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From the Superintendent's Desk- Week of February 4, 2011 

Charleston Housing Authority honors top 100 achieving students residing in public housingHello again, everyone. I witnessed three consistent themes this week— 1) the potential of our students and their ability to improve our community, 2) the power of partnerships, and 3) the importance of public feedback as we plan for the future.

I had the opportunity to meet directly with students several times this week. On Saturday, I was honored to attend the Housing Authority of the City of Charleston's ceremony recognizing 100 of our top-achieving students in grades 3 through 5. These students received a notebook computer and twelve months of free internet service. Congratulations, students!

Signing Day for CCSD athletesAt the Mayor’s Youth Commission meeting on Wednesday,  Mayor Riley and I heard directly from approximately 16 students representing several of our high schools.  Their feedback was timely and included important topics such as what makes an effective teacher, budgeting ideas, and transparency of funding.  I am grateful for the service and time of these students, and we will be coming back to many of their thought-provoking ideas in the coming months.

That morning was also “Signing Day” for many of our high school seniors, and athletes from all over the county convened at the district office to commit to attend four-year colleges and universities.  As I shared with these dynamic young men and women, we are tremendously proud of their achievements in the classroom and in sports, and we know we will be hearing great things about them in the coming years.

I joined other district leaders from across the state on Thursday to hear from our new State Superintendent of Education Dr. Mick Zais.  Dr. Zais discussed several issues, including the massive budget shortfalls, the need for funding to follow the students, school discipline, and the importance of teacher quality.  Many of his ideas are consistent with Charleston Achieving Excellence.

Currently, we are asking for your help in three specific ways.  First, please pass along the news to anyone that may be interested that our Board of Trustees is seeking three at-large, community representatives to serve on an Advisory Panel of the Citizens Oversight Committee for the One Penny Sales Tax. Interested volunteers are asked to please submit a one paragraph Statement of Qualifications to the Board of Trustees by 5 p.m. on February 11, 2011.  Learn more by visiting our website.  

Secondly, we are getting great budget ideas emailed to us at budget@charleston.k12.sc.us.  Please keep these ideas coming as we continue to look at ways we can absorb a projected $28 million dollar deficit while fortifying our classrooms and accelerating our students' progress.

Finally, we also need your help in the final stages of developing the academic calendar recommendation for the 2011-2012 school year. Our 2011-2012 calendar page includes two options for the calendar and a link to a brief survey in which you can indicate your preference.  The survey will be available until February 17. We will take your input to the school board, and it will finalize the school calendar.

Thank you for your continued partnership, and until next week…

-Dr. Nancy J. McGinley