Frequently Asked Questions

Admissions

Q: I am having problems with the online application.  Whom should I contact?

A: Please send an email describing your problems to admissions@gssm.k12.sc.usAlternatively, you may call Lisa Bateman (843-383-3901 ext. 3982), Accelerate's Program Assistant, or Barbara Urban (843-383-3901 ext. 3925), Accelerate's Administrative Assistant.

Q: My child is currently a junior, and I just heard about Accelerate.  Is it possible for him or her to join the program now?

A: Unfortunately, your child is no longer eligible for admission to Accelerate.  The program accepts new students only when they are rising sophomores (i.e., in the ninth grade).

Q: What constitutes proof of South Carolina residency?

A: For admission to Accelerate, applicants must provide a copy of one item from Group 1 and a copy of one item from Group 2 (see below).  If you have additional questions about proof of residency, please contact Lisa Bateman (843-383-3901 ext. 3982), Accelerate's Program Assistant, or Barbara Urban (843-383-3901 ext. 3925), Accelerate's Administrative Assistant.

Group 1 (copy of one document needed):

  • Parent/guardian’s current monthly utility/power bill showing correct name and address
  • Parent/guardian’s current monthly landline phone bill with correct name and address
  • Parent/guardian’s current monthly cable bill showing correct name and address

Group 2 (copy of one document needed):

  • Parent/guardian’s U.S. birth certificate
  • Parent/guardian’s South Carolina driver’s license
  • Parent/guardian’s birth certificate from U.S. territory
  • Parent/guardian’s current U.S. passport
  • Parent/guardian’s U.S. passport that has not been expired for more than 10 years
  • Parent/guardian’s certificate of naturalization
  • Front and back of the parent/guardian’s permanent resident card

Courses and Requirements

Q: What is the difference between an Honors course and a dual-enrollment course?

A. The two types of courses differ in terms of the kind of credit received and the weight allocated in calculating students' high-school GPA.  Accelerate Honors courses resemble Honors courses at the students' home schools and are weighted identically to those courses; no college credit is received for Honors courses, even though Accelerate students are required to take Honors courses during their time in the program.  Dual-enrollment courses are those for which students simultaneously receive high-school and college credit.  At students' home high schools, numerical grades (1-100) for dual-enrollment courses are weighted more heavily than those for Honors or College Prep courses.  In terms of college credit, students receive whole letter grades (A-F) for each class completed.  When a student has completed a dual-enrollment course, his or her numerical grade is sent to the home high school and the final letter grade is sent to the credit-granting institution of higher education.  Beginning in the 2018-2019 academic year, Coker College will be awarding credit for all Accelerate dual-enrollment courses.  To see how courses are weighted in terms of students' high-school GPAs, please visit here.  To learn more information about Accelerate dual-enrollment credit, please visit here.

Q: Will my child's Coker College credits transfer to other colleges or universities in South Carolina?

A: Yes, they will.  For a detailed discussion of Accelerate's dual-enrollment agreement with Coker College, please see here.

Q: Is it possible for a student to take only one or two of the classes Accelerate offers?

A: Once accepted into Accelerate, students must take all the program's required courses.  The only courses students may choose to take are elective courses.  For more detailed information about required and elective courses, please visit here.

Q: How do elective courses differ from required Accelerate courses?

A: Elective courses are optional courses that students may choose to take.  Depending on the course, students may receive either Honors credit or dual-enrollment credit.  Currently, Accelerate offers three elective courses: Computer Science, Biomedical Engineering, and Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering.

Q: I have a question about one of my child's grades on a test or assignment.  Whom should I contact?

A: Please begin by contacting the student's instructor directly.  Email addresses and phone numbers for instructors can be found here.

Q: My child is in Accelerate and is applying for a scholarship or admission to a university.  He or she needs a college transcript for the application process.  How do I obtain a transcript?

A: Accelerate does not possess or distribute official college transcripts, even for coursework completed through the program.  To obtain an official transcript, please contact the credit-granting institution (e.g., Coker College, Clemson University) directly.

District Partnerships

Q: My school district is not an Accelerate partner district.  Can my child still take Accelerate classes?

A: Unfortunately, Accelerate does not currently admit students who attend schools in non-partner districts.

Q: How can my school district become a partner distict for the Accelerate program?

A: If your district is not currently a partner district, it may still be eligible to become one based on demand, resources, and district-level administrative decisions.  Please check with your child's home high school to see if sufficient interest exists for it to participate in the program.  You may also contact Dr. Ershela Sims, the Vice President for Accelerate Engineering, at esims@gssm.k12.sc.us or 843-383-1909.

Saturday Labs, Saturday Experiences, and Summer Experiences

Q: My child is unable to attend one of the scheduled labs.  What should I do?

A: Labs are a required component of Accelerate's curriculum, but we do understand that emergencies arise.  If your child is unable to attend a scheduled lab, please contact Dr. Brian Gloor, the Accelerate Academic Programs Coordinator, at gloor@gssm.k12.sc.us or 843-383-3901 ext. 3969.

Q: My child is unable to attend a scheduled Summer Experience.  What should I do?

A. Summer experiences are a required component of Accelerate's curriculum, but we do understand that emergencies arise.  If your child is unable to attend a scheduled Summer Experience, please contact Dr. Brian Gloor, the Accelerate Academic Programs Coordinator, at gloor@gssm.k12.sc.us or 843-383-3901 ext. 3969.

Q: I am unable to provide transportation for my child to a Saturday lab, Saturday Experience, or Summer Experience.  Whom should I contact?

A. Please contact Dr. Brian Gloor, the Accelerate Academic Programs Coordinator, at gloor@gssm.k12.sc.us or 843-383-3901 ext. 3969.

Operations

Q: Are students alone in the room in which they take their virtual classes?

A. Each school district that partners with Accelerate hires an individual known as a "facilitator."  The facilitator is in the classroom with students at all times and helps instructors distribute and collect books, tests, quizzes, and some assignments.  Facilitators are an incredibly valuable part of Accelerate and enable the program to run smoothly.  If you have a question about your child's assignments or grades, however, please contact the course instructor directly.

Q: Does Accelerate offer accommodations for students with learning disabilities?

A.  Yes, Accelerate does accommodate students with learning disabilities.  For further information, please contact Dr. Brian Gloor, the Accelerate Academic Programs Coordinator, at gloor@gssm.k12.sc.us or 843-383-3901 ext. 3969.

Q: In the event of hurricanes, snow days, or other severe weather events, how do students attend their Accelerate classes?

A. Over the years, Accelerate has become adept at handling severe weather scenarios across the state.  If students are unable to attend their local schools because of a weather event, several options are open to them. If the weather event affects the majority of school districts, Accelerate may cancel and then re-schedule classes.  In less severe cases, students can watch webcasted versions of their classes from home, or they can watch recorded versions of classes after the actual class times.  All Accelerate classes are recorded and are accessible to students during and after the classes take place.  Accelerate administrators, faculty, and staff will make every effort to stay in communication with students and their families during severe weather incidents and will update them frequently about changes in scheduling.

Q: Does my child need internet access at home to be part of the Accelerate program?

A. Although home internet access is not required for Accelerate students, it is very highly recommended.  Students interact with their instructors and receive and complete the majority of their assignments through a system called Canvas, which is only accessible online.  In addition, students are responsible for watching the recordings of any classes they miss, and they often benefit from re-watching classes that they attended at their home schools.  For these reasons, home internet access is incredibly desirable.  If your home does not have internet access and you need assistance in obtaining it, please contact Dr. Brian Gloor, the Accelerate Academic Programs Coordinator, at gloor@gssm.k12.sc.us or 843-383-3901 ext. 3969.

Q: How do parents contact instructors?

A.  Parents may contact instructors via email or phone.  All instructors strive to return missed calls and answer emails as quickly as possible.  For instructor contact information, please visit here.

Q: How do students in virtual classes receive additional help from instructors?

A: In most cases, instructors set aside time during each week to address student questions and concerns.  If a student needs additional help outside of normally scheduled classes, instructors are happy to be of assistance.  In some instances, instructors may arrange to meet with students in individual video conferences during other parts of the school day.  Alternatively, students and instructors can arrange video conferences after school hours.  Whenever students and instructors meet outside of normally scheduled classes, their meetings are recorded.

Q: Aside from asking my child directly, is it possible for me to tell how he or she is doing in an online class?

A: Yes.  At certain points during the semester, Accelerate mails deficiency reports to parents whose children are not doing as well as they could.  Instructors may also communicate with parents directly by way of email or phone.  Finally, Canvas, the student-instructor interface used by Accelerate, allows parents to have "observer" accounts; these accounts give parents access to student grades, messages between students and instructors, assignment due dates and descriptions, and class-wide announcements submitted by the instructor.  If you would like to have an observer account, please contact Dr. Brian Gloor, the Accelerate Academic Programs Coordinator, at gloor@gssm.k12.sc.us or 843-383-3901 ext. 3969.

Q: What is the average virtual class size?

A: Class sizes vary depending on scheduling, subject matter, and grade level.  As a general rule of thumb, Accelerate tries to have no more than 20 students in a class and usually averages between 12-18 students.

Q: How do students submit graded work?

A: For most small and/or written assignments (e.g., homework, lab reports, essays), students submit their work through Canvas, an online system that centralizes course content and enables smooth communication between students and instructors.  In terms of tests and quizzes, instructors usually email documents to facilitators (e.g., in-person monitors at each school site) 48 hours in advance and ask the facilitators to make copies of and distribute the assignments.  Once students have completed tests and quizzes, the facilitators collect the documents, scan them, and email them back to the instructor.   

Q: How does the Accelerate program accommodate different districts' teacher workdays and spring breaks?

A: School districts in South Carolina schedule teacher workdays and spring breaks differently.  If a single school is affected by a scheduled workday, Accelerate classes continue as normal, and students at the affected school are expected to watch the webcasts or recordings of missed classes.  If multiple schools are affected by a scheduled workday, instructors may choose to readjust the class schedule, or they may continue to hold class with the expectation that students watch the webcasts or recordings of missed classes. 

Accelerate holds its spring break during the week that the majority of partner schools hold theirs.  Students who have spring break at a different time than Accelerate does are expected to keep up with their coursework, watch the recorded videos, and complete all assignments.  If some schools are in session when Accelerate holds its spring break, students are expected to watch pre-recorded videos, including those that may have been filmed during their own spring breaks.

Q: Do Accelerate instructors ever travel to the students' home schools?

A: Yes.  Although scheduling can be difficult, most instructors try to visit each site where they have students at least once a semester.

Q: Am I required to buy textbooks for my child?

A: Accelerate provides all textbooks for students.  Parents are not required to make any book purchases.

Q: Under what circumstances would my child be asked to leave the program?

A: There are two main reasons that students may be asked to leave the program.  First, students may be asked to leave if they violate Accelerate's Honor Code.  Second, they may be asked to leave if their final average for any course is lower than a "C" (i.e., under 70/100).

Other Questions

Q: Where have previous Accelerate graduates attended college?

A: Accelerate graduates have attended Clemson University, the University of South Carolina, the College of Charleston, the University of Colorado, Duke University, Case Western Reserve University, Virginia Tech, the University of Dayton, and Harding University.

Q: Is it possible for my child to hold a part-time job or participate in normal extracurricular activities while in Accelerate?

A: One benefit of Accelerate is that students can continue to engage in meaningful extracurricular activities at their home schools while still receiving a rigorous education in science, mathematics, and English.  Many Accelerate students also have part-time jobs in addition to their coursework and activities.  In the past, Accelerate students have completed their studies while taking music lessons, participating in team sports, doing volunteer work, and serving as elected school representatives.

Q: Is it possible for me to see a demo of an Accelerate class?

A: Yes.  All Accelerate classes are recorded.  If you would like to watch a previously recorded class, please contact Dr. Brian Gloor, the Accelerate Academic Programs Coordinator, at gloor@gssm.k12.sc.us or 843-383-3901 ext. 3969.

Q: What can my child do to succeed in Accelerate classes?

A: Accelerate is both a rewarding and a demanding program.  To do well in the program, students must have excellent time-management skills, a passion for learning, and a strong work ethic.  Perhaps most important, students should not be afraid to ask for help.  Most students who enter the program are used to being at the top of their classes; for just this reason, they may feel embarrassed if they begin to struggle, especially in their college-level courses.  Accelerate instructors firmly believe that there is no cause for such embarrassment and that the surest sign of strength of character and likelihood of success is a willingness to seek out assistance.