bullying and suicide prevention and how these and other social issues affect student health and the learning process. Guests on this program (available at, in addition to host Dawn Samples, were Alex Karydi, Ph.D., Program Director, SC Youth Suicide Prevention Initiative, and Jan Urbanski, Ed.D., Director of Safe and Humane Schools, Institute on Family and Neighborhood Life at Clemson University.

The mission of the Office of Family and Community Engagement (FACE) is to support partnerships between community organizations, families and schools in an effort to coordinate access of resources for all children in South Carolina. On this week's podcast we'll chat with the Office Director and learn about some of the ongoing efforts to encourage volunteerism in our public schools. On the same podcast, the audio from a video produced by the National Dropout Prevention Center at Clemson extolling the virtues of recess during the school day will be featured.

Each year, schools across the country celebrate Constitution Day in various ways, and here in SC The State Chapter of the American Board of Trial Advocates (SCABTA) hosts juniors and seniors from high schools for a presentation of a certain aspect of our Constitution. This year's program, the eighth annual James Otis Lecture, is entitled, The Right to Privacy in the 21st Century. SCABTA members from around the state, including the Dean of the USC Law School will be heard in this week's podcast addressing the 2016 James Otis Scholars.

ETV Teacher Recertification offers courses in ELA, science, social studies, mathematics, the arts, bullying/cyber safety, and more to meet teacher renewal needs. Each course earns 20 renewal credits (NO graduate credit) and courses are approved by SC Department of Education for renewal credit, facilitated online and self-paced … you can work on them at anytime from anywhere!

Dr. Phinnize J. Fisher Middle School
Greenville County School District

    The Greenville County School District, the state's largest district, is offering universal free breakfasts to all students attending the 92 Greenville County Schools this year.  Taking advantage of a program enacted by Congress in 2010, the district is among a number of districts in the state finding ways to offer all of its' students free breakfasts.  Research shows that breakfast is the most important meal of the day to foster learning in school students.

All this week, PBS and SCETV will feature programs and documentaries as well as special episodes of Nova, Frontline  and PBS Newshour, a new film from POV, and the premiere of TED Talks: Educa

Molly Spearman's SCASA i3 Conference Address

Sep 5, 2016

   State Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman gives remarks to principals, district personnel, and superintendents at the 2016 SCASA Innovative Ideas Institute in Myrtle Beach. The Superintendent's appearance at this conference is an annual occurrence.

Meet The New SCGSSM President

Aug 29, 2016
Dr. Hector Flores with students of the SC Governor's School of Science and Mathematics

  Dr. Hector Flores became the President of the SCGSSM on April 15th, replacing Dr. Murray Brockman, who retired. Dr. Flores, a native of Peru, came to the Hartsville School from the Rochester Institute of Technology where he served as Dean of Graduate Studies. Listeners will enjoy hearing about his personal and professional backgrounds,as well as some of his expectations for the school's faculty and students.

Fall Semester Information from VirtualSC

Aug 22, 2016

  Registration is currently underway for the fall 2016 VirtualSC term and Deirdre Edwards, Curriculum Team Leader in the VirtualSC Office, joins us to give those important dates and much more useful information to veterans and newcomers to South Carolina's Online Learning Program.

A Visit With the 2016 Teacher of the Year

Aug 15, 2016

  Each August, Speaking of Schools reaches out to the State Teacher of the Year for the prior year and asks him/her to share some of the personal, professional and once in a lifetime experiences that person had in representing South Carolina's 50,000+ teaching professionals. This edition of the podcast features our conversation with Suzanne Koty who gladly shares some of her experiences and offers listeners a look into her professional future.

    Two Teachers at the Ashley River Creative Arts School in Charleston have taken steps to involve their entire elementary school community by using the robotics team to showcase inquiry based learning. Matthew Carrington and Jennifer Waldron share their enthusiasm for and knowledge of the project on this week's podcast.

  This three part series, sponsored by Furman's Riley Institute and the University's Osher Lifelong Learning Center, examined what matters most in early childhood development and what interventions and supports are in place here in South Carolina. The series looked at the ways in which educational institutions, parents, students, non-profits, and members of the community work together to build up our schools and prepare young people to be successful adults who are contributing members of society.