MONCKS CORNER — The Berkeley County School District is developing more educational options for next year.
The school board Tuesday approved three pilot programs for the 2009-10 school year. Hanahan Middle School will offer two choice options, or "academies," one in pre-engineering and another in the humanities. And Berkeley High School will offer the Scholars Academy, a pre-university program for freshmen and sophomores.
The Berkeley High program will lay the groundwork for offering the challenging International Baccalaureate program two years from now. That program is open only to juniors and seniors.
Archie Franchini, district deputy superintendent for learning services, said that each of those programs, at least for the first year, would be open only to students in the school in which they are offered.
Last month, district officials discussed whether some of the new programs should be magnet programs, which means they would be open to students districtwide.
But, Franchini said, to minimize some board members' concerns about transportation and the cost of the new efforts, the district will use the "school-within-a-school" model for at least the first year.
District officials have said they are responding to a call by state Superintendent Jim Rex to offer more learning choices in public schools.
Berkeley Superintendent Anthony Parker said the district wants to expand educational options "in a systemic way."
"We need long-range planning," Parker said. And the district has to consider whether individual schools have the capacity for new programs.
Successful programs might be expanded to other schools after the pilot phase, district leaders have said.
The board also approved a college transition program for students at Cross High School.
The new programs will build on options already under way in the district.
Berkeley schools currently offer elementary and middle school arts magnet programs, and the board already has approved an arts magnet program for high school students at Goose Creek High School for the 2009-10 school year. And the district offers the Star Academy, a program for struggling early high school students, at Berkeley High School.