Berkeley County is proud to employ a staff of talented and dedicated visual art, music, dance and drama professionals who offer standards-based arts instruction for its students. Fifty-six art educators teach visual art to students in each of the district's schools. Elementary students are taught general music by twenty-nine qualified music educators. Twenty-two band directors and sixteen choral instructors offer a variety of music courses in the district's middle and high schools. Orchestral strings instruction is provided by strings' teachers at eleven schools. Nineteen dance and drama educators work in nine of the district's schools.
The artistic talents and abilities of visual arts students are showcased in district, local and state shows throughout the year. Visual art teachers have students participate in the Coastal Carolina Fair, Scholastic Art and Writing Competition, the Southeastern Wildlife Exhibition, The Spring Art Show, Berkeley County Clerk of Art Show, Goose Creek Artist Guild, Home Telecom Art Contest, and the North Charleston Arts Festival throughout the school year.
Performing Arts students are provided opportunities to demonstrate their abilities at the school, district, state and national level. The Berkeley County School District sponsors Honors (four levels), Jazz Band, and Orchestra for qualifying middle and high school students. Elementary, middle and high choral students participate in BCSD Honors Chorus with auditions held at the individual schools.
STEP: Special Talent Enrichment Program
Berkeley County's Gifted and Talented Arts Program is available to students of Berkeley County Public Schools between the 4th and 12th grade who have auditioned and are identified as gifted/talented in dance, music, theatre and visual arts. Once identified, students may attend weekly after school classes at specific sites during the school year and a two week summer program. Sixth through eighth grade STEP students may also attend Marrington Middle School of the Arts.
Referral applications for STEP auditions are normally available each fall with auditions normally occuring in the winter. To qualify for STEP, students must either audition before a jury composed of fine arts professionals (drama, music, and dance) or must complete onsite visual arts assignments (visual arts). In addition, students are given tests that are indicators of potential in the various art disciplines. The jury seeks to identify students with outstanding potential in the arts.
Paper copies of the screening/referral forms will be available in school offices at the beginning of the school year. If there is an issue with the online request, parents may mail screening request forms to: Berkeley County School District, Gifted/Talented Screening, P. O. Box 608, Moncks Corner, SC 29461.
Arts Magnet Schools
Berkeley County School District has four magnet schools.
Howe Hall AIMS (Arts Infused Magnet School) serves students in kindergarten through fifth grade who are selected through a lottery process. Applications are received through the year, and students are selected for vacancies each spring.
H.E. Bonner Elementary is a partial-arts and magnet school in the Berkeley County School District that makes the arts an essential component of the everyday curriculum. The lottery and application process is normally held in the spring.
Marrington Middle School of the Arts serves middle school students who qualify for magnet programs.
Berkeley Center for the Arts at Goose Creek High accepts students following an audition process held each spring. Students may audition in the areas of Creative Writing, Dance, Orchestral Strings, Theatre, Visual Arts, Vocal Music, and Wind and Percussion Studies.
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Degrees and Certifications:
Mr. Jay Burnsworth
Coordinator of Innovation: Visual & Performing Arts
Mr. Jay Burnsworth currently serves as the Visual and Performing Arts Coordinator in Berkeley County School District. Mr. Burnsworth has a wealth of knowledge and experience with the arts and leadership roles in Berkeley County School District. As a teacher, he spent 10 years as a visual art teacher at Berkeley Middle School. While at Berkeley Middle, he created and infused an award-winning visual art program. Multiple student awards were won by Berkeley Middle students, consisting of 1st place awards in various local and national shows. In 2010, he was selected as Berkeley Middle School's Teacher of the Year. Later in 2010 he went on to be selected as a top three finalist for district teacher of year. In 2016, Mr. Burnsworth transitioned to Cane Bay Middle School as an assistant principal. While at Cane Bay Middle he was over testing, 504s, IEPs, community relations, discipline, teacher evaluations, teacher support and anything that included the arts.
In 2020, Mr. Burnsworth transitioned into the role of Visual and Performing Arts Coordinator for Berkeley County School District. While at the central office, Mr. Burnsworth assisted in creating the first district music and theatre script library; received federal funding to purchase $500,000 worth of new instruments; created the first district arts task force and developed the re-entry COVID plan for all fine arts teachers. Mr. Burnsworth received his undergraduate degree from the University of Saint Francis with a major in Art Education, K-12. He also holds two master's degrees in the areas of Special Education and Elementary School Administration.