All posts by kimwilberger

THA Earns AdvancED Accreditation

AdvancED AccreditationThomas Hart Academy has earned accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Council on Accreditation and School Improvements (SACS CASI), an accreditation division of AdvanceED.

SACS CASI provides nationally recognized accreditation, the purpose of which is continuous school improvement focused on increasing student performance. To earn accreditation, schools must meet SACS CASI’s high standards, be evaluated by a team of professionals from outside the school, and implement a continuous process of school improvement.

“Accreditation demonstrates to our students, parents, and community that we are focused on raising student achievement, providing a safe and enriching environment, and maintaining an efficient and effective operation staffed by highly qualified educators,” stated Head of School Robert Haarlow.

SACS CASI accreditation is recognized across state lines, which not only eases the transfer process as students move from accredited school to accredited school, but also assures parents that the school is meeting nationally accepted standards for quality and successful professional practice.

Dr. Mark Elgart, President/CEO of AdvanceED, the parent organization of SACS CASI, stated, “SACS CASI Accreditation is a rigorous process that focuses the entire school on the primary goal of creating lifelong learners. Thomas Hart Academy is to be commended for engaging in this process and demonstrating a commitment to continuous improvement.”

Parents and interested community members can learn more about accreditation at


About AdvancED and SACS CASI

Dedicated to advancing excellence in education through accreditation, research, and professional services. AdvancED is the world’s largest education community, serving, and engaging 30,000 public and private schools and school systems in more than 70 countries and serving over 16 million students. AdvancED is the parent organization of the North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement (NCA CASI) and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Council on Accreditation and School Improvement (SACS CASI).

SACS CASI is a non-governmental, voluntary agency that accredits nearly 13,000 public and non-public institutions throughout the world.

100% Magnet School Success

Thirteen applications were submitted to local Magnet Schools (Hartsville High School International Baccalaureate, Darlington Honors College, Mayo High School for Math, Science and Technology) and all thirteen applications were accepted! Our students will be able to attend the magnet school of their choice! Congratulations, 8th graders and THA! Well done!

Talented Hornets

Way to go, 5th graders, Christian Herring and 4th grader, Grayson Martin! Both students competed in the 2014 SCISA State Spelling Bee last week. Christian performed well, and Grayson Martin was first runner-up in the STATE!

Congratulations also to Ms. Kim and the THA Chorus, who competed at the 2014 SCISA Music Festival last week in Columbia. The chorus received a “silver” for their performance. Individual singers also performed: Mac Guttry (silver), Mina Perez (gold), and Hope Wilberger (gold). Outstanding!

Our kiddos blew the competition away at the track meet this past Saturday! Congratulations, Ms. Selena and our “Running Hornets!”

Hats off all who participated in the 2014 THA Literary Meet this past Friday. Our students shined. We were all so happy to watch a few performances and get recognized Friday afternoon.

Amy Jenner: New Head of School for 2014-2015

Photo Credit: Pam Chapman (Used with permission)

Thomas Hart Academy is very pleased to announce that Mrs. Amy Jenner has been appointed as the new Head of School, effective July 1, 2014. Jenner’s appointment by unanimous vote of the Board of Directors represents the successful conclusion of a six-month regional search conducted with the assistance of Red Apple School Consultants. Jenner led Thomas Hart Academy’s curriculum mapping initiative over the past year. As a result, she will be entering her new role with a uniquely detailed grasp of the school’s academic program at all grade levels.

In Amy Jenner, we have the right person, at the right time, to lead our school. She has proven herself time and time again. She is a perfect fit for Thomas Hart.
-Randell Ewing, Chairman, Thomas Hart Academy Board of Directors.

Jenner graduated from Wheelock College in Boston, MA in 1993 with a Bachelor of Science degree in human development with a concentration in early childhood education. Her specialty was young children with special needs. She has taught second grade at Thomas Hart Academy for the previous nine years. For the past three years, she has been the group leader for the primary school teachers. She has served on an advisory committee to the Head of School and has been faculty representative to the Board of Directors for two terms. Jenner also co-founded and co-chairs the Thomas Hart Academy Athletic Booster Club, as well having coached volleyball and basketball.

I strongly believe that giving children the confidence to be risk takers, the courage to explore errors and to try again, and the support to go forward is what gives education its viability. A school that builds a strong foundation first – thrives off the differences, the confidence, and the successes of its students, families, and faculty – is a successful school. – Amy Jenner

Jenner succeeds previous Head of School Bob Haarlow, who is retiring at the end of the 2013-2014 school year after a 48 year career in education. Her experience at Thomas Hart Academy ensures that innovation will be matched by a commitment to the school’s reputation for academic excellence and care for its students.

Gretchen’s Garden: Remembering Gretchen Horlbeck

gretchen1Mrs. Gretchen Horlbeck, with a soul as sweet as her voice, was THA’s beloved music teacher from 2001-2009. She radiated grace the many years she hummed through the halls of our school. As an avid gardener, she spent hours working in the front flower bed at THA, which surrounds the American flag. It may have also had a little to do with her great respect of our American Flag and the Military. THA is proud to honor her life by rejuvenating the flower bed with a new flag pole and new plants.  On May 21, a dedication  ceremony was held to welcome the new garden.  Many of THA’s past teachers and alumni attended the ceremony.  The THA Chorus and several others classes sang Gretchen’s favorite song, “The Irish Blessing” accompanied by Hope Wilberger and Wil Matthews on guitar.