NEXT High School is a public charter school—what is the difference between public and charter schools?


Being a free, public charter school means NEXT High School has no tuition fees, and your child’s education is publicly-funded by the SC Department of Education through the South Carolina Public Charter School District (SCPCSD). The SCPCSD includes the following definitions of "traditional" public schools, magnet schools, and charter schools on its website: “The large majority of public schools are traditional, meaning your student is zoned to a particular school and receives free transportation to and from the school. Some school districts have magnet schools, which are choice programs that a student can apply for and may or may not be accepted/invited to attend. Charter schools are also public schools, but unlike magnet schools, they cannot have any admissions criteria outside of the requirement to be a resident of South Carolina. Charter schools usually have some sort of “innovative theme,” such as language immersion, environmental studies, or Montessori programming.”
NEXT High School’s “innovative theme” is a Project Based Learning model that focuses on real-world impact and preparation for life after school. Admission is open to all 9th–12th grade residents of South Carolina at www.nexthighschool.org/enroll




What does it cost to attend a charter school? Are there any fees?


As a public charter school, NEXT High School is tuition-free. NHS also offers a free and reduced lunch program for families who qualify. Fees for technology and/or extracurricular activities may apply, but are kept as minimal as possible. Students are issued school-owned Chromebook computers during their enrollment; families may be responsible for intentional and/or accidental damage.




What are the academics and curriculum at NEXT High School?


NEXT High School follows a Project Based Learning (PBL) model while delivering a rigorous, accredited education and South Carolina High School Diploma upon graduation. Student schedules are based on a “4x4” block system, where students enroll in four full credits per semester, meeting for four longer, block-style classes each day. The 4x4 block schedule (8 possible credits per year) allows students flexibility in their academic planning, including time for internships as upperclassmen; early dismissal for work or college courses as upperclassmen; makeup credits or credit recovery as needed; possible early graduation; or participation in Fine Arts or Tech programs off campus.
Students have opportunities to enroll in honors versions of select core classes (Math, English, Science, and Social Studies); a variety of elective courses; and the opportunity to take dual enrollment college classes as juniors and seniors. Contact our School Counselor for more details.




What is Project Based Learning (PBL)? What does PBL look like at NHS?


According to PBLWorks, “Project Based Learning (PBL) is a teaching method in which students learn by actively engaging in real-world and personally meaningful projects.” NEXT High School uses PBL to spark student interests, drive rigorous inquiry, and empower student impact in the real world, now. Students accomplish these vital PBL stages through projects in their classes—but also through community service, internships, Student Leadership programs, personal interest projects, a Senior Capstone Project, and connections with local businesses, entrepreneurs, and artists.
NEXT High School follows best practices and research from leading Project-Based Learning (PBL) centers such as PBLWorks (formerly the Buck Institute for Education, or BIE). Other inspiration programs include High Tech High (HTH) and the New Tech Network.




How does NEXT High School support the social and emotional needs of its students?


NEXT High School is a small school built on strong, healthy connections between students, teachers, administration, and the home. With a current maximum grade size of approximately 80 students, NHS is a small-school environment where students can find a place to be themselves and feel at home. NHS strives to be a place where no student “falls through the cracks.” Class sizes are small (20-25 max, with many sections at just 12-15 per class), and our teachers work hard to connect proactively with families about progress, needs, or concerns. Each student is also enrolled in a small-group Advisory of 12-18 peers with a teacher-Advisor. Advisory is a safe place to check in throughout the week for everything from announcements and guidance, to team-building, games, and competitions. Advisors are also the first point of contact between the home and school.
Finally, NHS employs a School Counselor and team of Support Staff to meet with students, provide recommendations and support to families, and ensure each student’s social, emotional, and academic success on their high school journey.




What are the qualifications of the teaching staff (training, experience and certification)?


NEXT High School’s teachers are SC state-certified educators, are in the process of obtaining SC certification, or are otherwise appropriately-qualified to teach in their subject area. NHS teachers participate in ongoing Professional Development (PD) during annual in-service days over the summer and regular PD meetings throughout the school year. Teachers are encouraged to attend and participate in off-site or virtual PD opportunities, conferences, and workshops. When possible, NHS helps offset the cost of travel or registration for additional PD opportunities, and may bring in visiting experts to train its staff onsite.
NHS teachers are observed, evaluated, and supported, working with school administration in a data-driven approach to continually improve their teaching practices and student learning.




How does NEXT provide a safe and supportive learning environment for its students?


NEXT High School is a closed campus with one means of entrance and exit via secured door in the school lobby. As a closed campus, students may not leave and return to campus (except for specific school-related or approved purposes), instead remaining onsite for the duration of the school day. Students under age 18 must be signed out by a legal parent/guardian or approved designee. NHS performs various emergency drills (e.g., fire drills, tornado drills) in accordance with state requirements and in order to safeguard all staff and students in the event of emergencies. Student safety is paramount in dealing with student behavior. NHS has a zero-tolerance position when it comes to violence, weapons, drugs or alcohol, or anything that poses potential harm to the student body. In addition to internal disciplinary procedures, NHS Administration works closely with local law enforcement, the Department of Social Services (DSS), Family Court, and other agencies as required.




What are NEXT High School’s discipline philosophy and practices?


NHS’ core tenets of culture and respect are: (1) Respect Yourself (2) Respect Others (3) Respect the Space These tenets of respect guide our teachers and administrators to help students identify their own behaviors and actions and move toward restoration and maturity. When student behavior disrupts the learning environment, teachers will approach with the lowest level-appropriate correction strategies (such as redirection, positive reinforcement, separated or assigned seating, etc.) before escalating as needed to the Administration. Again—student safety is primary in disciplinary matters. NHS has a zero-tolerance position when it comes to violence, weapons, drugs or alcohol, or anything that poses potential harm to the student body. In addition to disciplinary procedures within the school, the NHS Administration works closely with local law enforcement, the Department of Social Services (DSS), Family Court, and other agencies as required.
When appropriate, students may be suspended and/or recommended to the NHS Board for expulsion. All concerns or questions about disciplinary processes may be directed to the school Principal and/or Administrative Team.




How does the class size at NEXT High School compare to the average class size in local public high schools?


NEXT High School class sections are typically 20-25 student max, with many sections at just 12-15 students per class. By comparison, some Upstate public high schools can average 30+ students per core class.




How does NEXT High School prepare students for college admissions and careers?


NEXT High School provides opportunities for college visits, on-campus college and career fairs, visits from college and career representatives, and internships. NEXT High School students also use Tallo, a free online platform and app that lets students showcase themselves and get discovered by colleges and companies everywhere. Students’ Tallo profiles allow them to get connected with scholarships, college applications, and job opportunities before they leave high school. Years of unique project work—including their Senior Capstone Projects—makes for compelling college admissions letters and application portfolios.
NHS graduates have a proven record of acceptance to colleges and universities such as University of Chicago, Savannah College of Art & Design, Clemson University, Furman University, and more. NHS grads also go on to paid internships, trade schools, gap-year programs, military service, and directly into the workforce. NEXT High School is proud of the diverse opportunities its graduates successfully pursue after high school.




Does NEXT High School accomodate students with special educational needs and support?


Yes—NEXT High School’s teachers and Special Education team work to provide learning accommodations according to learners’ specific needs, IEPs, and 504 Plans. Contact our Special Education team with any specific questions you may have.





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