State approves Polaris Tech Charter School to open in Jasper Summer 2018

Polaris Tech Charter School is on its way to reality after earning approval from the State Public Charter School District Board during a hearing in Columbia Thursday, May 11.

Polaris Tech is a college- and career-focused middle/high school with a unique individualized learning model. Students will have the opportunity to study specific career paths as well as experience the workplace. The school’s ultimate goal is to prepare all students for college, career, and life. 

“This is an amazing step toward helping the young people of Jasper County find new futures,” said retired Gen. Lloyd “Fig” Newton, a member of the Polaris Steering Committee and native son of Jasper County. 

“A lot of people worked very hard for a long time to make this school happen, and parents of more than 200 children said Polaris might be the best option for them. We are thrilled with the State Charter Board’s decision,” he said. 

Polaris Tech is scheduled to open in Summer 2018 for 160 middle and high school students. Organizers continue to examine facility options across Jasper County and decisions are expected soon. At the same time, a formal Polaris Board of Directors will be seated, with one of their first jobs being to hire an executive director for the progressive school. 

“The (Polaris) Charter Committee represents an impressive group of individuals who are all clearly committed to providing high-quality school options to the students of the Lowcountry, and the proposed school is rooted in a clearly identified need for additional career technology education options,” the S.C. Public Charter School District review team wrote in recommending the charter approval. 2 

“Obviously we have a great deal of work ahead, but knowing our groundwork is paving the way to a new school in Jasper County is very gratifying,” said Sandra Chavez, one of the founder members of the Polaris Tech concept. 

“When we received the 60-day extension to refine and elaborate on a few elements of our proposal, it helped us zero in on our mission and how we will accomplish it,” she said. “Now that we have the charter, it’s full speed ahead for Polaris Tech.” 

As a state charter school, the Polaris Tech Board of Directors will be responsible for meeting state charter guidelines and accountability measures. 

To keep updated about Polaris Tech Charter School, follow them on Facebook. Additional information will be shared in coming weeks through social media, traditional news media and community meetings. 

“We appreciate all the families and community leaders who came to us and enthusiastically endorsed our ideas for improving career education opportunities in Jasper County and the Lowcountry,” Newton said. “This region is poised for tremendous economic growth and we need to start right now to prepare our population for those jobs. Polaris Tech is part of that answer.”