The South Carolina Department of Juvenile Justice operates its own school district with fully accredited academic and career and technology education programs, serving approximately 500 students in grades 4-12. All youth in DJJ’s care attend school while detained or incarcerated.
SCDJJ’s school district and schools function like any other district in South Carolina — with a district superintendent, principals, teachers, directors, and program coordinators. However, DJJ’s schools differ from other South Carolina Schools in several ways: Schools are in session year-round (enabling students to make up absences and close learning gaps). DJJ’s school district has no local tax base, relying exclusively on state and federal funding. Classes are geared to meet the individual needs of each student.
The DJJ school district is responsible for all educational programs operated by the agency, including those in private vendor programs and alternative school sites in community residential placement facilities. Youth committed to DJJ can earn either a high school diploma or a GED. DJJ’s school district also offers students a variety of CATE courses, extensive special education services, the nation’s first Army JROTC program in a juvenile correctional facility setting, media centers, career development centers, and guidance counselors. SCDJJ School District graduates receive a quality education and are equipped to pursue their post-secondary education and career goals.
District Quick Facts
- The district has more than a decade-long partnership with USC to help USC graduate students prepare to become teachers, and to promote literacy and a love for reading among our youth through the USC-DJJ Literacy Project.
- Since 2017, DJJ & DMV have partnered to assist youth in obtaining their SC DMV-issued credentials.
- Project-based learning was implemented in 2018-2019. The focus was on environmental science. Youth created products including hand soap, jewelry, pet beds, candles, and handmade mats for the homeless.
- Since January 2016, 26 students have earned college credits through the Allen University program at Birchwood School.
- During the 2018-2019 school year, 12 DJJ-involved youth were hired with Michelin in Lexington County. These students have cumulatively worked almost 3,000 hours and earned over $40,000 in wages.
Meet Our 2019-2020 Teacher of the Year
J. Michael Jacobs is the 2019-2020 DJJ School District Teacher of the Year. Mr. Jacobs is a Math teacher at the Birchwood School inside DJJ's Broad River Road Complex. Mr. Jacobs has been with the agency for more than four years, after teaching in Ohio for many years prior.
"I had always wanted to teach kids who had to overcome some of the same obstacles I did as a child," says Mr. Jacobs. "The Winter of 2015 dumped 27 inches of snow in my yard and temperatures dropped to -26 degrees. That helped nudge my decision to move south."
Mr. Jacobs recently participated in a recruitment video series for DJJ, highlighting the work of different positions within the agency. Hear more of his story and how he connects with his students by clicking the video thumbnail to the left.
School Records Requests
To obtain school records for students currently or previously enrolled in the SCDJJ School District, complete the appropriate form below in its entirety. For students or parents, the completed Request Form should be returned with a copy of your State Issued ID or Driver’s License. For Public Schools, please complete the appropriate form, including your District-issued email address. This information may be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or faxed to (803)896-5953. Please allow at least 48 hours for processing of your request.
For former students more than 19 years of age, submit your request to our Archives Department via email at email@example.com.