The P.U.L.S.E. (Partners for Unparalleled Local Scholastic Excellence) Program is a first-of-its-kind public-private partnership created to implement a comprehensive scholastic excellence program in Hartsville public schools that will expand curriculum opportunities and further improve student achievement through collaborative academic and social development initiatives. The initiative brings together the Darlington County School District, the South Carolina Governor’s School for Science and Mathematics (GSSM), Coker College and Sonoco. Sonoco will fund the initiative through a $5 million grant that will be paid over five years.

Yale’s Child Study Center to Help Create Pilot Elementary Student Development Program

A key component of the Hartsville PULSE initiative will be the implementation of a pilot School Development Program (SDP) at four Hartsville elementary schools that is focused on improving academic achievement and personal development. The program will be created with the assistance of Yale University’s Child Study Center Comer School Development Program, which was founded in 1968 by Dr. James P. Comer, Maurice Falk Professor of Child Psychiatry and associate dean of the Yale School of Medicine. The nationally recognized Comer SDP model has been successfully implemented in hundreds of schools in more than 20 states, the District of Columbia, Trinidad and Tobago, South Africa, England and Ireland. The pilot program will begin in the 2011-2012 school year in Hartsville’s Thornwell School for the Arts, Washington Street Elementary, West Hartsville Elementary and the Southside Early Childhood Center.

In future years, professional development programs for educators and multiple service learning activities offered at Coker College via the growing Yale-Coker partnership will play a vital role in the continuing process of improvement in Hartsville.

Governor’s School, Coker College to Provide Curriculum Excellence Program

The second PULSE initiative is focused on expanding scholastic learning opportunities for eligible students in Hartsville’s secondary and high schools through collaborative teaching programs from the Hartsville-based GSSM and Coker College.

As an example, GSSM instructors will provide qualified Hartsville public school students with enhanced science, math and language classes, such as organic chemistry, advanced physics and Mandarin Chinese. Coker College, a leading liberal arts private college also based in Hartsville, will provide college credit courses to eligible high school students in such programs as art, design, music, theater and dance.

Sonoco’s Targeting Education Improvement in its Hometown

Primary funding for the PULSE programs will come from a $5 million grant made over five years from Sonoco, one of the largest diversified global packaging companies. Founded in Hartsville in 1899, Sonoco employs nearly 1,800 workers and has more than 750 retirees and their families living in the Hartsville area.