When Opportunity Knocks

The Center for Advanced Studies at Wando High School

When Charleston County School District built Wando High School in Mt. Pleasant, SC in 2001, the campus was created for a 3,000 student population filled with high achievers. College-bound students, mostly upper middle class, were filling the school’s Advanced Placement courses, participating in extracurricular activities, and enjoying the benefits of an excellent school system solidly focused on academic success. For the majority of the system’s students, this arrangement worked well, and most students were thriving.

“Most students,” however, means “not all students.” Who were the students who were not thriving? How many were there? And why? This question has weighed heavily upon educators for as long as education has existed, and it can be a challenging question to answer.

Faster than expected student growth in the district, another perennial challenge in the field of education, provided CCSD with an unusual opportunity: to construct a new facility, on the campus of the existing Wando High School, which would alleviate enrollment pressures while providing space for new programs. Could these new programs solve larger problems than crowded classrooms? District leaders knew that they could.

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