C.E. Williams Middle School
By Debbie Lagestee
The relocated and newly constructed C.E. Williams Middle School (CEW) is next to West Ashley High School and the new Bees Ferry West Ashley Library. It opened its doors and welcomed the new 7th and 8th grade students on September 8, 2020. This state-of-the-art school has a beautiful setting with wetlands, ponds, and palm trees visible from the many windows throughout the building. It is not uncommon to see waterfowl, hawks, and other wildlife on and around the campus. Inside, the main entrance boasts a two-story atrium with ample natural light, thoughtful finishes, and seating areas. The terrazzo floor is embossed with CEW est. 1968, the original opening date.
The school currently has 600 students attending in-person learning and additional 250 students learning virtually. It will eventually add 6th graders and can expand the enrollment to a total of 1200 students. Principal Kevin Smith leads a team of 3 assistant principals and 60 certified staff. He is a native of West Ashley and a former student of CEW himself. Principal Smith says, “I was fortunate to be a part of the planning and pleased I could leave an imprint on this project.” The functionality of the space is something Principal Smith worked hard to achieve. Creating smaller communities within the school contributes to successful learning for all students. Technology is an integral part of teaching and learning. Classrooms are equipped with Promethean boards, and every student is issued a Chromebook. Each school area was mindfully planned, including large classrooms, science labs, performing arts classrooms with large storage areas for instruments, and a media center with adaptive seating. The hallways are color-coded with accent walls, which organize the school by grade level and the explorations area. Behind the school is a large fenced-in field that is utilized for recess and outdoor class activities.
Students may choose to be involved in band, choir, and orchestra. As guidelines due to the pandemic are changing, extracurricular clubs such as the chess club and yearbook club are beginning to hold meetings. Girls on the Run is scheduled to start this spring.
CEW is an outstanding addition to the Charleston County School District. “The new C.E. Williams campus is one of which Carolina Bay and the West Ashley community can be proud,” said Principal Smith. With their motto, ‘Students are the Heart of Our Work,’ this school will benefit this community for years to come!