On November 14, 2014, University School students, faculty, and parents took part in National Day of Caring service projects at eleven sites across Charleston, Berkeley, and Dorchester counties through the Trident United Way in the Lowcountry. This is one of the biggest Days of Caring in America, and we contributed over 500 hours of service at Midland Park Primary, Jane Edwards Elementary, Windsor Hill Elementary, Chicora Elementary, FamilyCorps, Carter-May Assisted Living Home, Berkeley Citizens, International Primate Protection League, South Santee Senior and Community Center, Fresh Future Farm, and Windwood Farm Home for Boys.
The Post and Courier featured a story on our exit polling on Election Night 2014: “Exit poll good news for Gov. Nikki Haley, school and library referendums.” Channel 2 interviewed one of our exit polling groups at M. Pleasant Municipal Complex, and the result is a neat video and insightful article: “Kids exit poll Lowcountry voters.” Channel 5 News also spotlighted this experience for our students on their website: “Students, not old enough to vote, find success predicting election outcomes.” Click here for the full results of our 2014 Election Day Exit Polling and here for a video explanation of our exploration of civics and exit polling.
On Wednesday, October 29, 2014, we won Second Place Team at the South Carolina Independent School Association Middle School Math Meet, and this included having three of the top six high scorers for the whole competition (over 25 schools and 200+ students)! We fielded two teams, and they got 2nd and 9th overall. Congratulations to all of the participating students (Thomas Boyle, William Eustis – 4th overall, Kat Favre, Jack Frain – 2nd overall, Julian Griffin, Ron Kalus, Sabrina Lawrence, Mary Lee, Allison Li – 6th overall, Alex Pawlik, and Isabel Prioleau) and our Middle School Math teachers: Mrs. Brockman, Mrs. Lawrie, and Mr. Zenauskas!
On October 19, 2014, we were Runners-Up in the Best School Booth contest at the Mt. Pleasant Children’s Day Festival at Park West! Congratulations to everyone who helped design it and set up, and thanks to all of the USL community members who represented us at the Festival!
On Friday, October 10, 2014, USL hosted an accreditation visit and received our annual financial audit. These forms of external review of University School are vital in validating and providing useful into our operations and the learning experience for our students:
1) Accreditation – October 2014
A three-person team, comprised of college professors and independent school educators, from the South Carolina Independent School Association spent today at University School as part of our every-three-year accreditation cycle. They explored all aspects of USL, observed classes, and talked with a variety of members of our community. USL meets or exceeds all of the accreditation criteria, and their feedback was effusive and helpful. Here is the summary from their report:
“The team would like to commend the school on the following:
1. The positive school/church interaction
2. The healthy, positive school environment
3. Small class sizes
4. Flexibility that teachers have to instruct students that best matches the students learning styles
5. Student interaction with adults
6. The active engagement of students in the classroom
The team was extremely impressed with the school and had difficulty coming up with suggestions to improve the school.”
2) Audit – October 2014
Here are the summary results of our 2013-2014 school year audit from the accounting firm of GlaserDuncan. USL has its business-side in good order and carries no debt. Although financial measurements will never be a true indicator of the School’s success, some are very important for the long-term health and viability of the school. One of these is how much of every dollar the School spends that goes to supporting its mission. In the case of University School for 2013-2014, $0.82 of every dollar spent went back to supporting the mission of the School. For our peer schools, the average is $.70.
In August 2014, University School was designated a Partner in Prevention for the 2014-2015 school year by Darkness to Light. USL has been awarded D2L’s Partner in Prevention distinction every year since 2011. We were part of the inaugural class for this, and it honors our commitment to the prevention of child sexual abuse and to helping children grow up healthy and whole. USL faculty is trained in Darkness to Light’s Stewards of Children program every August, and all parent volunteers for overnight trips take the same program and have their backgrounds checked.
On Saturday, March 29, 2014, the University School team was one of the top performers, collectively and individually, at the Mathletics Competition hosted by Christ Our King-Stella Maris school. Over 200 students competed and came from as far as the Midlands of South Carolina. Congratulations to our students and teachers!
* Individual Event (Grades 5-6) – Thomas Boyle – 2nd place, Allison Li – 3rd place, Jonathan Roberts – 4th place
* Team Event (Grades 5-6) 1st Place – Thomas Boyle, Hannah Godsill, Mary Lee, Allison Li, Jonathan Roberts
* Individual Event (Grades 7-8) – Annabella Leone – 3rd place
* Team Event (Grades 7-8) 2nd Place – Alex Adragna, William Eustis, Annabella Leone, Sandy Otap, Campbell Sheidow
On March 4, 2014, our Middle School Quiz Bowl team won their region. We will take part in the State Quiz Bowl on April 2. All of our region competitors (Mason Prep School, Palmetto Christian Academy, and Northwood Academy) were adept and kind, and we all had a fun time. This was an amazing outcome considering it was our first time ever participating in a quiz bowl competition. Thanks to Mrs. Logan for helping to chaperone the group, and we are proud of the students on the team: Alex Adragna, Patrick Boyle, Jack Frain, Daniel Kalus, Ron Kalus, Annabella Leone, and Gabby Villacres (observer).
Three University School 7th graders received State Recognition on the Duke TIP SAT for 2013-2014. Over 40% of USL students have received this honor in our history. Congratulations to Kat Favre, Jack Frain, and Hayes Richards. For State Recognition, a student must achieve a score higher than 50% of college-bound juniors and seniors on one section of the SAT. Kudos to Jack Frainfor also receiving Grand Recognition (scoring better than 90% on one section of the SAT).
We are very proud of our students who competed in the SCISA State Literary Meet on Wednesday, February 5, 2014, in Summerville and are grateful for the teachers who chaperoned them. As with our LOTCs that place students in all sorts of situations to learn, competitions like this allow students to test and push themselves — and then learn from the experience. We participated in 1-2 events a few years ago, but this was our first year fielding a full-complement of students in the array of fields. So, in many ways this was a fact-finding mission for us as we expect to continue our participation in the future, and now we have an even better understanding of the competition in general and the individual events. Congratulations to Alex Adragna for winning 3rd Place in Middle School Extemporaneous Speaking!
In the Spring semester of 2013-2014, we learned the results of the annual Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. This year our 7th-9th graders entered 41 works of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry and received an astonishing 22 awards! At the national level, we had two students place in the top 1%! National medalists represent the top 1% of submissions to the 2014 Scholastic Awards. University School has two national medalists: Alex Adragna (8th) and Jack Frain (7th). Congratulations to our students and our MS/US Writing teacher Sara Peck! Alex Adragna – Silver Key (Flash Fiction): The Elevator; Gold Key (Poetry): Remembrance, the Drive, Violence, Out of Mind (National Gold Medal Winner); Honorable Mention (Personal Essay/Memoir): Raining Apples and Dogs – Sasha Audier-Johnson – Gold Key (Poetry): When the Sun Sets; Honorable Mention (Poetry): It Must Come Down; Honorable Mention (Flash Fiction): Crushed; Honorable Mention (Flash Fiction): Remembering Silence – Patrick Boyle – Honorable Mention (Flash Fiction): Earthfall – Pate Bryant – Honorable Mention (Science Fiction/Fantasy): Stuck: A Story of Survival – Miko Crowley -Honorable Mention (Flash Fiction): Water Gun Fight – Kat Favre – Honorable Mention (Short Story): First Day at SAGT – Jack Frain – Honorable Mention (Humor): Flawless Napping For Bad Students; Honorable Mention (Humor): Jonathon Briggs, PI; Gold Key (Poetry): The Death of John F. Kennedy (National Silver Medal Winner) – Sasha Grigorieff – Honorable Mention (Flash Fiction): Misaki Mei Used To Be a Good Girl – Ashton Kennington – Honorable Mention (Flash Fiction): The Fact of Five Inches; Honorable Mention (Flash Fiction): It’s Not a Favor – Annabella Leone – Honorable Mention (Flash Fiction): Gusts of Wind; Silver Key (Poetry): The Twenty-fifth Year, Watchdog, 38 Years Later; Honorable Mention (Poetry): Lacking Extravagance – Morgan Mitchell – Silver Key (Flash Fiction): Remembering Silence – Kennon Saad – Honorable Mention (Flash Fiction): The Attack of the Mutant Pickles