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School District Five to host Inquiry Matters Conference

For Immediate Release –February 11, 2020



School District Five to host Inquiry Matters Conference


IRMO- Lexington-Richland School District Five in partnership with the University of South Carolina (UofSC) College of Education will host the Inquiry Matters Conference on April 25 from 8:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.  Dutch Fork Elementary School Academy of Environmental Sciences will host the Elementary Inquiry Matters Conference at their school and Irmo Middle School International Academic Magnet will host the Secondary Inquiry Matters conference on their campus.


Inquiry Matters is a conference hosted/created by teachers for teachers aimed at sharing the power of inquiry as an instructional tool in the classroom and as a means for job-embedded professional development. During the conference sessions, at both sites, teachers and students will share how they engage in inquiry within their classrooms and schools across the Midlands. The ability for UofSC’s College of Education and School District Five to partner for this event provides teachers from across the state, UofSC teacher candidates, administrators, and staff a day of learning focused on authentically enhancing teaching and learning; and gaining insight on why “Inquiry Matters.”


“We are extremely humbled and honored to host such a well-established, well-known, and successful conference for teachers over the last two years,” said Dutch Fork Elementary principal Julius Scott. “This conference beautifully illustrates what is possible when we push beyond what is typical.”


This will be the second year for the Secondary Inquiry Matters Conference and the second year Irmo Middle has hosted.


“The Secondary Inquiry Matters Conference was a huge success for all involved last year,” said Irmo Middle School principal Cassy Paschal.  “Teachers from all over the midlands came together to learn about implementing inquiry-based strategies in their classrooms in order to enhance instruction for their students. We are looking forward to another successful event.”


Through partnering with the University of South Carolina, Lexington-Richland School District Five has become the first ever professional development school district (PDS-D) of its kind in the nation.  Through the National Association for Professional Development Schools, professional development schools (PDS) nationwide are partnerships between university education departments and schools to prepare new teachers, offer faculty training, help improve classroom practices and enhance student achievement.


“The Professional Development School-District partnership between UofSC and School District Five is an opportunity to systematically collaborate to enhance teaching and learning for faculty, staff, teacher candidates, and most importantly PK-12 students,” said Dr. Shelly Curcio, Clinical Assistant Professor.  “Inquiry Matters is only one example of how our collective efforts mutually benefit teacher preparation and learning within School District Five. We are truly partnering with purpose.”


Please contact Dr. Shelly Curcio at with any questions on the Secondary Inquiry Matters conference.  Please contact Dr. Heidi Mills at with any questions on the Elementary Inquiry Matters conference.