From the Superintendent's Desk - June 14, 2012
This week, we continued to prepare for our first full school year implementing Charleston Achieving Excellence: Vision 2016. A recurring theme was how we can best invest in and build on proven strategies that work, while being mindful of taxpayers’ dollars and meeting the aggressive student achievement targets we’ve established.
As you have probably heard, the week began with the Board approving the first reading of the budget on Monday night. The final reading is scheduled for our next meeting on June 25. The proposed draft accounts for the expansion of the literacy academies—which have produced momentous gains—as well as an investment in our people.
In order for our students to achieve at their full potential, they must have effective teachers and administrators leading the charge—people who believe in the potential of every child. I have asked the Board of Trustees to help us retain our great employees by providing competitive salaries, restoring teacher step increases and giving all employees a cost-of-living-adjustment.
Speaking of tapping into the abilities of all of our students, in a piece running in today’s Post and Courier, I discuss the students and faculties of four specific schools and programs—North Charleston High, Stall High, Burke High and Clark Academy. As I recognized during their recent graduation ceremonies, these are not “drop-out factories” (as they often are considered to be). Rather, these schools are working hard to ensure—no matter the challenges outside their doors—that an even higher number of students earn a diploma. They are not satisfied with the current success rate. These schools are “opportunity centers” which are producing over 300 graduates—many of whom have overcome substantial challenges—ready to enter and excel in college, the military, or the workforce.
The work done at the high school level is vital, but we know that a strong literacy-rich education in a child’s early years provides the foundation needed for success. This groundwork equips the student with the skills—and love of learning—needed to successfully navigate through school, master the core standards, graduate from high school, and be prepared for higher education, work and life. It was exciting to see hundreds of partners and participants at this week’s second annual Early Literacy Summer Conference at Stall High School. Thank you to all of the educators, child care providers, early childhood researchers, parents and community leaders who are participating and who are building bridges and opportunities for our youngest learners.
A similar theme—leaders building bridges for children—was apparent at Wednesday’s "Engaging Creative Minds” task force meeting. For the past eight months, this group has been looking at how to build an arts-infused model throughout the Lowcountry that accomplishes three goals:
1. To provide equitable access to creative, engaging, and deeply impactful learning experiences to all of our students
2. To build a desire for life-long learning
3. To raise academic achievement
I look forward to where this initiative—which fits perfectly with Vision 2016—is going and the great impact it can have on our students.
Until next week,
-Dr. Nancy J. McGinley