Horry County Schools provides all public education services for students from pre-kindergarten to 12th grade, as well as other special educational programs in the county. The district encompasses 52 schools in the nine attendance areas of the county, including Myrtle Beach, North Myrtle Beach, Carolina Forest, Conway, Socastee and St. James. Serving more than 40,000 students and employing more than 5,200 workers, Horry County Schools is the state’s third largest school district and its highest ranked in overall student achievement and academic improvement for the 2012-13 school year. The district received a letter grade of B in overall performance with a numerical rating of 89.8, which is two-tenths of a point from an A rating and tops among all county-wide systems. Of the 52 schools calculated in the districtís letter grade, 83 percent earned either an A or B grade, a significant jump from 72 percent of schools with an a A or B in 2011-12. Despite the rapid growth of the region, Horry County Schools boast some of the lowest average class sizes and student-to-teacher ratios in the state: 25:2 for kindergarten, 20:1 for first grade, and 21:1 for grades 2-3. The district’s average class size all the way through high school is lower than allowed by the state. Horry County Schools also places a high emphasis on technology in the classroom. All classes are networked to the Internet, the use of wireless labs is expanding, and all schools are equipped with a wireless overlay allowing mobile devices access to the Internet. A laptop initiative for teachers promotes 21st Century learning in the classroom, and all elementary classrooms are equipped with an interactive whiteboard as part of a district-wide initiative to provide interactive technology at all grades. Horry County Schools provides special programs from the earliest level, including child development classes that serve identified 4-year olds, as well as full-day child development and kindergarten programs, to the highest level, offering a Scholars Academy and accelerated programs of study for grades 9-12 at Coastal Carolina University.