Hilton Head Island is a diverse community of 38,366 people including families from all over the United States and the world. Our public school community currently has an enrollment of more than 4,000 students in grades pre-kindergarten through twelfth grade. Statistics from the 2010 Census report indicated that Hilton Head Island is first in median income in the state, first in number of graduates from High School aged 25 or older, and first in the state with 33.2% of residents with four of more years of college. The 2010 Census reports that Hilton Head Island was 82.9% white, 7.5% black and 15.8% Hispanic demographically as compared to 66.2% white, 27.9% black and 5.1% Hispanic in South Carolina. The median income of the residents of Hilton Head (2009) is $87,982 as compared to the state, $52,406.
Hilton Head Island Early Childhood Center (HHIECC) first opened its doors in January of 2006. The root of this program is strongly influenced by the Reggio Emilia philosophy which promotes individual and group inquiry. In keeping with our philosophy, we believe services for children should be brought to the child. Hence, our facility is designed in four pod areas which house classrooms, support services and dining areas. HHIECC is one of four early childhood centers in Beaufort County School District. Our school includes approximately 475 students in Pre-K and Kindergarten. The population includes: 53% Hispanic, 11% Black, 31% White and 5% other. We are a Title I school which feeds into Hilton Head Island Elementary School for the Creative Arts and Hilton Head Island Elementary School.
Students qualify for the Pre-Kindergarten program through the Child Find process which is done in the Spring. Students participate in the DIAL readiness screening which includes concepts, language, motor, hearing and vision subtests. Eligible students fall below the 50th percentile on their overall index, and score 40 or more points on the South Carolina State Department of Education Poverty Index.
Our Kindergarten population represents all students who are five on or before September 1st and who live in our attendance zone. Our school includes two special education classrooms, one for Pre-K students and one for Kindergarten students. We have two full time English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) teachers to support our English Language Learners population. We have three Pre-Kindergarten teachers serving six half-day sessions. There are 14 Kindergarten teachers, two special education teachers, an art, physical education, music, explorations, and media teacher. Our staff also includes our principal, curriculum specialist, assistant principal, guidance counselor, speech and language therapists, office staff, teacher assistants (one per classroom) and a bilingual liaison.
Academics is a top priority at our school. HHIECC continuously has met academic goals in both reading and math on the Measure of Academic Performance (MAP) test. It is our goal that as many students as possible leave our school on grade level or above. In Spring of 2013-2014 school year students scored 86.6% on grade level in Math and 85.6% on grade level in reading. In reading 93% students met target growth and 94% in Math. We have the highest gains in Kindergarten in both math and reading, 31.2% and 29.6% respectively, in the district. Given that so many of our students started the year with limited or no English, this is a phenomenal beginning for all students as they enter first grade in our sister schools!
The school uses the Student Intervention Team (SIT) and Response to Intervention (RTI) process with helping to monitor and support both student academic achievement and behaviors. Students receive interventions based on individual needs which can include: tutoring, push-in support, literacy instruction, behavior plans and instruction by tutors or mentors. Students also receive individual support in the classroom through differentiation of curriculum and instruction by the child’s teacher. Additional curriculum and materials such as Alphabet Junction and Number Worlds is used to support student understanding of concepts.
HHIECC is a professional learning community. Teams meet to focus on student achievement through faculty meetings, curriculum meetings, and data meetings. Pod meetings are held on a regular basis to discuss best practices used in our classrooms. These are important practices that we use to support our achievement and are an example of the many ways our faculty learns and grows. Our teachers are involved with ongoing professional development, including book studies, in order to keep abreast of best practices in education.