Anderson Schools and Education

Anderson, SC School System and Educational Information

Anxiously Awaiting the New Game of Thrones Novel

winds-of-winterFor many of our teens, George RR Martin’s epic series, a Song of Ice and Fire (commonly referred to simply as Game of Thrones, after the first book’s title and the subsequent HBO television series), is a popular read.

Over the last few years since the books first debuted I’ve personally seen many of our students walking around the halls with a copy of one of the Game of Thrones books in their hands.

Unfortunately for many, though, it’s been almost two years since the release of A Dance with Dragons, the fifth and latest novel in the 7-book series. That means that they’ve had ample time to catch up and read through everything, and it’s been almost a year now since the last season of the HBO drama.

That means that the next book, The Winds of Winter, is widely anticipated and students are anxious to get their hands on a copy.

Despite this emotional build up, there still isn’t a firm release date for the novel. While The Winds of Winter was originally expected to be released in April, there is now some doubt that it will be ready in time for the debut of the new HBO season.

That means many of our students will be forced to wait until late spring to read the book, which is unfortunate timing because it falls just before our normal exam period, and in the leadup to the Spring standardized exams, both the state exams and the SAT/ACT exam dates for our college-bound sophomores and juniors!

You can get more information and catch up on other books in the series at

Meanwhile, everyone will just have to stay focused on their studies (and perhaps the release of the Fifty Shades of Grey and Hunger Games movies!).

Wishing you all a happy holiday season as we get ready for the last month of our first semester and move into test time on this end as well!

You can watch this video for a few predictions about what’s in store for The Winds of Winter!

Reading The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings in Middle School

The-Hobbit-Book-CoverFollowing up on our new program for Anderson country elementary school students to download and listen to audiobooks, we’ve come up with a similar program for our middle school students, focused on The Lord of the Rings.

Though this series is typically not read until high school, I know that it can be a great adventure to challenge our middle school students with.

I personally read the Hobbit for the first time when I was in 5th grade, and followed up by reading the entire Lord of the Rings series just before I entered middle school. For those who say it can’t be done, I most certainly disagree!

Start with The Hobbit

Though it deals with a few complex themes, the Hobbit is not, itself particularly complicated. While obviously an educated adult reader will be able to glean more subtleties from the story, it is very appropriate for our 6th, 7th, and 8th graders to get started with.

It is a tale of remarkable adventure, mixing an excellent literature style with intriguing characters and fun excursions. There’s a bit of both mystery and action, and the fantastical world of Middle Earth can easily captivate any young mind.

Order the book from Amazon or you can or download The Hobbit audiobook from to get started.

Continuing with The Lord of the Rings Series

For the more advanced and ambitious students, once you’ve read The Hobbit in its entirety, we encourage you to continue on and read the full, unabridged Lord of the Rings trilogy.

This is a truly amazing adventure, and definitely ranks as one of the best fantasy series of all times. You’ll find the Tolkien has created a world complete unto itself, and you’ll quickly become enraptured with the quest of the fellowship to destroy the ring, and see it firsthand as they battle orcs and other evils on their way to Mount Doom!

Click here to get the series, or download The Fellowship of the Ring audiobook.

Is Fifty Shades of Grey Good for Our Students?

fifty shades sex sceneOne of the most popular teen trilogies today is the Fifty Shades of Grey series, which includes the debut novel by the same title, and sequels Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed.

Over the past few years, these novels have skyrocketed in popularity, and the first of a new blockbuster movie franchise is being released this fall.

Despite it’s immense popularity, however, a key question remains: is this series actually appropriate for our children?

The Incredible Controversy

At the hear of the controversy surrounding this book series is the complex and mature themes that it deals with, and questions over whether many of these themes are too dark for teenagers.

While other popular series, such as Twilight, have set something of a precedent for slightly disturbing, complex themes, and the popularity of a number of TV Shows, from Dexter to Bones, continue the trend, there is a real issue at the heart of this.

Is it appropriate for teenagers to be reading about intimate sado-masochistic sex scenes, depressed and often homicidal figures?

Is that really the image we want our children to go to bed with every night?

Part of the issue comes not just with the books themselves, but with the recent release of the first movie of the series. The Fifty Shade of Grey movie has several disturbing moments, even for adults, and was featured in a CBS News commentary for the inclusion of a very hard to digest sex scene.

The second and third books of the series are currently planned and in production for followup blockbuster htis. The sad state is that these books were darker than the first, is that to imply the movies will be as well?

It’s not my position to tell parents what is or is not appropriate for their teenagers to be reading, but I simply want to bring awareness to the fact that these novels aren’t your normal young adult fiction books that casually touch on coming of age themes.

Instead, they’re fully mature, and even explicit content that our teens are gobbling up.

So before you let your teen read the series, or watch the movies, just be aware of what, exactly, they’re watching and reading.



See the original CBS News article mentioned above. for copies of the books for audiobook downloads of the series.


New Audiobooks Program Announced for all Elementary School Students

In our efforts to continuously provide the best possible education for our students, Anderson County is pleased to announce a new partnership with, in conjuction with, one of the leading providers of audio books worldwide!

About The Initiative currently offers a free audiobook download to any new user on its platform, and has a number of selections that are appropriate for kids.

This initiative is targeted at helping our students improve their reading level by listening and following along with an audiobook, and was inspired in part by the recent TED Talk on student-driven learning having an important place in the classroom.

We are encouraging every single teacher in our elementary schools to adopt this initiative as a part of the curriculum. The choice of book is up to the teacher or school, but the idea is to enable students to expand their current reading level by being “helped through” a book that is slightly more advanced than their current level. For that reason, we encourage teachers to provide a selection of books for students to choose from, or have the student choose (with approval) a book of his or her own interest.

Rather than fumble through and get stuck trying to read on their own, they can use the free audio mp3s to tackle a more advanced book or topic.

Popular Audio Book Options has been a great help in getting this initiative off the ground, and has two suggestions for our elementary readers.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid

diary of wimpy kidFor students in grades 2 and 3, we feel that Diary of a Wimpy Kid is a great audio selection for this initiative.

Although this book is usually read by students aged 8-11, or the 4th and 5th grade levels, we want to challenge our students to read ahead of what’s expected from their age bracket, and this book is a challenging work for a 7-8 year old to tackle, both due to its length and complexity of material!

Click here to download Diary of a Wimpy Kid.

A Wrinkle in Time

a wrinkle in timeFor Students in Grades 4 and 5, one great suggestion is to download A Wrinkle in Time.

This is a classic work of children’s literature, and truly helps to bridge the gap between the “stories” so often read in elementary school, and the novels students will encounter in middle and high school.

Though traditionally a slightly higher level, for students ages 11 and 12, roughly the 6th grade, we think it’s a perfect choice for this program, to try to push our talented fourth and fifth graders to the next level!

Wren High School Principal Receives Award

Wren High School Principal Receives Award

principal1The SC Association of School Administrators has named Robbie Binnicker 2012 Secondary Principal of the Year. Mr. Binnicker graduated from Clemson University and has worked at Wren High School as a science teacher, coach, assistant principal, and principal. He credits a strong district and school staff, parents, and students in Anderson School District 1 for the quality education that is being delivered at Wren High School. The SC Association of School Administrators recognizes one elementary,one middle school, and one high school principal per year with the Prinicpal of the Year award.


Anderson County Schools Win Healthier US School Challenge Award

Anderson County Schools Win Healthier US School Challenge Award
Seven Schools in Anderson Districts 2 and 3 Win USDA Recognition

healthier us school challengeBelton Elementary, Honea Path Elementary, Marshall Primary, and Wright Elementary schools in Anderson School District 2 and Iva Elementary, Starr Elementary, and Flat Rock Elementary in Anderson School District 3 received Bronze Level Healthier US School Awards in August. The award is part of a voluntary national certification initiative for schools participating in the National School Lunch Program. It recognizes schools that take a leadership role in helping students make healthier eating and physical activity choices that will last a lifetime.

Sponsored by the USDA Food and Nutrition Service, the program features a monetary award for each school, an award plaque signed by a USDA official, a banner to display in the school, and the school name listed on the USDA Team Nutrition website. A USDA official will visit each school to present the official award.

Grant News: Science and Technology Grant Recipients 2015

Bosch Awards 10 Science and Technology Grants

Bosch is celebrating 25 years in Anderson County with grant awards to 10 county schools. The purpose of the  Bosch Environmental, Science and Technology, BEST, grant is to  enhance student learning about the relationship between technology and the environment. Grant proposals from schools were evaluated on project creativity, project innovation, impact on the school, students, and community, implementation plan, project management, and sustainability.  

The following schools received awards:
Crescent High School, $500
Flat Rock Elementary, $5,000
Iva Elementary, $5,000
Lakeside Middle School, $5,000
LaFrance Elementary School, $500
Palmetto High School, $500
Pendelton High School, $5,000
Southwood Academy of the Arts, $500
Starr Elementary, $500
Starr-Iva Middle, $5,000

Bosch is a leading global supplier of automotive original equipment and aftermarket products, industrial automation and mobile products, power tools and accessories, security technology, thermo-technology, packaging equipment, and household appliances.


We’re also looking forward to receiving more information on the Stephen Colbert grants from earlier this year: