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From the Superintendent's Desk - January 11, 2013

We were back in full swing this week! I was honored to have breakfast with eleven district high achievers on Monday. This monthly event is one of my favorites. I love learning first-hand about day-to-day challenges and creative solutions from our dedicated professionals around the district.

Student Singers at Sullivan's Island Elementary Ground BreakingThe decision to rebuild Sullivan’s Island Elementary truly has been a community effort from start to finish. SIES is scheduled to open in August 2014, and Monday morning I participated in a groundbreaking ceremony with Principal Susan R. King, Sullivan's Island Mayor Pro-temp Mike Perkis, Rebuild Committee Chair Loren Ziff, parents and other guests, including some excellent student singers! Thanks to everyone who helped make the event memorable.

As everyone knows, school safety continues to be an important topic district-wide. On Tuesday, I met with Sheriff Al Cannon; police chiefs from the City of Charleston, City of North Charleston, and Town of Mount Pleasant; and Mayors Joe Riley and Billy Swails. We discussed how we can cooperate to improve school safety for all. We are working hard to reinforce current protocols, while simultaneously exploring additional safety measures.

The CCSD Security and Emergency Management team has designed a new series of walk-through drills to be practiced next week by all staff at all campuses. This afternoon, I am sending a directive to all principals requiring all schools to conduct these staff-only safety drills by the end of next week. These in-depth drills are not like our normal monthly drills. Guided exercises will help staff gain an acute awareness of their surroundings by reflecting on specific scenarios, resources and responses. Knowing how best to respond in any type of emergency situation will reduce anxiety and empower staff.

I want to congratulate the 18 CCSD educators who became National Board Certified Teachers (NBCT) in 2012. We received the good news that our district continues to be among top SC districts for the number of NBCT teachers we employ. I encourage all of our educators to consider pursuing this wonderful professional development opportunity.

Please note some upcoming opportunities to get involved:

Tomorrow, Parent University will host the Fourth Annual Boyz to Gentlemen Summit at West Ashley High School from 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. This popular event is a forum of learning and discussion on how to improve outcomes for our boys and young men of color. All are welcome to attend.

Tuesday night from 6:00-7:30 p.m. there will be a community meeting at Hursey Elementary to review details about implementing the recommendation from the Neighborhood Planning Team regarding Montessori education.

Charleston Marathon LogoThe Charleston Marathon (Jan. 19) is less than two weeks away! All funds raised by the marathon benefit Fine Arts programs in CCSD schools. Many of our schools are Adopting-A-Mile along the race route to cheer runners along and to operate water stations. Visit charlestonmarathon.com/volunteer/ to sign up and help out with this amazing fundraiser.

An Evening with the Stars Winter Gala: International Indulgence (Feb. 22) will honor all school-based Teachers of the Year, but students, families, community members, and fellow educators are invited to recognize any inspirational and motivational educators who have made a difference in your lives! Purchase a personalized international flag to be displayed at this year’s gala to honor educators. After the gala, flags will be provided as special gifts to honored educators. Visit the Gala website or the Honor an Educator page, or call April or Cherie at (843) 937-6418 to learn more. Please spread the word about this opportunity to Honor an Educator!

Finally, I would like us all to consider spending a portion of our upcoming long weekend honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. through community service. The Corporation for National and Community Service is asking Americans to make the holiday a day ON -- versus a day off. King Day became a national day of service in 1994, when Congress passed legislation to give the holiday even greater significance. A dedicated web site enables organizers to register projects nationwide.

As always, I thank everyone for your commitment to our collective goals and the betterment of our communities,
Dr. Nancy J. McGinley