The new school year brings fresh school supplies, clothes and backpacks. Many Fort Mill kids also have bragging rights to a brand new school. Pleasant Knoll Elementary is one of two new elementary schools to open its doors Aug. 19.
Pleasant Knoll Principal Travis Howard is also a first-time principal. Howard credits Scott Frattaroli, principal at the new Sugar Creek Elementary, with helping him acclimate to his new job.
Asked why he would choose to open a new school amid the challenges of a sluggish economy and growing school population, Howard brought out a copy of Kevin Carroll's “Rules of the Red Rubber Ball: Find and Sustain Your Life's Work.”
“I have a passion to see young children excited about learning,” Howard said. “I find great purpose being here.”
Part of Howard's vision for Pleasant Knoll includes a community culture.
“Community is our family, our school, our town and our world and we want the kids here to feel a part of it all,” he said.
“We Care” is a slogan he developed to encompass all aspects of school life.
A school-wide color-coded behavioral system was created, as well as daily classroom community meetings.
At the school's open house, students were asked to donate a canned food item, which resulted in more than 240 pounds of food donated to the Fort Mill Care Center.
PTO President Michele Branning is energized by Howard's enthusiasm.
“He is willing to listen to all ideas; nothing is off limits,” Branning said. “The kids have a real ownership of their school and it is just days old – that's pretty special.”