By September 1, a student must be:
3 years of age for handicapped assistance *
3 or 4 years of age for pre-kindergarten programs **
5 years of age for kindergarten (compulsory in South Carolina)
6 years of age for first grade (mandatory in South Carolina)
* Students who require handicapped assistance may be eligible for programs at age 3. Decisions are made on a child-by-child basis after specialized preschool procedures are followed.
** For 3 or 4-year-old pre-kindergarten programs, additional requirements (i.e., testing, income verification, etc.) must be met before admission to the program.
To enroll in SDPC, a student must reside in Pickens County with his or her parent or legal guardian and provide the following three required documents:
A copy of the student's state-issued birth certificate must be provided to the school at the time of enrollment. Hospital birth reports are not acceptable. If necessary, duplicate birth certificates can be obtained from local county health departments or the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, Vital Records and Public Health Statistics Division at 2600 Bull Street, Columbia, South Carolina, 29201 or from a similar agency in the state of the child's birth.
A valid South Carolina Certificate of Immunization must be presented for all students prior to their enrollment.
Proof of Pickens County residence – Acceptable proof is a current electricity, gas, water or cable/satellite bill in the parent/guardian’s name. The bill must show the service address. If a bill in the parent/guardian’s name is not available, an Affidavit of Residence is required. An affidavit can be done at the screening appointment.
Schools may ask for a student's Social Security Number. However, by federal law, schools cannot require that a Social Security Number be provided.
For a student who is transferring from another school or school district, a transfer/withdrawal form and a copy of the student's last report card should be provided to the school at the time of enrollment. Official transcripts are requested by mail and sent directly to the school. A hand-carried copy will not constitute an official transcript.
In cases where a student's parents are divorced and/or legally separated, the Court Order granting custody must be presented to school personnel and issues addressed prior to enrollment. In addition, a step-parent is NOT to be listed on enrollment forms UNLESS he/she has legal responsibility for the student by an Order of the Court.
In the case of guardianship (not to be confused with parental custody), a copy of the Court Order establishing the guardianship must be approved by and filed at the school district's Office of Student Services, 1348 Griffin Mill Road, Easley, S.C. 29640. Enrollment will not be permitted until the appropriate guardianship has been established and the document is on file. No handwritten "consent" from a parent will be accepted – whether or not it is notarized. Guardianship for enrollment purposes must be granted by Order of the Court.
It should be noted that by Common Law, the mother has sole and exclusive custody of a child born out of wedlock.
A State Affidavit can only be used for enrollment in specific circumstances as set forth by state law. This affidavit must be executed before and notarized by the school district's Director of Student Services or his assistant.
A correct "911" address MUST be provided at the time of enrollment. A post office box may be provided for mailing purposes only. A home address is required, as well as a current home telephone number and daytime telephone numbers for emergency purposes. Parents should be advised to notify the school immediately if their phone numbers change.
Proof of Residence
Students must reside in Pickens County with their parent or legal guardian in order to be eligible for enrollment in the School District of Pickens County. To ensure that students are eligible for enrollment, the district requires the parent/guardian to furnish proof of residence in Pickens County (1) upon initial enrollment at any school; (2) when a student moves from elementary to middle school; and (3) when a student moves from middle school to high school. In addition, a principal may require that the parent(s)/guardian(s) provide proof to verify the location of their residence at any time.
Documents, which may be used for this purpose, are as follows:
a copy of the parent's/guardian's current monthly utility bill (electricity, gas, water, etc.) showing the correct billing name and service address; or
a copy of the parent's/guardian's current cable television or satellite service bill, as long as it shows the service address and billing address.
Landline telephone bills, cellular telephone bills and pager bills are NOT accepted as proof of residence because those bills do not show a service address.
In the event that the parent(s)/guardian(s) cannot produce any of the above documents and state that they live with someone else (i.e., boyfriend, girlfriend, parents, grandparents, etc.), an Affidavit of Residence MUST be completed by the parent(s)/guardian(s) AND the person with whom they live and properly notarized by school personnel. It should be noted that there are criminal penalties for providing false information on the Affidavit of Residence.
Home School Options
In South Carolina, there are THREE ways for parents/guardians to home school their child/children.
1. LOCAL SCHOOL DISTRICT SUPERVISION (59-65-40)
"Parents or guardians may teach their children at home if the instruction is approved by the district board of trustees of the district in which the children reside." A district board of trustees shall approve home schooling programs which meet the following standards: 1) parent/guardian must hold at least a high school diploma or GED; 2) the instructional day is at least four and one-half hours per day (excluding lunch and recess) and the instructional year is at least 180 days; 3) the curriculum includes, but is not limited to, the basic instructional areas of reading, writing, math, science and social studies and in grades seven through twelve, composition and literature; 4) the parent/guardian maintains the following records for inspection upon reasonable notice by the district: a plan book, diary, or other written record indicating subjects taught and activities in which the student and parent engage, a portfolio of samples of student's academic work, and a record of evaluations of the student's academic progress, semiannual progress reports including attendance records and individualized assessments of the academic progress (progress reports must be submitted to the school district); 5) student has access to library facilities; 6) student participates in annual statewide testing; and 7) the parent/guardian must agree in writing to hold the district, harmless for any educational deficiencies of the student as a result of home education. For further information regarding this option or to receive an application form, please call 855-8150, Extension 148. (This option requires school board approval. The school board meets monthly except during the months of July and December.)
2. SCAIHS - S.C. Association of Independent Home Schools (59-65-45)
"In lieu of the requirement of Section 59-65-40, parents or guardians may teach their children at home if the instruction is conducted under the auspices of the South Carolina Association of Independent Home Schools. Bona fide membership and continuing compliance with the academic standards of SCAIHS exempts the home school from the further requirements of Section 59-65-40." For more information regarding SCHAIS, please call them at 803-814-0353.
3. THIRD OPTION ASSOCIATIONS (59-65-47)
"In lieu of the requirements of Section 59-65-40 or Section 59-65-45, parents or guardians may teach their children at home if the instruction is conducted under the auspices of an association for home schools which has no fewer than fifty members and meets the requirements of this section. Bona fide membership and compliance with the academic standards of the associations exempt the home school from the further requirements of Section 59-65-40 or Section 59-65-45." For a list of home school associations registered with the South Carolina Department of Education, their addresses, and contact information, please call 855-8150. Questions regarding the associations and their requirements should be directed to the contact persons on the list.