PICKENS, S.C. – The beauty of charter schools is the freedom for teachers and administrators to be more creative with the programs and curriculum they implement. Officials with the new Youth Leadership Academy (YLA) in Pickens, S.C., hope the STEM-based program they’ve set up for sixth and seventh graders will serve as a model for other charter middle schools in the state in coming years.

Pitsco Education math and science curricula give YLA students hands-on experiences through standards-based content. YLA Principal Patsy Wood Smith says the curriculum choice was easy when they saw what students would get in the Pitsco labs.

“When...

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