Meeting Street Academy (MSA) is a groundbreaking initiative, founded by Sherman, dedicated to the creation of a new mandate for education in South Carolina and beyond. MSA was founded upon the belief that all children deserve an excellent education regardless of their geographic or socioeconomic circumstances and that all children have the ability to excel in the classroom. Where access to quality public education and affordable private alternatives is severely limited, MSA is providing children with transformational educational opportunities.
In 2008, MSA opened its Charleston, SC flagship Pre-K-5th grade independent school as a proving ground; a place to demonstrate that it is indeed possible to close the opportunity gap that has plagued the local community for decades. Drawing upon the best practices from innovative schools across the country, MSA’s founders developed this school as a prototype for educational change. In 2012, MSA launched its network of schools with the opening of MSA-Spartanburg, thanks to the contributions of a generous private donor who was inspired by the success of the flagship school. Now, MSA is partnering with policymakers, education advocates, local communities and investors to apply its’ model to new independent and charter schools as well as the reformation of existing public schools.
The unfortunate truth is that educational inequity is commonplace in South Carolina. More than half of South Carolina’s students come from low-income families. By fourth grade only 20 percent of these students are proficient in reading and math according to the National Assessment of Educational Progress. By the time students reach high school, the only option available in many communities is a so-called “dropout factory” which is an institution with a graduation rate of less than 60 percent. In fact, South Carolina has the third highest concentration of drop-out factories in the nation and the highest in the Southeast.
While many South Carolina schools employ dedicated teachers and serve hardworking families who want the best for their children, the current operational model is not designed to meet the needs of under-resourced communities, despite significant per-pupil expenditures. In contrast, the MSA model delivers an education on par with the most elite private schools in the country at a cost comparable to South Carolina’s statewide per pupil average. Within this budget we are able not only to provide an excellent education but also to address the unique needs of an underserved population by providing significant benefits vis-à-vis public school students.
Sherman is proud also to sponsor various other charitable endeavors in the Charleston, SC community that support needs ranging from medical research to the performing arts.