Last year, Olympia Learning Center student Dwayne Alston was given an internship with Olympia’s Vulcan Materials Company. This internship greatly enhanced his time at Richland 1’s alternative school, enabling Alston to learn practical skills such as running rock quarry machinery and welding and also forming his career goals for the future.
Researchers at the Institute of Labor Economics found that having a black teacher at the elementary level makes it more likely for a poor black student to pursue college. The problem is, South Carolina doesn’t have enough black teachers to go around. Enter Roy Jones and Clemson’s Call Me MISTER program.
South Carolina schools need more teachers of color to influence students of color to go on to graduate high school and even go to college. The lack of diversity currently contributes to lesser achievement from students. As the problem grows, our job force shrinks and the gap in economic mobility increases.
A John Hopkins economist found that low income black students black students thrive when they have a black teacher in elementary school.
Learning about life is just as important as core classes at Olympia Learning Center, an alternative school for students expelled from their home schools. Small-group discussions introduce students to those skills and help make them better citizens.