From the Superintendent's Desk - October 26, 2012
Before I highlight this week’s “good news,” I would like to share a bit about the School Choice Fair at Burke High School last Saturday. During the Fair, I had the wonderful opportunity to speak with parents and some students who are interested in Charleston County Schools. I was extremely impressed with the turnout; and I am hopeful that parents who attended the Fair received useful information about our growing menu of choice options. To learn more about CCSD, view the posted Choice Fair video.
On Monday night, we held our countywide board meeting, during which we recognized the extraordinary efforts of students and teachers who participated in the summer reading awards program.
The student winners were: Sarah Grace Jennings, Hannah Fowler, Hunter Sturgill, Carlton Smith, Nora Aumentrout, and Emma Burns. Staff winners were Tiffany Henderson, Kathleen Dunleavy, and John Williams. The traveling trophies were awarded to James Simons (ES), Laing (MS), and West Ashley (HS). In all, CCSD students read over 57,000 hours this past summer.
We also welcomed new Board of Trustee Member, Mr. Todd Garrett. I want to thank Mr. Garrett and all our current board members for their service to our students and the communities in which they serve.
As always, I make an effort to share with you a few (of the many) positive stories from within our schools. This week, I want to highlight two schools. The first is Matilda F. Dunston Elementary. The State of South Carolina recently announced that Dunston is the winner of the, “Distinguished Title I School Award” for 2012 for the progress they have made. This award is bestowed to only one school in the entire state - so Principal Malone and her staff should be proud. Congratulations!
In an article published this week, Education Weekly, a national publication covering K-12 education celebrated the continuing progress that is being made at Haut Gap Middle School. The article highlights the Positive Behavioral Intervention and Supports (PBIS) strategies they have been using for five years and the positive results that have followed. It is wonderful article that will surely bring national attention to Haut Gap. This is a testament to the hard work of the staff and the leadership of former principal Paul Padron and current principal Travis Benintendo.
These are two great examples of schools that are making tremendous strides with the resources available. Speaking of resources -- as we head into FY 2012 and look ahead to FY 2013 -- the district’s fiscal health is strong. The tough, yet strategic budget decisions we have had to make over the last several years have been difficult, but necessary. Today, I am proud to report that we recently received a credit upgrade of AA+ from Standard and Poor’s. Credit upgrades can ultimately save the district money and this could translate into additional resources for classrooms and teachers. It is a win-win for everyone.
As I noted in last week’s desk letter, CCSD is going PINK. Yesterday, staff from across the district wore PINK to honor those impacted by breast cancer and to increase awareness about CCSD’s efforts to raise money for the local Susan G. Komen affiliate. If you are interested in giving, please send your donation to James Martin at Bridge View by Wednesday, October 31, 2012.
Last night, I was in New York City at the Overcoming Obstacles 2012 Achievement Awards where CCSD was honored for our work. Two of our students, January Little who attends Burke Middle High School, and Ervina Desaussure who just graduated from West Ashley High School and now attends Presbyterian College were also in attendance, and received the Student Achievement Award. That award honors young people who demonstrate exemplary communication, decision making, and goal setting skills, and who use these skills to successfully overcome challenges in their lives. I am so proud of our students and you should be as well!
Finally, if you haven’t, I want you to read the op-ed, that I wrote, which appears in today’s Post and Courier Newspaper. Low Country Tech (LCT), our 21st century career program on the peninsula is finally becoming a reality. The program – five years in development – will open in January 2013 in the Rivers building, offering state of the art career academies in growing industry fields.
As always, I thank you for all that you do for CCSD, and have a fantastic week-end.
--Dr. Nancy J. McGinley