Tuesday headlines: Charleston schools to focus on closing gaps, more

Charleston County School District Superintendent Don Kennedy proposed a aggressive new academic goal focus on closing achievement gaps between white students and students of color. The proposed plan would redefine the benchmarks in English, math, and college and career readiness. Kennedy’s ultimate goal is to increase the percentage of students who score “met” or “exceeds” on the South Carolina READY assessment administered to students in grades 3 through 8. The district scored 49.1% in 2021, and Kennedy hopes that by shifting the focus, the district can raise the score to 75% by 2027.

During this time, the district also discussed different security measures and needs for the upcoming school year. Michael Reidenbach, Executive Director of Security and Emergency Management for SDCC, provided a list of pros and cons for adding security measures for schools, including full-time weapons screening, check-in digital video on buses and hiring private security for schools.

District staff also presented a wish list Monday, consisting of things like gun detectors at high school entrances and the installation of bulletproof doors. The estimated value of added security would cost $59.2 million initially, with an additional $4.8 million in annual costs.

In other titles:

Berlin G. Myers Parkway enters the final stage. Construction of the Berlin G. Myers Parkway in Summerville has entered its final phase. The $137 million project will include a new four-lane highway as well as a multi-use path along the Sawmill Branch Trail for cyclists and pedestrians.

Charleston Airport will add curbside kiosks. Charleston International Airport recently announced plans to add curbside kiosks for passengers to check in their bags and drop them on a conveyor belt outside. The four new kiosks are designed to help reduce long queues inside the airport.

Non-profit Mount Pleasant receives $1 million in donations. Mount Pleasant non-profit East Cooper Community Outreach (ECCO) received an endowment of $1 million. The nonprofit Adele A. & Harold J. Westbrook Foundation has donated the funds to support ECCO’s “Beyond Our Walls” campaign, which will renovate its Six Mile Road facility, purchase a mobile office to serve rural communities and secure a fleet of vehicles to provide transportation to those in need. This is the largest donation since its inception in 1989.

Kimbrell calls for ‘gender identity’ books to be moved. State Sen. Josh Kimbrell, R-Spartanburg, called on Spartanburg Public Libraries to move children’s books that explore sexual identity to the adult section. Kimbrell said gender identity books are too mature and inappropriate for children.

The United States is seeking to expand the monkeypox vaccine. The Monkeypox vaccine is here, but in limited supply. The FDA has announced plans to help expand the vaccine to as many people as possible by injecting a small dose directly into the skin instead of a full dose into an underlying layer of fat.

Men sentenced to life in Arbery murder. Gregory and Travis McMichael, the white father and son convicted of murdering Ahmaud Arbery, were sentenced to life on Monday for interfering with rights, which is considered a hate crime. William “Roddie” Bryan Jr., the third man implicated in Arbery’s murder, was sentenced to 35 years in prison.

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