Sep 182015


In June 2013 the Public Broadcasting System (PBS) chose the Partners for Unparalleled Local Scholastic Excellence (PULSE) initiative in Hartsville, SC to highlight in their “American Graduate: Let’s Make it Happen” series. The series is a public media initiative to stem the dropout crisis by supporting community-based solutions. The series documentary was co-produced by the National Black Programming Consortium (NBPC) and South Carolina ETV, (SC ETV).

Videographers spent a year filming activity at Thornwell School for the Arts and West Hartsville Elementary schools. At the end of the filming they produced the 2-hour PBS documentary, “180 Days: Hartsville,” which aired nationally March 2015 on PBS stations all over the country. The documentary tells the story of a 5th grade student struggling with behavioral issues that threaten his academic performance. It illustrates actions taken by his principal, teachers and mother as they work together and identify solutions to bring about a positive resolution for the boy.

“This is but one example of the work of PULSE and the Comer School Development Program (SDP) in our local schools,” said Hartsville Rotary guest speaker, Justin Dunham. Dunham is the Darlington County School District (DCSD) PULSE coordinator.

“PULSE was created to improve academic and behavioral outcomes by enabling educators, parents, families and community partners with tools to bridge the gap between education and development in learning,” said Dunham.

PULSE includes the DCSD, Coker College, the South Carolina Governor’s School for Science and Mathematics (GSSM) and Sonoco. Coker College, GSSM and DCSD staff provide flexible and innovative teaching programs for Hartsville students. Sonoco has provided $5 million in funding over five years through the TEACH Foundation, the not-for-profit organization that manages funding for PULSE.

After the documentary aired, a local video was produced that provided a fuller snapshot of the PULSE work going on in Hartsville schools. In it, members of the Hartsville community reflect on the national premiere of 180 Days: Hartsville. Dunham aired the local video for Rotarians at the September 15, 2015 meeting at the Hartsville Country Club.

To view the video go to:

To learn more about the PULSE program and the education initiatives, go to: TEACH Foundation: TEACH Foundation

J Dunham Hvlle Rotary


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