Berkeley County is proud to employ talented and dedicated visual and performing arts teachers. Of these this includes art, music, dance and theatre professionals who offer standards-based arts instruction for their students. BCSD houses fifty-two art educators that teach visual art to students in each of the district's schools. Elementary students are taught general music by twenty-nine qualified music educators and are able to participate in afterschool chorus, band or other musical groups. Twenty-two band directors offer marching band, jazz band, concert band and other musical ensembles to benefit the students of BCSD. Eighteen 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 thirteen schools. Eighteen dance and theatre educators work in ten of the district's schools ranging K-12.

students with trumpets

cardboard sculpture

students acting

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 Google for Doodle Contest, 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 Band, 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 and have the opportunity to audition at the State level. All performing arts students have the opportunity to show their skill in solo work for judges. 

Our Arts programs in BCSD offer students from 3rd-12th grade the opportunity to audition to become gifted in the Arts. Students who are accepted join a Saturday program and a summer program. Students who are accepted are able to enroll in Marrington Middle School of the Arts for Middle School. Students get to grow their talent and learn from teachers all around the district while working with like-minded students sharing their passion. 

Cassandra Cowdrey photo

Cassandra Cowdrey

Visual and Performing Arts Coordinator

Phone: 843-899-8327
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Cassandra Cowdrey is the Berkeley County School District's Visual and Performing Arts Coordinator. As a classroom teacher, she taught students in all grades, K-12. She has taught High School Band as a Director and Assistant Director, Elementary General Music, Elementary Choir and 3rd-8th grade STEP and choir. 

Mrs. Cowdrey has been one of the Lead STEP and Elementary Music teachers over the last two years. She has served as a school-level mentor and district evaluator. She is a member of multiple education organizations including the National Association for Music Education, the American Orff-Schulwerk Association, the Organization of American Kodaly Educators and the Palmetto State Teachers Association.

Not only does Mrs. Cowdrey love the arts, but when she was in the classroom she made sure to integrate the core subjects within her curriculum and get certified in Gifted and Talented to meet the needs of all students. She wrote grants within her classroom over the last 5 years providing the students with class sets of ukuleles, pianos, African drums, and Drums Alive fitness drums. She believes every student has a chance to be musical or artistic and should be given the opportunity to do so!

Mrs. Cowdrey was named Teacher of the Year at Berkeley Intermediate School in 2018 and was also named one of the 8 Semi-Finalists for District Teacher of the Year. She holds a Master’s Degree in Elementary Educational Administration from University of South Carolina and a Bachelor’s Degree in K-12 Music Education from Westfield State University.

Arts 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. 

Center for the Arts

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 monthly Saturday STEP opportunities at Goose Creek High School 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 occurring 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.

Do you think you have a student that could be gifted in any of the arts? Please sign them up for the audition coming in January 2024. The forms will be open from August 15, 2023 - November 21, 2023 to accept nominations.

Auditions will be held at Cane Bay High School on January 5, 2024 from 5:00 pm - 8:00 pm and Cane Bay High School on January 6, 2024 from 8:00 am - 4:00 pm.

 Dance: The child will be observed during an instructor led warm up time.  The child will be asked to demonstrate skills in traveling across the floor, replication of choreography and improvisation of choreography.  

Music: The child will perform a piece either on an instrument or vocally.  The child will also be asked to demonstrate improvisation skills, pitch matching, and rhythm clapping. Lastly, the child will be asked to take a listening test.  

Theatre: The child will be asked to perform one monologue from either the list of given monologues or a monologue of your choice.  The child will also use their imagination to create a scene with a given item.  Lastly, the child will be asked to participate in a group improvisation task.  

Visual Art: The child will be asked to produce three different forms of artwork.  The child will first be asked to draw the still life placed in front of them.  Next, they will be asked to create a specific item out of clay.  Finally, the child will be given a task to show their creativity. 

Creative Writing: The child will be asked to produce two written samples of original work at the audition. The types of writing will consist of a poem and a creative narrative (i.e. fable, short story, etc.).

 STEP Audition Information

 STEP Audition Registration

Arts program