The Center of Excellence has studied the needs of teachers who work in low-income schools for more than a decade. The identification of specialized instructional strategies that can help students achieve greater school success has been a major focus of study, as have the theories upon which these strategies are grounded. The Center received a legislated mandate to expand programming beyond the Pee Dee Region, and to develop a sequence of courses and field experiences that would lead to the South Carolina Add-On Certification for Teachers of Children of Poverty.
The Francis Marion University School Center of Excellence convened a task force comprised of stakeholders from around the state to consider the specialized preparation that would enhance an educator’s skills and knowledge beyond that required for traditional teaching and to prepare the individual for work in high-poverty schools. This group prepared a proposal that was submitted to the South Carolina State Department of Education and, subsequently, to the State Board of Education. The add-on certification requirements were approved and submitted for legislative approval. In June 2012, the Add-On Certification for Teachers of Children of Poverty became law in South Carolina and is currently the only certification of its type in the nation.