• Straight Talk from the Superintendent - September 2, 2022

  • Super

    What Students Need to Know and Be Able to Do

    Last week, I mentioned that a group of educators spent a day this past July 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 answers 1) 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. As a result of the group’s work, a project team/task force has been created to further develop the definition of student success and will be led by Lisa Allison and Jameshia Coleman.

    The Student Success Definition Project

    The purpose of this project is to define academic and non-academic success criteria for students at every grade level, from pre-K through 12th grade, and to create a matrix that encompasses those criteria. The success criteria will be aligned to a mental model of high expectations for all students and tied to the School Board’s student outcomes goals. The Board will engage the community beginning this month to finalize the goals. Parent input and family voice will be included in the identification of student expectations and the development of the overall student success matrix, which will be used as a tool to guide decisions on student outcomes.

    Project Objectives Include:

    Define student success indicators for every grade (academic and non-academic);

    Define high leverage adult behaviors that foster high expectations for students;

    Ensure a common understanding of the student success indicators by stakeholders that represent the diversity of our district; and

    By January 2023, present the student success matrix and a set of implementation recommendations to the School Board.

    Annual Superintendents’ Symposium

    I was in Columbia on Wednesday and Thursday of this week, with other superintendents from around the State, to attend the annual Superintendents’ Symposium. A few of the topics discussed were:

    The state’s new district accountability model which includes a student growth component

    A presentation on school safety by Chief Mark Keel, head of the S.C. Law Enforcement Division, better known as SLED

    A state revenue forecast by Mike Shealy, Budget Director for the S.C. Senate Finance Committee. The revenue forecast has implications for school districts’ revenues for next fiscal year.

    State Secretary of Education, the Honorable Molly Spearman, presented at the symposium for the last time as she will leave office after the November elections. She gave a powerful message advocating for improved student outcomes. I regret that I have only been able to work with Secretary Spearman for such a short time.

    Over the coming weeks, we will provide updates on the Student Success Definition Project as it progresses. In the meantime, I hope everyone has a safe, fun, and relaxing long holiday weekend.  Thanks for your support of our children!