MYTH vs. REALITY
MYTH: Charter schools are private, not public schools. REALITY: Charter schools are State-approved public schools, governed locally at the school-level.
MYTH: The NEXT School Eagle Ridge is only for students who live in Salem. REALITY: As a member of the South Carolina Public Charter School District, students may enroll from any town or community in South Carolina.
MYTH: The NEXT School Eagle Ridge is not a good fit for students who want to go to college. REALITY: Our school is designed to ensure all students have multiple options upon graduation--including any college or career path they choose.
MYTH: Students will not take classes at the NEXT School Eagle Ridge; they will just be assigned projects to work on independently. All academic work is done online. REALITY: Students will enroll in teacher-facilitated courses and must successfully complete all required courses, as well as pass both local assessments and associated state exams.
MYTH: Families will be required to pay tuition, purchase a computer and textbooks, and be assessed fees. REALITY: There is no tuition to attend (we are a state-funded public school). Learning resources and materials will be provided. A basic personal school supply list may be sent home (notebooks, pens, folders, etc.).
MYTH: The NEXT School Eagle Ridge is only for high school students. REALITY: The NEXT School Eagle Ridge is a 6-12 grade school.
MYTH: There will not be a food service program at the school. REALITY: Students will have lunch (and breakfast) options provided through the school. Free and reduced meals will be provided to eligible students.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
If we are already registered to attend another school (e.g., Walhalla High School or Middle School) is it too late to choose to enroll at the NEXT School Eagle Ridge?
- It is NOT too late. Students in Salem and the surrounding area currently assigned to a school have the right to change their registration and enroll in another approved school. The choice is available even at the very start of the school year (and beyond, based upon available enrollment spots). As a member of the South Carolina Public Charter School District, The NEXT School Eagle Ridge is open to any SC student in grades 6-12.
Will NEXT School Eagle Ridge students receive a State-issued diploma and will colleges accept our graduates?
YES. NEXT School Eagle Ridge is fully-recognized and accredited by the South Carolina Department. of Education and our students will receive the same diploma as every other graduate in the state. Our program of studies will offer courses and other learning opportunities colleges require and seek in applicants. The NEXT School’s research-based instructional approach is strongly aligned with what colleges express wanting to see evidence of in their incoming students--i.e. ability for deep inquiry, critical thinking and applied problem-solving, as well as honed communication and collaboration skills. Students will also be eligible to receive scholarships, both through GPA-qualifying Education Lottery and several others specific to our region and school.
Will students have access to Honors courses? Advanced Placement classes? College dual-enrollment?
Yes. Our teachers (Professional Educators, or Pros) will offer rigorous, real-world applicable courses where interested students may take on Honors Challenges or coursework to earn honors weight and distinction.
While the school will not offer Advanced Placement classes in our course guide, we will support students who wish to pursue an Advanced Placement course independently.
The school will be pursuing a partnership with at least one area college to offer dual-enrollment classes.
Will NEXT School Eagle Ridge accept/enroll and support students with IEPs, 504s, and/or other support needs?
YES. As a public school, NEXT School Eagle Ridge is required and designed to provide a sound and robust educational experience that meets State standards and learning outcomes for ALL students. The school understands, respects and values that people learn in different ways and often have specific accommodation needs to address. The school will have fully-trained certified special education staff members to work with students classified with special needs.
Will there be a PowerSchool parent/student portal to review grades and progress?
Yes. As a state public school we use PowerSchool to track attendance and academic grades, and parents and students will have access to view their status to date via an online portal. In addition, families will be invited to regular conferences held throughout the year with teachers, students and parents to reflect on school performance and plan and set goals moving forward.
Will interested NEXT School Eagle Ridge students be able to participate in programs through the Hamilton Career Center? Other career exploration opportunities?
YES. The Career Center's programs will be open to those attending NEXT School in much the same way as they are for other area students not enrolled in the Oconee County School District. There may be some popular programs that when at capacity will be restricted and students will be placed on a waiting list and invited should a spot become open.
The NEXT School is designed to integrate regular “community-as-a-classroom” opportunities such as mentored internship placements, and work-based training and development programs (tech., medical, education, construction, agriculture, culinary, etc.)
Will NEXT School Eagle Ridge an interscholastic athletic program?
YES. There are some steps that need to be taken first in order for a new school to be invited into the Regional High School League, but it is a priority to field competitive sports teams each season to represent the school.
Students wishing to participate in a sport that the NEXT School does not offer have the right, without any restrictions, to try-out and play for the school they are zoned by residence to attend.
Will there be traditional school experiences at the NEXT School Eagle Ridge (dances, socials, spirit week, graduation, etc.)?
YES. We cannot forecast what students and families will want to continue as far as past traditions, but all will be considered, along with being part of creating new ones too. Certainly, rite of passage events like graduation, prom, spirit week, etc. are bound to remain.
Will NEXT School Eagle Ridge provide transportation for students?
Charter schools do not receive additional State funding for buses and transportation, therefore it requires the school community to come together to develop a transportation plan—this could include car-pooling, obtaining safe vehicles and contracting drivers to run specified routes, etc. We will come up with creative solutions to get our students where they need to go--before, during, and after school.
What is the school day like for students? Does the school follow the same academic calendar as most area schools?
Core learning blocks occur in the morning and afternoon, a school-wide lunch break midday, and designated times throughout the day/week for all-school meetings and project/elective/enrichment sessions.
The calendar requires the same number of school days as any other approved public school in the state. Our calendar will typically align with the county school district and/or our sister campus in Greenville (NEXT High School), although on occasion there may be some variation.
Have more questions? Please reach out and ask: