Breakthrough in School Choice

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Exciting progress is being made in SDPC's Breakthrough in School Choice Initiative!

On December 12, our school board approved the direction for two schools that will be transformed into theme-based magnet schools in 2018.

Next fall, Central Elementary School will become the Central Academy of the Arts, and McKissick Elementary School will become the McKissick Academy of Science & Technology.

To read more about how each school offer an educational experience that is innovative and distinct from any other school in our district, please visit the links below:


In the coming weeks, we will continue to release details regarding enrollment and application procedures, as well as developments in the schools continue to refine their curriculum and programs for the coming year.

If you have specific questions about either school, please don't hesitate to send emails to CAAquestions@pickens.k12.sc.us for inquiries about Central Academy, or to MASTquestions@pickens.k12.sc.us for questions about McKissick Academy. We look forward to hearing from you!


The selection of Central and McKissick as sites for the magnet programs was influenced by feedback gained through the district-wide School Choice Survey taken by parents, community, and staff members over the summer. Other considerations such as location, enrollment, and school capacity were taken into account during the selection process.   

Read more in our news release about the announcement!

The purpose of a magnet school theme-based program is improved teaching and learning, addressing diversity, and addressing school capacity through school choice options.

The plans for both schools are being based on the National Magnet School Standards of Excellence.  

Check back here as we continue to post the progress of the Breakthrough in School Choice Initiative.