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The Elizabeth O'Neill Verner Awards

Howe Hall Arts Infused Magnet School

2015 Arts in Education Award

Howe Hall AIMSThe vision of Howe Hall Arts Infused Magnet School (AIMS), located in Goose Creek, is to be an exemplary model of arts infusion dedicated to artistic and academic excellence.  AIMS has consistently scored among the top schools in the state and nation for the past seven years. In 2007 it was recognized as winner of the Kennedy Center’s Creative Ticket Award and was the recipient of the National Blue Ribbon award in 2010. AIMS has earned 15 awards nationally and locally for academic and arts excellence. Continually, AIMS scores above the state average for PASS and SCAAP testing.  These achievements are the direct result of embracing the arts-infusion curriculum, which incorporates the arts into all aspects of the learning environment throughout the school day. 


All students attend weekly classes in each of the four fine arts areas (visual arts, music, dance, and theater) and participate in performances during the year.  Art teachers collaborate with other teachers to use the arts to teach elements of non-arts curricula, promoting the South Carolina standards for both academic and art areas. Grades three through five choose weekly, hands-on exploratory classes such as digital media, ballet, tap dance, improvisation, strings, or percussion.  Arts opportunities are also enhanced through performance groups such as steel drums, chorus, drama troupe, or dance company, which perform on campus and in the community throughout the year. All grade levels participate in artist-in-residence programs by regional artists, which reinforce the importance of the artistic workforce in the community.


The entire staff and faculty work as a team. Arts teachers are regarded as equal educators and leaders in providing a dynamic learning environment. The AIMS faculty and staff actively reach out to support other schools in the state, and other schools and teachers flock to AIMS to observe its success. The principal, Chris Swetckie, has served as the chair of the ABC Peer to Peer subcommittee for the past three years. Local colleges seek out AIMS for observational studies for instructional strategies that include the arts. 


Howe Hall Arts Infused Magnet School is supported by a community where all stakeholders (students, parents, faculty, and administration) embrace the arts education model. Annually, there are approximately 50 student openings and nearly 500 students want to enroll. With enrollment determined by lottery, rather than by audition, the AIMS student body is representative of the population of Berkeley County in socio-economic and ethnic/racial composition. Since the lottery-based program's inception in 2002, applications for acceptance have increased approximately 10 percent each year.