Meeting Street Schools is a Charleston-based nonprofit group founded by Benjamin Navarro, a Charleston businessman and philanthropist who also owns LTP Tennis in Mount Pleasant and the operations of Family Circle Tennis Center and Volvo Car Stadium on Daniel Island.
Opening Meeting Street Academy, its first flagship school in 2008, the nonprofit now operates three additional schools — two in North Charleston and one in Spartanburg. These schools serve students in pre-K through fifth grade and were founded on the principle that all children can excel in the classroom, regardless of their ZIP code or socioeconomic status. The mission is to create a model of quality public education for kids in underserved neighborhoods.
Meeting Street School’s vision is to “prove what is possible for all students in South Carolina and to fundamentally alter expectations for educators and students working in schools that serve under-resourced communities. We believe that educational opportunity is the gateway for economic and personal achievement.”
The schools are unique. The goals are large. And the results are impressive.
The proof is in the test results:
- Compared to the national average of 50th percentile, MSS students scored in the 73rd percentile in reading and in the 76th percentile in math in spring 2017.
- Compared to the national average of one time growth per year, MSS students are growing at a rate of 1.27 times in reading and 1.38 times in math (2016-2017).
- Based on MSS students’ average test scores, the schools rank among the top in the country, as compared with 15,000 elementary schools nationwide.
What’s the root of these testing accomplishments? Meeting Street Schools are centered around four pillars of success: early start, family partnership, holistic education and great teachers. They strive to have two teachers per classroom, longer school days and a culture of determination. Students are promised more class time, excellent academics, social and emotional development and physical health.
MEETING STREET SCHOOLS IN CHARLESTON
1. Meeting Street Academy (MSA) Charleston opened as a flagship pre-K through fifth grade independent school in 2008. Attended by minority children from low-income families, this private school continues to produce.
- Based on students’ average test scores, MSA ranks among the top in the country. As compared with 15,000 elementary schools nationwide, reading scores were in the 97th percentile, and math scores were in the 96th percentile.
- Compared to the national average of one time growth per year, MSA students are growing at a 1.4 times rate in reading and math.
- Compared to the national average of the 50th percentile, MSA students scored in the 84th percentile in reading and in the 83rd percentile in math.
- Nine out of 10 MSA students are at or above grade level in reading and math.
- Families who qualify for free or reduced-rate lunch are given admissions preference; however, all families should apply. Students can be from any school zone if the family is able to provide transportation.
- Thanks to the generosity of donors, individuals, corporations and foundations, MSA offers generous tuition assistance. Families who qualify for free or reduced-rate lunch pay approximately $2 per day ($400 per year).
2. Meeting Street Elementary at Brentwood opened in 2014 as MSA’s first public-private partnership in the heart of North Charleston. This school is a unique partnership between the Charleston County School District and Meeting Street Schools where MSS operates the school. Close to 100% of the students qualify for free and reduced-price lunches.
3. Meeting Street Elementary at Burns opened in 2018 and is a public, neighborhood, Charleston County School District elementary school — similar to MSE at Brentwood. It has an attendance zone like every other public school and is operated by MSS. There are no admissions standards. All public school children living in its attendance zone can attend.
Compiled by Tonya McGue