The five principals who have formed D20PCP will hold a two-hour expo at 10 a.m. Saturday, June 18, at the Burke High School gymnasium to meet with groups interested in providing services. | File photo

Five principals at schools on the Charleston peninsula have formed the District 20 Principal Collaboration Program (D20PCP) to boost student academic achievement and improve the learning environment for underserved families.

To do so, the principals want to partner with parents, nonprofit groups, government agencies, businesses, churches and community groups in a city-wide effort to give every child the best opportunity to succeed, said Barbara D. Dilligard, a D20PCP consultant and interim program director.

The principals are not asking for money, she said. They have an $8 million federal grant over two years from the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER) through the Charleston County School District.

The principals will hold a two-hour D20PCP Expo at 10 a.m. Saturday to meet with groups interested in providing services. The event will be held at the Burke High School gymnasium.

The D20PCP principals and their schools are: Janice Malone, Sanders-Clyde Elementary; Wanda Sheats, Charleston Progressive Academy; Amber Sainz, Julian Mitchell; Stephanie Spann, Simmons-Pinckney Middle and Cheryl Swinton, Burke High. The schools are in District 20, one of eight constituent school districts in the county.

The principals have crafted a three-phase strategy to connect community groups with students who need medical services, tutoring assistance and activities that would help broaden their understanding of the world around them, Dilligard said.

The D20PCP will use the ESSER to hire an executive director and 40 coaches to help parents, students and their siblings connect with educational and medical services, she said. The funds will also provide paid tutoring for students, parenting classes, mentoring support for students and families, day care for teachers to recruit and retain them, and unique activities for students. Nontraditional sports, such as  lacrosse, tennis and swimming, will be offered to students, she added.

“The goal is to build a cadre of people in the schools and in the community who can serve people who have had difficulty assessing services and build trust among them to follow through with benefits,” Dilligard said. “We want to change the culture. Once we do that people will follow up and get the services. Therefore, students, parents and the community will all benefit because they will be living in a better, safer environment.”

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