From the Superintendent's Desk - August 31, 2012
As the first full week of school comes to a close, I want to take this time to express my gratitude to all the staff members who helped make the first day of school such a success. Because of your efforts, we had more students in classrooms on the first day, than we have had in 13 years. Our five-day enrollment numbers show we are up 1.8 percent, the best five-day total (41,189) since 2004. Your hard work and commitment to excellence have not gone unnoticed.
Speaking of hard work, the staff in our Early Learning Community has been preparing all summer long to welcome back our students in the Child Development and Head Start programs beginning Tuesday, September 4. These programs play a vital role in preparing all of our students to enter kindergarten ready to learn, and we know that they have the power to significantly narrow the achievement gaps that exist between groups of students. This year, over 2800 students will enroll in one of our Child Development or Head Start programs. This is great news!
Also, beginning next week, I kick-off my school visits. These visits give me a chance to hear directly from teachers, staff, and principals. I look forward to sharing with you, the great stories and achievements I hear about. One such story I want to share with you is about Mr. Terrell M. Pinckney. His important work was featured in a recent Charleston Southern University publication. Mr. Pinckney is CCSD’s primary liaison to the Department of Juvenile Justice and Family Court. Another great story involves St. James-Santee Elementary, Lincoln Middle, and Lambs Elementary. They will be expanding their afterschool programming through a grant partnership with the Clemson Youth Learning Institute. This is tremendous news for these school communities. Across our county, we have hundreds of community partners like the Clemson Youth Learning Institute – directly helping our students and teachers. We should acknowledge their hard work and dedication every chance we get. Without their full commitment to Charleston Achieving Excellence: Vision 2016, we will have a difficult time closing the achievement gap that exists.
Vision 2016 is of critical importance to our students and the future of this community. This is one truth that is undeniable. This is one truth that simply cannot be ignored. It’s going to require hard, smart work from everyone, including our community partners. This is what I mean when I say, “All Means All.”
Because of the tough work ahead of us, I want to remind everyone – teachers, support staff, and administrators -- about the importance of wellness, maintaining a work life balance and giving back to our community. Throughout the year, I plan to highlight various opportunities that exist to give back or participate in a wellness activity.
For instance, we officially kick-off our 2012 Trident United Way campaign on Friday, September 7. This year’s campaign runs from September 7-28. Last year, our organization gave $116,000. Our goal this year is $125,000. I know we can do it! The $116,000 we raised last year supports education programs that directly benefit our students. Programs like Links to Success – which is in six of our schools – has achieved positive results helping at-risk students improve their grades and behavior.
In a few short months, we will be gearing up for our third annual Charleston Marathon (January 19) and Youth Marathon (January 18). Events such as these benefit all students and I couldn’t be more supportive. Since 2011, the Charleston Marathon has invested over $100,000 back into CCSD arts programs. The marathon is quickly drawing national attention and will only get bigger. The Youth Marathon is FREE and is open to all students ages 7-17. Last year, students from all over our district – led by custodians, nurses, teachers, and volunteers –signed up to participate. Principals and teachers -- let’s try and double our student participation this year! Both of these events support CCSD and encourage life-long physical activity.
Finally, and this is more of a housekeeping item, CCSD has been experiencing system-wide problems with e-mail. The problems that have been identified include, “slow” loading and “freezing.” We are working hard to solve the problem. These issues are impacting all staff and may result in a longer response times to e-mail messages. If you have not received a response to a critical e-mail, please follow-up with a telephone call to the employee, school or office as appropriate. We apologize for the inconvenience, and we appreciate your understanding.
-Dr. Nancy J. McGinley