Frequently Asked Questions

Is GSSM STEM Foundations right for me?
Are you a rising high school junior living in South Carolina? Do you want to do your school work from home? Do you excel at online learning? Are you interested in receiving a high-level STEM foundation from faculty who are experts in their fields and, more importantly, caring teachers? If you answered yes to these questions, then this program is for you!

How is GSSM STEM Foundations different from other online programs?
Classes in this program will be taught synchronously for a small cohort of students. GSSM faculty teach all classes in the program—our faculty are experts in their fields (over 90% have PhDs in their subject area), but more importantly we care about teaching and care about the success of all our students.

What classes are offered in GSSM STEM Foundations?  
All students in this program will take biology, chemistry, English, US history, and math as juniors. Juniors will take either Pre-Calculus or Calculus I for their math class—placement will depend on students’ mathematical background. As seniors, students will take computer science, engineering, English, math (Calculus I or Calculus II), and physics. Pre-Calculus and engineering will be offered at the honors level, all other classes will be offered as AP or dual enrolled classes.

What if I want or need to take other classes that are not offered in the GSSM STEM Foundations program?
If students have not met SC diploma requirements that are not part of this program (for example PE, economics, US government), then we will work with the student to complete the requirement during the school year or during the summer.

If students want to enroll in classes beyond the SC diploma requirements that are not part of this program (for example additional years of foreign language), then we will work with the student to see if it is possible to add those additional classes to the students’ existing workload. These classes will most likely be offered through Virtual SC.

How will classes in GSSM STEM Foundations be taught?
All courses in the GSSM STEM Foundations program will be taught synchronously via Zoom. Classes will meet for approximately 3 hours each week on a college-like class schedule. For example, a single class might meet from 8am-9am Monday, Wednesday, Friday. For lab science classes, labs will be done at home. Students will receive (free of charge) lab kits with materials that are safe to use at home.

Will I be in class all day?
No! Classes will meet three to four times a week for an hour each, so you might have some gaps in your schedule between classes. This time is great for studying or doing homework. Students have some structured study time (called QUEST) built into each week. During QUEST, they will check in with the Program Coordinator and then do school work on their own, with peers, or with the help of faculty members. Faculty members will also hold office hours throughout the day—a time for students to get one-on-one assistance from their teachers.

How will labs work?
Labs are an important part of many STEM classes. Students will receive (free of charge) lab kits for each lab science class. These kits will give students what they need to complete safe labs at home with the guidance of their teacher. Depending on the class, there might be chances for students to come to our campus in Hartsville, SC for on-campus labs. If students are not comfortable coming to campus, they will be provided with alternative activities that can be done at home.

There are two math classes listed for juniors and seniors, how will I know which class I will take?
We will place juniors into math classes based on a math placement assessment and the previous math classes a student has taken. Students who take Pre-Calculus as juniors will take Calculus I as seniors, and students who take Calculus I as juniors will take Calculus II as seniors.

If I participate in GSSM STEM Foundations, do I have to buy my own textbooks?  
No, GSSM will provide students with all books, lab supplies, and other resources needed. Some textbooks provided may be eBooks.

What if I don’t have adequate technology to complete an online program?  
GSSM will provide technical support and equipment as needed to make sure students in the STEM Foundations program have the best possible access to synchronous instruction and other online resources.

If I complete GSSM STEM Foundations do I still need to complete the state of SC diploma requirements?
Yes. In order to complete this diploma program, you will also need to satisfy the SC State diploma requirements. If you are enrolled in this program and need to meet a graduation requirement that is not part of the STEM Foundations program (e.g. PE, economics, US Government), then we will work with you to complete the requirement during the school year or during the summer.

If I participate in GSSM STEM Foundations will I get to attend graduation?
Certainly! We will hold an in-person graduation in Spring 2023 for all graduating students who wish to attend

Can you tell me more about the academic calendar?
The school year will begin with a “soft start” during which students and families are introduced to faculty and staff. This time will let students acclimate to our online learning environment, test their technology, and, most importantly, get to know the people who are part of the program. In January, after winter break, students will participate in interim for 2.5 weeks. Those weeks will be focused solely on interim, and no other classes will be taught.  After a long weekend at the end of January, spring semester classes will begin.

Who do I contact if I have more questions?
Contact Dr. Nicole Kroeger at kroeger@gssm.k12.sc.us if you have any additional questions or would like more information about the program.