Photo by Taylor Wilcox on unsplash

Charleston County School District Superintendent Don Kennedy has proposed an aggressive new academic goal to focus on shrinking the achievement gaps between White students and students of color. The proposed plan would reprioritize benchmarks in English language arts, math, and college and career readiness. Kennedy’s ultimate goal is to increase the percentage of students who score “meets” or “exceeds” on the South Carolina READY assessment administered to students in grades 3-8. The district scored 49.1% in 2021, and Kennedy hopes that by shifting the focus, the district can raise the score to 75% by 2027. 

Meanwhile, the district also discussed different security measures and needs for the upcoming school year. Michael Reidenbach, the executive director of security and emergency management for CCSD, provided a list of pros and cons to add security measures for schools including full-time weapons screening, digital video recording on buses and hiring private security for schools. 

District staff also presented a wish list Monday, consisting of items like weapon detectors at high school entrances and installing bulletproof doors. The estimated value of added security would cost $59.2 million upfront with another $4.8 million in annual costs. 

In other headlines: 

Berlin G. Myers Parkway begins final phase. The construction of the Berlin G. Myers Parkway in Summerville has started its final phase. The $137 million project will deliver a new four-lane roadway as well as a multipurpose pathway along the Sawmill Branch Trail for bicycle and pedestrian users.

Charleston airport to add curbside kiosks. Charleston International Airport recently announced its plans to add curbside kiosks for passengers to check bags and drop them off on a conveyor belt outside. The four new kiosks are designed to help alleviate long wait lines inside the airport.

Mount Pleasant nonprofit gets $1M in donations. Mount Pleasant nonprofit East Cooper Community Outreach (ECCO) received a $1 million endowment. Nonprofit Adele A. & Harold J. Westbrook Foundation donated the funds to support ECCO’s “Beyond Our Walls” campaign, which will renovate its Six Mile Road facility, purchase a mobile office to serve rural communities and secure a fleet of vehicles to provide transportation to those in need. It is the largest donation since its founding in 1989.

Kimbrell calls for ‘sexual identity’ books to be moved. State Sen. Josh Kimbrell, R-Spartanburg, called on Spartanburg public libraries to move children’s books that explore sexual identity to the adult section. Kimbrell said sexual identity books are too mature and inappropriate for children.

U.S. looks to stretch monkeypox vaccine. The Monkeypox vaccine is here, but in limited supply. The FDA announced plans to help stretch the vaccine to as many people as possible by injecting a small dose directly into the skin instead of a full dose into an underlying layer of fat.

Men sentenced to life in Arbery killing. Gregory and Travis McMichael, the White father and son convicted in the killing of Ahmaud Arbery, received life sentences Monday on charges of interference of rights, which is considered a hate crime. William “Roddie” Bryan Jr., the third man involved in Arbery’s killing, was sentenced to 35 years in prison.

Love Best of Charleston?

Help the Charleston City Paper keep Best of Charleston going every year with a donation. Or sign up to become a member of the Charleston City Paper club.