Welcome to Effingham County!
Two years ago, the pandemic placed us at the precipice of uncertainty. We stood alongside the rest of the world as the surge of COVID numbers threatened every aspect of our daily lives, and we held our breath waiting for signs of normalcy. While COVID has certainly left its indelible mark in history, we seem to have made it to the other side. Today, we find that our initial fears and insecurities have given way to a full appreciation for what we had formerly taken for granted. I know I speak for the employees of the Effingham County School District when I express gratitude for full in-person learning experiences, educational opportunities via field trips and community events, stadiums and courts filled with cheering fans, and gatherings to celebrate the accomplishments of our students and teachers.
Today, the Effingham County School District has shifted its focus from the restrictions of COVID to the expansion of educational services for our growing community. In reality, our district had begun proactively strategizing long before the pandemic to meet the needs of a steadily growing community, and, despite the unpredictability of the past two years, our vision has remained steady. We feel confident that our school district is on track to offer every student the opportunity to succeed, and our continually rising student enrollment is evidence that Effingham is a wonderful place to live and learn.
ECSD has been very careful to monitor our teacher to student ratio so each child has access to a rich learning environment. Redistricting the elementary schools was a critical step towards effectively serving our burgeoning population, but that effort alone is not enough. Through sound and responsible financial management, we have been able to hire more teachers and staff for 2022-23 and invest in additional classroom spaces at South Effingham Elementary, Ebenezer Elementary, Blandford Elementary and Sandhill Elementary. This year, our Board voted to purchase land in Rincon for the construction of a new middle school. In addition to investing in additional classrooms at both high schools, we have also begun projects for the benefit of our athletic programs. The Board recently approved the expansion of the baseball and softball hitting facilities at both ECHS and SEHS as well as the installation of field turfs to accommodate practices and games for multiple athletic programs. The Honey Ridge Agricenter, our 324-acre working farm and hub for agricultural education, is looking forward to some major renovations to existing structures and is gearing up for the construction of a brand new show arena. The arena will be the venue for livestock shows, tractor pulls, and a variety of student activities. It will also be opened to the community as a site option for community gatherings.
One very exciting upcoming project that has been in discussion for some time is the development of a new county-wide performing arts center! The center, currently in the design phase, will serve as a multipurpose venue for band concerts, chorus concerts, plays, art exhibitions, banquets, and community events. It will be a place for all to gather and celebrate the arts together!
The Effingham County School District is growing with you in mind. We continually strive to create an environment where employees, families, and students feel valued and supported. It is our privilege to grow with you while maintaining your trust and support, and we hope to remain a cornerstone for Effingham County for years to come.
Dr. Yancy Ford, ECSD Superintendent