Community comes together at summit

EDGEFIELD, S.C. --- Educators hope to drum up more support from faith-based organizations and private businesses this weekend by stressing that an involved community makes a successful school district.


The Edgefield County School District will hold its second annual Education Summit. Last year's summit brought together more than 300 parents, volunteers and representatives of faith-based organizations to brainstorm on ways to improve the county's schools.

"We are very proud to be offering this event for the citizens and parents of Edgefield County," said Dr. Mary R. Crenshaw, the county school superintendent. "The program offers a wide variety of topics that will be valuable to parents as they partner with their children and their schoolwork."

Organizers want volunteers for mentoring programs, including more after-school programs. The idea is to build on last year's theme of "it takes a village to raise a child."

Three main sessions will focus on each level of K-12 education so parents and volunteers can learn how to best serve the schools.

"Everybody's got a different idea of what needs to be done to create a better community," Edgefield Mayor Ken Durham said. "This is just kind of a work session to discuss where we need to go."

Several organizations, including Women in Unity, started a homework center after last year's summit, founder Essie Nicholson said. The organization works with about 20 pupils after school.

"We've gotten a lot of support out of the partnership, and we can come together under one umbrella and know we're on the same page for that child," she said.

The summit can help organizations join another group or start another mentoring program. Parents will also have the opportunity to find out which organizations offer after-school help in their area, Ms. Nicholson said.

Mr. Durham said that before last year's summit he wasn't sure what was going to come out of it, but anyone participating this year can see that progress was made and will only get better with more volunteers.

"The school system's doing about all they can, and we need to start thinking outside the box to help them more," he said.

Reach Julia Sellers at (803) 648-1395, ext. 106, or


WHAT: Edgefield County Schools Education Summit

WHEN: 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturday

WHERE: Johnston-Edgefield-Trenton Middle School

DETAILS: For information, call (803) 275-4601