Article by Paul W. Horgan, Head of School
From the first days children attend school to their graduation days, their school environment is the place where they will spend most of their waking hours. It is there that they will develop their intellectual abilities, their social skills, their abilities to collaborate, their abilities to play, and the resilience they will need to succeed in a changing world.
Professional development is a priority at Hilton Head Prep and faculty are encouraged and supported to seek ways to sharpen their skills and identify new ways to prepare kids for the future.
Creating the environment that will lead them to success is a task that schools must thoughtfully consider when designing the spaces where students will live out these formative days. What do parents want for their children? What type of learning will best prepare the students for college? Amidst a rapidly changing future, what skills will students need to be nimble and capable of adapting to those changes? The answers to these questions are complex, yet many things are easily predicted when considering them.
Parents want their children to be challenged, supported, and happy. Collaborative learning spaces where children are known and valued will prepare them for many different college and work environments. Excellent communication skills and strong computer literacy will set them up for success in a future which will be impacted by artificial intelligence and rapidly increasing unpredictability. Schools have the privilege and responsibility to consider all these things as they create the environment which children walk into each day.
The playground was replaced and built to encourage active play, with obstacle courses, a small turf field, a tower, and a playhouse for the younger kids.
Over the past year, Hilton Head Prep has invested in the future by transforming all the academic spaces on campus into modern, bright, uncluttered collaborative spaces with flexible furnishings and state-of-the-art technology. The playground was replaced and built to encourage active play, with obstacle courses, a small turf field, a tower, and a playhouse for the younger kids.
Technology has been upgraded to provide support for a slate of new computer science classes including coding, beginning in grade three, Artificial Intelligence electives in middle and upper school, and AP Computer Science in upper school. It is designed to be a campus where students can experience joy and friendship while being seen and challenged throughout their days.
Over the past year, Hilton Head Prep has invested in the future by transforming all the academic spaces on campus into modern, bright, uncluttered collaborative spaces with flexible furnishings and state-of-the-art technology.
The Office of College Counseling is another space that has been transformed to meet the needs of our students. Here, too, the space was designed with our values in mind—a place where students can be comfortable and known. It was relocated to a central area where upper school students can easily access it on a regular basis. Our professional full-time college counselor meets at a conference table with families and students as they strategically seek to find the best fit for each student. College representatives meet with students in a collaborative and comfortable space. Course selections are carefully and individually planned throughout the high school years with the guidance of our counselor.
In addition to the highly visible updates to the campus, Hilton Head Prep has also made a large investment in school security and has significantly upgraded both the security infrastructure and the security protocols and personnel. A school environment where teachers and students can work together, knowing that the school values their safety above all else, contributes to a high level of comfort and confidence.
At the core of this work is the creation of spaces where great teachers and mentors can do their best work with their students. The faculty is the foundation of our school, and it is our goal and philosophy to provide them with every tool and space they need to maximize the hours we have together with the students. Professional development is a priority at Hilton Head Prep and faculty are encouraged and supported to seek ways to sharpen their skills and identify new ways to prepare kids for the future.
As parents drop their children off in the car line each morning, they do so with incredible hope and trust that the hours on our campus will provide the challenges, joy, and growth they will need as they move through school. Once older, the kids drive themselves to campus each day, trusting that the adults in their lives are doing all they can to push them and point them in the right direction. Once they all walk through the doors, they are met with a curriculum and space that is designed to do just that and one they can take pride in.
The work of imagining their futures and meeting their needs is never ending, yet creating an environment that can cultivate the skills we know they’ll need is a labor of love that is underway at Hilton Head Prep. Current work on a five-year strategic plan seeks to envision the next campus steps, to ensure excellence in the faculty and remain student-focused while seeking to expand the school’s impact on the Hilton Head Island community.