On Thursday, December 13th at 1 o’clock in the afternoon, State Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman along with administrators from Lexington County School District Three and Saluda County Schools gathered for a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the Innovation Collaboration Pilot Project that began between the school districts this year. The event took place in B-L High School’s Career and Technology Education Building and was attended by representatives from the Town of Batesburg-Leesville, school board members, principals, teachers and other community leaders.
The Innovation Collaboration Pilot Project is a partnership that enables Lexington Three and Saluda County school districts to collaborate to provide courses to students in both districts that may not be available otherwise. This school year, the project focused on adding welding and firefighting classes. The programs, which are being funded by the State Department of Education and through grants obtained by the Town of Batesburg-Leesville, are housed at B-L High School. Students from Saluda County Schools attend the classes with their B-L counterparts. As part of the collaboration, transportation is provided for students to be able to participate. Students who complete the firefighting course and pass the state skills test are able to obtain their Firefighter Certification, thus giving them an opportunity to help fill the growing need for volunteer firefighters in the Town of B-L and Town of Saluda. Welding students are also able to obtain a certification if they finish a certain level of the program.
SC Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman said she was beaming with pride because this type of collaboration between school districts is something she’s been talking about since first being on the campaign trail back in 2014. “It took a couple of years to make this happen, but with the good leadership of the superintendents, the school boards, the teachers, and the principals … we did it. And who is this benefiting? All of us,” said Spearman.
Officials hope to eventually expand the collaboration to include courses being offered at both campuses (B-L High School and Saluda High School) for students to have greater access to even more Career and Technology Education courses.