The Palmetto Gold Awards Program was established by the Education Accountability Act (EAA) of 1998. As an important part of the education accountability system in South Carolina, the Awards program is designed to recognize and reward schools for attaining high levels of absolute performance, for attaining high rates of growth, and for making substantial progress in closing the achievement gap between disaggregated groups. Wil Lou Gray Opportunity School has been a recipient of The Palmetto Gold Award for the past 7 consecutive years.
In 1921 the late Dr. Wil Lou Gray founded a school which later became her namesake. Wil Lou Gray Opportunity School continues to be the state’s leader in providing alternative education. As an agency of state government, the school provides a wealth of academic and life skills training by SC state-certified teachers in modern classroom settings.
Dr. Gray adopted the motto “Why stop learning?” and dedicated her life to educating the undereducated.
Changing Lives. That's what we do at the Wil Lou Gray Opportunity School. We specialize in helping at-risk young people move past the obstacles in their lives to achieve success. What do we mean by "at-risk"? WLGOS serves students in South Carolina who are 16 through 19 years of age who are on a path toward:
truancy, or failing at their current school.
dropping out of school and not completing their education.
missing a college education or a successful career.
a negative lifestyle, because of bad choices in their everyday life.
Do you have or know someone who has a student who fits these descriptions?
If so, we are here to help! We help our students achieve their goals by placing them in an environment that is geared toward learning and applying new skills. We are a structured, residential, military-style environment that emphasizes both academic and life-skills education. We are proud to say that our academic program has been awarded the distinction of being a Palmetto Gold School for the 7th year, recognition that we have a first-class program.
Wil Lou Gray is a tuition free school, however, students are required to maintain a spending account of $200 for medical costs, field trips, lost items, GED testing fee and miscellaneous items.
Since our students have many individual needs, we have a variety of programs to guide our student to success, including:
Compensatory Education Pre-Vocational Training
Pre-Employment Training Career Guidance and Job Placement
Life Skills Self-Discipline
If you have any questions about how the Wil Lou Gray Opportunity School might help you, please don't hesitate to contact us, or call us at 803.896.6480. Please note: WLGOS does not receive funding from public schools.
Why Stop Learning?
The Wil Lou Gray Opportunity School does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, age, sex, or disability in admission to, treatment in, or employment in its programs and activities. Inquiries regarding nondiscrimination policies should be made to the Wil Lou Gray Opportunity School, at 3300 West Campus Road, West Columbia, SC 29170 or call (803) 896-6480. For further information on federal non-discrimination regulations, including Title IX, contact the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights at OCR.DC@ed.gov or call 1(800) 421-3481.
Student Life @ WLG
Wil Lou Gray Opportunity School's curriculum is purposefully designed to prepare each student for a General Education Development (GED) diploma. Classroom work is self-paced and designed to help you learn, even in areas where you may be struggling. Our teachers and counselors are professional educators, state-certified, and dedicated to unlocking the academic potential that you possess. Our award-winning JROTC program is designed to foster your self-confidence, leadership capabilities and team building skills.
Upon entrance to Wil Lou Gray Opportunity School, you will be given the Test of Adult Basic Education (TABE) and placed in academic and vocational classes based upon your interests and abilities.
If you would like more information about the GED program, visit the South Carolina Department of Education's website on the General Education Development.
Daily Class Schedule
The Wil Lou Gray Opportunity School requires that a student take and pass a pre-GED test. This test is given to determine whether a student is prepared to take the GED. The pre-test is a shorter version of the actual GED. It is given and scored by the educational staff of Wil Lou Gray Opportunity School. Four sections are tested: ELA (English, Language Arts), Mathematics, Social Studies and Science. The student must score at least 150 of 200 points in each section in order to take the GED test. A passing score in each area of the pre-GED still does not guarantee a total passing score for the GED.
The pre-GED test is computerized and is given on campus. It usually takes about 4 hours and the school has to purchase a voucher code for each student and each section, therefore $24 ($6 per section x 4 sections) will be taken from each student's account to cover the cost.
The pre-GED is scheduled based upon a mixture of a student's academic progress in the classroom, TABE Scores, ASVAB scores, and Workkeys scores.
A student who passes the pre-GED test will then be allowed to take the GED test that is given by the South Carolina Department of Education at testing centers off campus. Students will be transported to sites over a 2-day period. The test covers the same 4 sections: ELA (English, Language Arts), Mathematics, Social Studies and Science as the pre-GED. Students must score at least 150 of 200 points in each section to pass the GED, however this time the total score is not considered. The tests are scored by a professional scoring center for the national GED.
The cost for the GED is $37.50 per section for a total fee of $150. Wil Lou Gray Opportunity School will pay half of the fee for each student. The balance, $75, will be paid from the student's account.
Students who fail sections will be allowed to retake sections as spots become available at the testing sites. If a student does not successfully obtain a GED during their enrollment, we encourage them to continue with their education. We will provide information about alternative educational opportunities or recommend re-enrollment at Wil Lou Gray if they made appropriate academic and social progress.
The classroom day begins promptly at 8:30 a.m. and ends at 4:00 p.m. Each student is provided instruction in the following courses on a daily basis:
There are many programs, activities, and electives available for students:
Non-Denominational Church Service (Voluntary)
JROTC Drill Competitions (JROTC Color Guard)
Work Keys Program
JROTC Military Ball (Prom)
Participate in Area Parades
Rock Climbing Wall
Source: Student Information Services 2008-2013
This residential, military-structured transition may be difficult at first for your child as well as for you. Communication between you and your child is actively encouraged. After the first two weeks of enrollment, students will be permitted to call home on a weekly basis. Each student is also allowed to send and receive mail. During each trimester, there will be two mandatory passes home issued. There will be times when a parent/guardian may visit, including Parent's Day, where students have an opportunity to show off the new skills they are learning to their families. Students are allowed passes for certain weekends, as well as for observed holidays. All parents/guardians are encouraged to contact our Admissions Coordinator, with any questions or concerns.
Ours is a very structured program, and this is a major change for some of our young people. We require strict compliance with the rules, but we also make sure that students know we care about them and their well-being. Your student may complain at first about the discipline, but be sure to remind them that this program is designed very specifically to help them reach their goals. Encourage your student to "hang in there". Many of our students begin the program with complaints and end singing its praises!
Some common questions that you may have as a parent can be located on our FAQs page. If you have additional questions not mentioned please contact our Academic Specialist by calling at 803.896.6466.
Campus visitation is only permitted from 3:45 - 4:30 pm, Monday - Friday or by appointment.
The Online School Directory is your resource to contact faculty and staff. For general administrative questions call 803.896.6480 or email them here.
All employment opportunity positions are posted on www.sc.gov and applications for employment must be submitted via the SC state website.
Agency Procurement Report: http://www.transparency.sc.gov
Monthly Charge Card Usage: http://www.cg.sc.gov/Pages/monthlychargecardusage.aspx
Report fraud, waste, and abuse in state agencies to the Office of the State Inspector General at http://OIG.SC.GOV or 1-855-SC-FRAUD.
Contact Us @ WLG
Get directions to
Wil Lou Gray Opportunity School campus.
Director of Operations
Director of Finance and HR
Admissions & Recruiting
FACULTY MAIN NUMBER - 803.896.6466
Asst. to Health Director
Nurse on Duty
Anyone interested in a counseling internship should contact one of the counselors listed above.
Mrs. Doris Adams
Dr. Earle Bennett
Mrs. Deborah Blalock
Mr. Robert N. Collar
Mr. Stewart Cooner - Vice-chair
Mrs. Marilyn Edwards-Taylor
Mr. Bryan England
Mr. Thomas Hamilton
Miss Angela Hanyak
Mr. Russell E. Hart - Chair
Mr. Reginald Thomas
MAIN CONTACT INFO