Two public school districts, two private schools, one technical college, one four-year college and a branch university meet the educational needs of Laurens County. Numerous other colleges and universities are within a one-hour commute.
Laurens County School District 56 serves the City of Clinton and southern Laurens County. The district serves approximately 3,059 students in three elementary schools and two secondary schools, as well as a Child Development Center for grades preK-4K. All of the district’s schools are located in Clinton with the exception of Joanna-Woodson Elementary in the Joanna community.
All schools are accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and the South Carolina Department of Education. The district has an excellent 24:1 pupil to teacher ratio and a 2:11 student/computer ratio.
District 56 strives to embrace the principles on which they stand as they relate to the students, staff and community. They are environment, uniqueness, collaboration, goals and content.
The new Clinton High School, which opened in fall 2010, offers advanced placement courses in English, calculus, American history and biology. Students who qualify may earn college credit through a cooperative agreement with Presbyterian College. Computer-assisted instruction is offered in all schools. A full complement of extracurricular activities is provided in a variety of award-winning programs.
District 56 has both a nationally recognized JROTC program and National Beta Club. They offer strong programs for the academically gifted, services for students with disabilities, outdoor environmental labs, National Wildlife Federation Schoolyard Habitats®, a National Honor Society, state-recognized service learning labs and a strong band program. The district also collaborates with such prominent organizations as the Dolly Parton Imagination Library free books program, South Carolina Governor’s Reading Initiative, the Milken Teacher Advancement Program and Presbyterian College’s CHAMPS program. About 500 employees work in the district, and more than half of the teachers hold advanced degrees. There are 24 teachers who have National Board Certification.
Laurens County School District 55 strives to be a system of excellence and equity in educational practices for each learner. Serving approximately 5,900 students in 11 schools from the City of Laurens and its surrounding areas, District 55 provides opportunities for students from four-year-old kindergarten through grade 12. Instruction is focused on state and national education standards at every grade level.
The district uses an assessment process to determine each student’s individual academic growth and to understand a student’s current performance level. This process provides data that is then used to help meet the needs of students. Reading intervention programs are in place at all schools to provide assistance to struggling readers. The district’s strong emphasis in literacy helps students become stronger readers and learners in all subject areas.
Realizing that the family is the primary influence in the development of an individual, District 55 is proud to participate in the Be There national initiative — a program designed to help parents turn ordinary moments into something extraordinary for children. The district’s parenting program also provides training, literature and newsletters that address everyday issues faced at home and in the school setting.
District 55 believes that effective and highly qualified professionals are the basis for providing an atmosphere of excellence for all students. Of the current 391 certified teachers on staff, 308 hold advanced certifications or degrees. Thirty-three district teachers hold National Board Certification.
The district has more than 2,000 computers connected to the Internet, Promethean interactive whiteboards in more than 100 classrooms and on-site technical support at each school, thus providing students with hands-on technology and resources.
Laurens District 55 believes that each individual has different needs and deserves equal opportunities for success in learning. A partnership with Laurens County First Steps provides opportunities for preparing students to enter the school setting. The district provides parents a choice of Creative Curriculum or Montessori Curriculum for students entering kindergarten. There are trained teachers on staff to address the academic needs of Limited English Proficient students. The School-to-Work Program provides extensive opportunities for high school students to receive hands-on experience in the workplace. Through these initiatives and many others, Laurens District 55 is committed to making every moment matter and producing individuals who can and will make valuable contributions to the Laurens County community.
The mission of Laurens County Lifelong Learning is to provide needed educational opportunities for those who want to further their education to be able to obtain a high school credential, go on to higher education or enter the workforce.
Lifelong Learning works with people of all ages. Family Literacy helps to prepare both the parents and preschoolers to be successful as a family and as students.
The GED Program gives the 17-year-old and older a second chance to obtain a high school credential.
WorkKeys prepares and measures an individual’s academic level and job ability performance levels. Basic computer courses help to give students basic computer skills in many different computer programs.
Laurens Academy is located one mile off I-385 on Highway 49, convenient to Laurens and Clinton, as well as Union, Simpsonville and surrounding areas.
The school offers a K4-12 college preparatory curriculum with a nondenominational Christian emphasis and is accredited by the South Carolina Independent School Association. Visual and choral arts, foreign language, a computer lab, physical education, dual enrollment (high school/college credit) courses and a competitive and successful athletic program are just a few of the things offered at Laurens Academy.
Lighthouse Christian Academy is located on Highway 221 between Laurens and Enoree. The school offers a quality, Christ-centered education in grades K5-12. Their goal is to educate each child in a Christian atmosphere and provide them with the academic training they will need to succeed. Annual and monthly tuition plans are available.
LAURENS COUNTY LIBRARY
The Laurens County Library System operates two libraries and one bookmobile and provides book deposits at several locations throughout the county for senior citizens.
The 23,000-square-foot headquarters facility, located at 1017 West Main Street in Laurens, opened in 1989. It has a large public meeting room that accommodates 80, a smaller conference room and several study and tutoring rooms. The 8,200-square-foot Clinton Public Library is located at 107 Jacobs Highway in Clinton. The bookmobile provides service throughout Laurens County.
In addition to more than 110,000 books, the library’s collection contains books on tape, magazines, videocassettes and large-type books. Both Clinton and Laurens libraries have computers connected to the Internet with various programs (including Word, Excel and Powerpoint) loaded and available for public use. Basic computer classes are offered free of charge at the Laurens Library.
The headquarters library in Laurens has an extensive local history and genealogy collection. Both libraries offer children’s programs throughout the year. Reference services are also available. Resources covering a wide range of subject areas, including finance and business, are available in both print and electronic format. The library’s trained and helpful staff is available to assist patrons using these resources. Call 864-681-READ (7323) for more information.
Presbyterian College is a four-year, private, co-educational college accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. A highly selective national liberal arts college, PC is affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (USA) and has been recognized in national publications and in the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll as a college that “gets it right” based on students’ and graduates’ contributions to society.
Founded in 1880 as Clinton College, PC is located on 240 acres in Clinton, S.C. In addition to winning prestigious national and international scholarships, including a Rhodes Scholar, Rotary Scholars, Pew Fellows and a National Science Foundation Fellowship, PC graduates are servant leaders in their careers, their communities and their churches. Small classes are taught by a dedicated faculty — the vast majority of whom hold their terminal degrees. Six faculty members have been honored as South Carolina’s Professor of the Year — the most of any college or university in the state.
The Blue Hose athletics program is now a member of the Big South Conference and competes in NCAA Division I with 15 varsity sports for men and women.
The new Presbyterian College School of Pharmacy opened on August 16, 2010, with its inaugural class of nearly 80 students. The four-year Pharm.D. program will serve approximately 300 students when it reaches capacity in fall 2013.
Satellite operations of the University of South Carolina Union at Laurens began in 1983 with classes offered at the local junior high school. Since that time, the school has relocated to the Laurens County Higher Education Center, a state-of-the-art facility that opened in early 2002. USCU-L is especially attractive to adult students who return either to complete a degree, to take classes that their careers require or to enhance their knowledge of various academic subjects.
Afternoon and evening courses are the mainstay of the curriculum. In the face of skyrocketing college costs, some high school graduates also begin their undergraduate studies at USCU-L. Through its concurrent enrollment program, the school also offers qualified high school juniors and seniors the opportunity to begin their college coursework at a reduced fee before graduation. They may choose from a variety of classes in the humanities and the social and natural sciences, which can be applied to associate or baccalaureate degree programs.
For teachers in area school districts, USCU-L is a source of recertification or advanced degree classes. The school also serves as a registration and testing site for many telecommunications classes originating at the university’s main campus in Columbia.
Piedmont Technical College became the eighth of the 16-member institution in the South Carolina Technical Education System when it was established in 1966 to serve Laurens, Abbeville, Edgefield, Greenwood, McCormick, Newberry and Saluda counties. Those seven counties represent the largest geographic area served by any technical college in the state. Piedmont’s main campus is located on a 65-acre plot on Emerald Road in Greenwood. The Laurens County Center of Piedmont Tech moved to the Laurens County Higher Education Center on Medical Ridge Road in Clinton in 2002 after more than 11 years at their East Main Street location in Laurens.