Our philosophy with our diverse population at M.C. Riley is to grow the whole child, helping students develop skills that will make them problem-solvers and passions for science, technology, engineering, and math, achieving not only within the classroom setting but setting them up for successful endeavors through their future years as students and as contributing members of society.
Our student-body features a diverse community with a wide range of needs. We are able to support our students and their individualized needs through Special Education support, Gifted and Talented courses, English as a Second Language, as well as our social and emotional support from our counselors and social worker. We offer enrichment programs that allow students to explore their personal interests and talents. Every student from PreK to 5th grade participate in our Sharpen the Saw Clubs each month. We also have opportunities for before and afterschool enrichment in academics and the arts.
At Michael C. Riley, our students and faculty are compassionate and generous leaders who are dedicated to making this world a better place. We are passionate about supporting the needs of our families and the Bluffton community. Since 2015, Spanish-speaking parents have attended a 10-week course in language literacy through the Latino Family Project. This intense course engaged parents in sharing literature, ideas, and fellowship with one another while building connections with the school. Each year, our students work hard to provide to those with needs. In the past, our school community service projects have included:
- American Heart Association's Kids Heart Challenge;
- food and toy drives for Bluffton Self-Help;
- supply drives for Family Promise through Leo's Legacy;
- collect pop tabs for the Ronald McDonald House;
- donations for service members overseas; and,
- donations to our own students and families during difficult times.
Our school was named after Michael Christopher Riley (1873-1966), the only son of Jack and Louise Riley and a native Blufftonian.
He received his high school education at Beach High School in Savannah, Georgia. Mr. Riley graduated from Georgia State Industrial College, now Savannah State University.
He owned and operated a restaurant and general store, and was instrumental in organizing the Wage Earner's Bank of Savannah. Mr. Riley was a Sunday school superintendent, deacon and choir member of First Zion Baptist Church. He was the first black to be appointed as trustee to the Beaufort County Board of Education, District #2.
He was married to Daisy McDowell of Charleston, South Carolina, and together they raised six children. Because of his untiring efforts to have a school built, and putting the school term on a nine-month basis; a high school was named in his honor.
The present Michael C. Riley Elementary School was built in 1991, with the Early Childhood Center following in 2009.