Letter: Making schools work for ‘the kids’

Story by Jen Jordan / February 10, 2016

As you may have read recently in this paper, we at Meeting Street Schools are in discussions with Charleston County School District to expand our public/private partnership from a single school, Meeting Street Elementary at Brentwood, to include Edmund A. Burns Elementary School. Contemplating the addition of Burns is logical given the extraordinary results we continue to see at all three of our existing schools serving under-resourced kids. Why does the expansion of our partnership make sense?In four simple words I can explain:

“It’s about the kids.”

Since starting the first Meeting Street school nine years ago, why have we put so much effort, passion, and a significant amount of our own financial resources into developing and constantly fine tuning a model that focuses exclusively on under-resourced children and their families? Because of one simple guiding principle: “It’s about the kids.”

Why did the CCSD board vote to approve our original partnership and agree to strongly consider adding Burns to the mix, despite concerns and pushback from some adults? Because CCSD also believes: “It’s about the kids.”

Make no mistake, the teachers are the heroes of Meeting Street Schools. So why do we need the autonomy to control our staffing plan, including making tough personnel decisions as well as rewarding top performers? Because that’s what it takes to be successful in most any organization, and it’s not about the adults:

“It’s about the kids.”

And let’s not forget that any successful school has involved families behind it. Our families want and deserve to be active participants in their children’s education, but schools haven’t always worked hard enough to make them feel included. Why are the Meeting Street families such enthusiastic participants in our schools, attending quarterly report card conferences, volunteering at our schools, and bringing the house down every Friday at our community celebrations? Because to the families we serve:

“It’s about the kids.”

Why should our community be willing to spend an extra $3,000 per student annually in under-resourced neighborhoods in order to offer a longer school year, an academic-based extended school day, preschool for all three and four year olds, two teachers in every classroom, and extra essential wrap-around services? Because this is what’s needed to give under-resourced kids an equal educational opportunity, and after all:

“It’s about the kids.”

Why should everyone in our community care deeply about this issue? Because if we want an optimistic future we can all agree:

“It’s about the kids.”

Benjamin Navarro

Founder and CEO

Meeting Street Schools

Meeting Street


The Post and Courier


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About Meeting Street Schools

Meeting Street Schools (MSS) is an innovative non-profit where schools, families, and the community collaborate to create environments where all children can achieve their full potential. With a network of schools across South Carolina, including MSA-Charleston (Charleston, SC), MSA-Spartanburg (Spartanburg, SC), MS-Brentwood (North Charleston, SC), MS-Burns (North Charleston, SC), and MS-Jasper & Beaufort (Jasper, SC), we are committed to providing students with the rigorous education they deserve.

Founded on the principle that every child deserves an excellent education regardless of their socio-economic background, Meeting Street Schools has been a beacon of hope and a testament to what's possible in education. Our schools are driven by a strong focus on student achievement, evidence-based instruction, and relentless support of our students and their families.

While united by our shared mission, each MSS campus, is unique in its character, tapping into the local spirit of the communities they serve. Explore each of our schools and discover how they're creating a brighter future for students in South Carolina.

News & NotesFrom Clemson University to Master Teacher and Player Coach: Emily Godwin

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Our Schools

MSA – CharlestonDowntown Charleston, SC - Independent School - Since 2008 - 364 Students

Nestled in the heart of Charleston, South Carolina, MSA Charleston is more than just a school—it’s a hub for innovative learning and community engagement. As part of the Meeting Street Schools network, MSA Charleston embodies a commitment to excellence through its rigorous academic programs, inclusive culture, and focus on developing the whole child. With a curriculum that emphasizes both academic and personal growth, MSA Charleston prepares students to be curious learners and active citizens of their community.

MSA – SpartanburgDowntown Spartanburg, SC - Public School - Since 2012 - 323 Students

MSA Spartanburg stands as a pillar of educational innovation in the Spartanburg community. The school’s dedicated educators and supportive learning environment ensure that each child receives a high-quality, personalized education with exceptional faculty and teachers. MSA Spartanburg is distinguished by its emphasis on community partnership, fostering relationships that extend beyond the classroom to build a strong foundation for lifelong learning and success.

MS – BrentwoodNorth Charleston, SC - Public School - Since 2014 - 694 Students

MS Brentwood is a place where education meets opportunity. Serving the Brentwood area, this school is a testament to the transformative power of education. With a student-centered approach that celebrates diversity and encourages excellence, MS Brentwood is dedicated to equipping students with the skills they need to thrive in the 21st century. MS Brentwood also serves as a hub for the Brentwood community to access educational and wellness services. The school’s commitment to innovation, coupled with a warm, welcoming environment, makes it a standout in the MSS network.

MS – BurnsNorth Charleston, SC - Public School - Since 2018 - 478 Students

Located in a community rich with history and culture, MS Burns is renowned for its dynamic educational approach that intertwines traditional learning with modern teaching techniques. The school’s focus on experiential learning ensures that students at MS Burns are not only recipients of knowledge but also active participants in their educational journey. MS Burns exists to spark an educational revolution for the students and families in the Dorchester-Waylyn Neighborhood in North Charleston. With a commitment to creating a supportive and challenging academic environment, MS Burns is forging a new path in public education.

MS – Jasper & BeaufortJasper County, SC - Public Charter School - Fall 2023 -

MS Jasper represents the Meeting Street Schools’ dedication to community-based education with a global perspective. The school provides a nurturing environment where students are encouraged to explore their potential and cultivate a love for learning. With its diverse programs such as Eureka Math, and Wit and Wisdom, MS Jasper puts a major emphasis on character development, specialized learning and equips students to become thoughtful, engaged members of society, reflecting the MSS ethos of empowerment through education.


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“Meeting Street Academy is my family. They taught me that I am valuable. I am an asset to the world…They asked me, ‘What is your dream?’ I had never been asked that before. The MSS community gives me the strength to pursue my dreams.”

— Kadelyn SteedStudent

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“We come into work everyday truly believing that our students are capable of achieving anything that is put in front of them. Here at MSS, students are provided the opportunity to achieve success through the facilitation of well-educated teachers, resources, and a responsive classroom school environment.”

— NikToshia GilesTeacher

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“MSA is a family. Once you’re in, you’re in. They said they would follow our kids from K-3 to college and they actually lived up to what they said they would do. Not only did MSA challenge my daughter academically but it also exposed her to new things that she probably wouldn’t have been exposed to at our previous neighborhood school. Our journey at MSA was exciting and rewarding. They actually walk the walk.”

— Tyeka GrantParent