From the Superintendent's Desk - June 7, 2012
As you know, last Friday was the last day of school for students. (If you haven’t watched my end-of-year message yet, please do so). Beginning with our final teacher work day on Monday, it has been a tremendously busy—and important—week.
Today wraps up our second annual Charleston Educator Symposium at School of the Arts and Academic Magnet, and what an opportunity for professional growth! Throughout the three days, teachers, principals, and other district administrators exchanged ideas about innovative and proven practices and heard from locally- and nationally-renowned experts.
Iwitnessed and heard countless examples of employees having “aha moments” during the symposium. One of my favorite experiences was a particularly resonating keynote session led by Erin Gruwell, the phenomenal teacher whose story—the story of her students—was captured in the book Freedom Writers Diary (and inspired the immensely popular motion picture starring Hilary Swank).
Ms. Gruwell’s powerful presentation and reflections reminded me of the irrefutable and life-changing impact that teachers can have on their students. I know that we have educators all across our district who—like Ms. Gruwell—are changing lives and whole-heartedly believe in the ability of each child. This passion drives them to have high expectations, allowing students to question, grow, and excel.
And it is exactly that impact that educators can have on their students that makes this symposium invaluable. Nextyear will be our first full year that we use Charleston Achieving Excellence: Vision 2016 as our guide, and the symposium serves as the perfect preparation for the hard work and results ahead. I cannot wait for this year’s participants to share what they have learned with their school and office teams. Thank you to everyone involved in the coordination (including our Office of Teacher & Principal Effectiveness and Curriculum & Instructional Support Department), all of the symposium participants, and all of our partners who made the symposium financially possible through our annual gala fundraiser.
Speaking of conferences, not too far away in North Charleston, the 2012 School Plant Management Association summer conference was held at Jerry Zucker Middle School. Our very own employee Jimmy Martin, who was recently elected to the national board of the National School Plant Management Association, led the effort to host this event. Congratulations to everyone involved in this successful conference, which attracted professionals from across the state, provided the perfect opportunity to showcase a beautiful and 21st Century learning environment, and allowed our employees to gain strategies on how to continue running our schools and offices efficiently while best supporting classroom instruction.
And finally, efficiency, this emphasis on classroom instruction, and how we can ensure that we achieve the measurable targets of Vision 2016 were key themes during this week’s Board workshop and a public hearing focused on the proposed budget for next school year. The draft of the budget is scheduled to be voted on by the Board for first reading on June 11 and will go to the Board for final approval on June 25.
Have a great weekend, everyone.
-Dr. Nancy J. McGinley