• Straight Talk from the Superintendent - October 14, 2022

  • Straight Talk


    What a beautiful week of weather we have experienced as fall is in full swing in the Lowcountry. Many of our high schools have or are hosting their Homecoming celebrations, Hispanic Heritage Month is coming to a close, and we only have one week left in our first quarter. Time is flying by in this first semester.

    I always consider opportunities to see our students in action, doing things they love, learning, and growing as one of the greatest highlights of my week. This week, our CCSD principals and I were treated to an incredible performance by School of the Arts students at our monthly LEAD meeting. SOA orchestra and vocal students performed pieces from The Phantom of the Opera and to say it was outstanding is to say the least. You can find a clip of the performance on the District’s Facebook site. The performance was greatly enjoyed by all!

    Equally impactful and moving was the testimony of students from five schools downtown (Burke, Simmons-Pinckney, Sanders-Clyde, Charleston Progressive Academy, and Mitchell Elementary) who are participating in what is called the D20 Principal Collaboration Program (PCP).  

    At Wednesday’s press conference about the D20 PCP, Sanders-Clyde Principal Janice Malone introduced several students to talk about their visit to the Van Gogh Immersive Experience as a part of the PCP. She shared how impactful it was for students and families to have opportunities to have experiences like Van Gogh which allow them to come back to the classroom and talk, engage, and write about what they just experienced. She also shared the importance of expanding out the support for these students beyond the four walls of the school building to partners like the City of Charleston and others who can help collectively strengthen the academic progress of D20 students, provide access and opportunity to programs and experiences, and help better identify and address needs most commonly seen in the feeder pattern. Thank you to Mayor Tecklenburg and his staff for their partnership and support of this and many other district initiatives!

    It was wonderful to hear Reagan, a Simmons-Pinckney student, share how peaceful and calming the experience was for her, and Brandon, a Sanders-Clyde fifth grader, share how he loved learning all the facts about Van Gogh’s life and that he was an impressionist artist. William, a senior at Burke, said it was more than he thought it would be; most profoundly he said, your own impression can be something that changes history, just like Van Gogh’s are now worth millions, except when he was around it wasn’t worth much, except to him.

    With guidance from former CCSD Deputy Superintendent, Dr. Barbara Dilligard, and in collaboration with each of our outstanding principals, the D20 PCP supports our Board’s new student outcome goals of literacy, Algebra I achievement, and college and career readiness. It also honors the Board’s guardrails of ensuring all students have the soft skills needed to be successful after high school graduation; the expectation that CCSD provides students with social-emotional learning; a plan to engage stakeholders; high expectations for all students; and a positive staff culture.

    In my video message last week, I gave an update on the interim goals and guardrails work, which we will continue for the next two weeks leading up to the October 24 Board meeting. We will continue to provide updates on this important work as it progresses. 

    I am excited about our commitment to developing and executing initiatives and programs like the D20 PCP and the Board’s new student outcome goals and guardrails that will help ensure our students have high-quality experiences, high expectations, and opportunities to achieve high student outcomes. This has been a great first quarter; I look forward to all the second quarter has in store for our schools, students, and staff.