TransformSC 2018 Conference Unites International Data Experts, Business Leaders, and Educators

Tuesday, March 13th, 2018

On March 1 & 2, 2018, business and education leaders from around South Carolina gathered in Columbia for the 5th annual TransformSC conference.  An initiative of the South Carolina Council on Competitiveness, TransformSC offers education and business professionals from across the state unique opportunities to connect with one another and gain access to resources to transform education.  The annual conference is the initiative’s signature event and leaves attendees with actionable ideas that can be immediately taken back to and applied in the classrooms.
The 2018 conference kicked off Thursday afternoon at the My Carolina Alumni Building with the announcement of Chastain Road Elementary and Six Mile Elementary as the two newest schools to join the TransformSC network.  Both schools are located in Pickens County and have demonstrated a commitment to creating a culture of innovation and implementing a combination of innovative practices.
“Bringing teachers, principals, superintendents, and businesses together to make an impact on our whole system of learning is at the heart of what we do, particularly when it comes to our annual conference,” said Mike Brenan, co-chair of TransformSC and state president of BB&T. “The on-going expansion of our network allows us to reach even more students, educators, and professionals across the state and helps reiterate the TransformSC mission.”
International economist, author and data expert Dr. John Johnson rounded out Thursday evening with a keynote address that gave real-world examples of the importance of discerning the data we consume daily.  Attendees reconvened Friday morning at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center for an address from Dr. Ellen Mandinach, who presented on the direct impact of building data literacy in classrooms. A series of breakout sessions followed Dr. Mandinach’s presentation.  Led by business leaders, educators and policymakers, each session provided specific examples of successful data interpretation and strategy implementation, either in the education or business sectors.
Feedback from educators in attendance indicates that 2018 was successful in engaging audiences and providing thoughtful insight into how to apply data to 21st Century learning. “The event was a great success in bringing together South Carolina public education change agents for a productive, forward-thinking conversation on data usage to impact our schools,” said Pamela Lackey, state president of AT&T and co-chair of TransformSC.
Tim Arnold, president and CEO of Colonial Life and co-chair of TransformSC said that the business community has expressed a similar reaction to the conference and the TransformSC mission as a whole. “From a business leader perspective, it’s imperative to arm South Carolina’s next generation with the tools they need to be successful later in life. TransformSC is creating the foundation for South Carolina’s next business leaders, teachers, politicians and doctors. We’re investing in our educators who, in turn, invest in our students, and data is a leading topic in classrooms right now.”
The 2018 TransformSC Conference concluded with remarks from Susie Shannon, President and CEO of the South Carolina Council on Competitiveness, who applauded attendees for doing the hard work required to make sure that students graduate ready for careers, college and citizenship.
As TransformSC and the South Carolina Council on Competitiveness look ahead to next month’s Project Based Learning event and further out to the 2019 conference, Shannon observed the critical role of education in the state’s ability to compete on a global scale.
“The entire state of South Carolina benefits when we’re able to provide businesses with employees who are ready for the workplace of today.  That is why the TransformSC initiative is such an important part of the Council and our overarching mission to advance the long-term economic competitiveness of our state.”