A New School in Drayton
Drayton Mills Elementary School (DMES) is a K5-5th grade school in Spartanburg County School District 7. Located near historic Drayton Mills, DMES offers our community a state-of-the-art facility that includes the tools and approaches needed to start students on the path to fulfilling our district’s vision of graduates who are “creative, critical thinkers, collaborators, effective communicators, and ethical citizens.”
With its opening in the 2018-2019 school year, DMES joined the students of Chapman Elementary School and Houston Elementary School. DMES adopted Responsive Classroom from Chapman Elementary School and used Houston Elementary School’s Problem Based Learning as an inspiration for our own Project Based Learning approach. Being a PBL school, many features of DMES were derived through student projects. For instance, the school colors – blue, red, and gold – resulted from a K5 project. 1st and 2nd graders researched mascots, presented their findings, and voted on the DMES Dalmatian. 3rd grade projects shaped our school calendar, and 4th and 5th grade projects informed the graphics that adorn the walls of our school.
You can read more about both PBL and responsive Classroom in the “Areas of Focus” section of this website.
Designed by McMillan Pazdan Smith Architecture, DMES is designed to foster our school’s commitment to 21st Century educational approaches embodied in our school’s vision and mission. The school’s 128,000 square foot facility includes a makerspace equipped with a variety of coding and robotics resources. Additionally, the makerspace contains materials to foster the “tinkering” that builds critical STEM interest and skills – from KNEX, LEGOs, Lincoln Logs, and Tinker Toys to 3D printers. The school hosts a production lab that includes a green screen, a news desk, an interview space, and audio-visual equipment to allow students to create public products that can be broadcast to the school’s multiple interactive screens. Classroom neighborhoods center on “inquiry hubs,” high-tech collaborative spaces that accommodate special projects or multi-class groups, and each of the school’s forty-three classrooms includes an ActivPanel. All students in 2nd-5th grades have access to MacBook Airs. In addition to two playgrounds, the exterior of the school includes an athletic field and a courtyard.
In the 2019-2020 school year, we had 51 certified faculty members, K5 – 5th and related arts. Three of our teachers have achieved National Board certification, and nearly 65 percent of our certified staff have master’s degrees or higher. Ranging in experience from one year to thirty-nine years, the average years of experience is 14.58 years. Seven of our faculty members have twenty-five years or more of experience, and collectively boasts 744 total years of experience!
DMES’s location, programs, design and people make it truly exceptional, and we look forward to the exceptional student achievement we believe will result.