East Point Academy
East Point Academy
Serves nearly 800 students in PreK to Grade 8
East Point Academy was founded in 2011. It is a free language immersion public charter school within the South Carolina Public Charter School District. At the Elementary School Campus, more than 60% of instruction is in Mandarin. At the Middle School Campus, students can choose a world language path in Mandarin or Spanish. The goal is to help all students develop the skills necessary to succeed in school and in life by continuing its legacy of excellence in academics, language immersion, the arts, extracurricular activities, and community service.
East Point Academy is a remarkable place for students to learn and grow. Our Panda Core Values shape the school’s culture, which can be summed up in four words “Be Nice, Work Hard.” With an eye on simplicity, our Academic Philosophy can be summed up in six words: “Rigorous Academics with a Global Focus.” Students, teachers, parents, and staff work together to make East Point Academy a school where every person is valued and encouraged to be his or her best.
Superior academics and language acquisition are complimentary co-equals at East Point Academy. High academic standards and a comprehensive language immersion program go hand in hand to ensure that students have a rich and full educational experience, while mastering a second language. Students are immersed in the Mandarin language while also exposed to many other cultures. Our Going Global initiative brings community representatives into the school who represent different cultures, countries, or regions of the world. Students get to hear first-hand from natives of those areas.
East Point Academy is proud to bring the Asian culture to our community. The school’s annual Moon Fest street festival and Chinese New Year celebration shine a light on Asian traditions and history. Student performers are also featured at the Columbia, South Carolina international festival and local parades. The Chinese dance team and Chinese drum performers are always a big hit. Students also have the opportunity to learn Chinese calligraphy and Japanese flower arranging (Ikebana).
East Point Academy students excel on state summative assessments, being ranked as one of the top schools in South Carolina. Accolades for the school include:
- Best Charter School (2018, 2019, 2020) – Niche.com
- Best Charter School (2018, 2019, 2020) –The State Newspaper
- Best Charter or Private School (2018) and Best Charter School (2019 and 2021) – Free Times
- School of Distinction – South Carolina Public Charter School District
- Palmetto Gold and Silver School – South Carolina Department of Education
- Arts in the Basic Curriculum (ABC) School – South Carolina Arts Commission
- GreenSteps Environmental School – Environmental Education Association of South Carolina
Students at the Elementary School Campus are taught core subjects of Math and Science in Mandarin in addition to specific Mandarin language instruction. Every student from first grade to fifth grade also takes Art, Drama, Music, and Dance in the Mandarin language.
At the Middle School Campus, students receive intense language instruction focused on improving their language fluency, and students progress in their language acquisition while also excelling in their core content classes. In addition to an academic pathway for advanced Mandarin learners, the Middle School Campus has a novice track in Mandarin and Spanish for new middle school students. We are excited that our departing 8th grade students are matriculating to high school with up to four credits in World Language.
East Point Academy boasts two campuses, which serve approximately 800 students from across South Carolina. These facilities provide state-of-the-art instructional technology and engaging classrooms. Our teachers are a dedicated team of diverse professional and efficacious instructors. Twenty-eight of the fifty-five teachers on staff are native Mandarin speakers, and more than 56% of them have Masters degrees.
East Point just celebrated its 10th anniversary. Previous board members, parent leaders, and community members came together to recognize the significant successes of the school. In those few short years, the Academy went from 89 to nearly 800 students and cemented its reputation as a top-tier school. It's an exciting time at East Point Academy, as we live up to our motto of “Merging Cultures, Inspiring Minds, Expanding Horizons!”
East Point Academy has a full complement of extracurricular programs. Athletic opportunities include competition archery, cross country and basketball teams, intramural sports, various sports camps, Run Hard Club, cheer, and gymnastics. Arts opportunities include Dance Team, Honors Chorus, Drama Club, Dance Club, piano, guitar, and strings. Other extracurricular options are BETA club, Student Council, Film Club, leadership clubs for both young men and ladies, Panda Press, Green Team Recycling Club, Chinese Conversation Club, Tech Team, Global Ambassadors, and many others.
Horizons Afterschool Experience provides a space for students to complete homework, connect with peers, and receive academic enrichment daily. Horizons begins after school and runs until 6:00 pm each day. It was recently named one of the top after-school programs in the area.
East Point Academy also extends its rigorous academic environment throughout the summer with a robust program to assist families and enhance student success. Summer opportunities include a focus on Mandarin language, arts, athletics, STEM, a summer fun camp, and more. The summer opportunities vary in length depending on the theme. A free Mandarin camp is offered to all new students. Other camps are fee-based and are designed to either introduce students to new activities or expand and enhance their success in other activities.
With a focus on shaping global leaders, our students are engaged in the community, participating in and sponsoring many events and activities. Our annual South Carolina Moon Fest and Chinese New Year celebrations bring our community together for cultural awareness and fun. Giving back to the community is an important part of the culture at East Point.
East Point Academy is proud to have great strategic partners. Each partner brings special skills and competencies to the school and its students. Partners for teacher training and professional development are Western Governors University (WGU) and Newberry College. WGU is a leader in teacher preparation and brings a national perspective to our school. Newberry College, located a few miles from the school, is also known for its strong teacher preparation program and brings a local and regional perspective to the school. We are fortunate to host student teachers from both colleges and to benefit from their expertise.
Mark A. Bounds
Head of School