Straight Talk from the Superintendent - August 26, 2022
Another Great Week
It was an outstanding second week in CCSD as schools were back in full swing all week with students in the building from Head Start to twelfth grade!
On Wednesday after school, I enjoyed making home visits with three families in North Charleston. Farrakhan James, one of our staff members, joined me. We visited a family with students at Morningside Middle and Goodwin Elementary; a family with a 9th grade student at Stall High; and one with a 6th grader at Zucker Middle. While each family had different interests and dreams for their children, one thing became evident across all visits: in order for students to succeed and be able to pursue their interests and achieve their dreams, we must foster a culture of high expectations. For instance, when I asked one student what in school interests him, he eagerly replied, “science.” Farrakhan and I talked briefly with the student and his mother about science experiments. It was clear that his mother supported this academic interest; however, I wondered whether she has the experience to navigate our complex system to ensure her son's interests and talents are developed. I believe there are two ways we can help: by improving our engagement with families and the community, and by creating a culture of high expectations in CCSD.
The Workshop on Student Outcomes
Over 80 CCSD staff have engaged in systems thinking training this year with The Waters Center (link). In July, a group of them spent a day exploring avenues to system change that would significantly increase district progress in improving student outcomes for more of our students. The group came up with three answers1) high expectations are essential; 2) family and community engagement must increase; and 3) as a system, we must define what students need to know and be able to do at each grade level, both academically and socially. The participants are linked here, so if you have a chance, ask one of them about the thinking that led the group to identify these three areas.
School and Other Visits
In support of our literacy goals and Vision 2027, I met with our partners at the Charleston County Public Library (CCPL) along with our Library Media Services Coordinator, Christy James. We discussed CCPL’s great success in the County’s Summer Reading program and the rollout of electronic library cards for all of our students. Additionally, I had the pleasure of making a visit to E.B. Ellington Elementary School Friday morning, along with Dr. Jennifer Swearingen, Associate Superintendent of Elementary Learning Community. We were greeted by two outstanding students, Principal James Dallas, AP Kayela Clark, and Instructional Coach Blake upon our arrival. We observed a kindergarten class, a third grade class, and a fifth grade music class. It was heart-warming to see all of the students highly engaged with their learning.
As we go into our third week of school, I encourage everyone to think about the high expectations we should establish for all of our students. And remember, The Time is Now.
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