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      State superintendent tours charter Montessori school

      Dr. Mick Zais tours Coastal Montessori Charter School.

      PAWLEYS ISLAND, S.C. (WPDE) - South Carolina's top education official stopped on the Grand Strand Friday for the opening ceremony of a new school. State Superintendent of Education Dr. Mick Zais toured Coastal Montessori Charter School in Pawleys Island.

      He spoke with teachers and students about the school's unique approach. Three grade levels are in the same classroom, students aren't all working on the same lesson at the same time, and students work at their own pace.

      The school's auditorium was packed as they celebrated its opening. Wednesday was the first day of school.

      "Montessori schools are one different form of school choice so that parents can find a school environment that meets the learning style and the learning needs of their children. I've been a strong advocate for options for parents and this just represents another option," says Zais.

      According to Zais, "We need less direction coming out of Washington and far less direction coming out of Columbia. Because what makes sense for example in an affluent suburban school may not make sense in a poor rural school and vice versa. The best thing that I can do to help our superintendents is to get rid of some of the bureaucratic obstacles that stifle innovation at the local level."

      Amy Miller, who helped open the school, is excited students in Georgetown County have the option to attend the school.

      "Our hope is to expand even our school and to go into higher grades. Hopefully going into Middle school and maybe even eventually high school," she added.

      Coastal Montessori Charter School is the second public Montessori charter school in the state and it's the first charter school in Georgetown County.

      In all, there are 43 public Montessori schools in the state. Most exist as a school within a school.