• Straight Talk from the Superintendent - December 2, 2022

  • StraightTalk_120222.jpg.png

    It was great welcoming students and staff back this week from Fall Break. I hope everyone had a Happy Thanksgiving and enjoyed time with loved ones during the break. 

    Freshly charged from break, we wasted no time this week jumping back in action with two major events. The first was the new Board of Trustees orientation this past Tuesday followed by our inaugural Early Learning Kindergarten Readiness Symposium held on Wednesday at the Gaillard Center. Deputy Superintendent Huggins and I attended and immensely enjoyed participating in collaboration and discussion with the nearly 100 participants. One of the day’s highlights was our tour of Beaufort County School District’s Traveling Preschool Bus! Thank you to Ms. Kim Foxworth and the Early Learning Department for this fantastic event.

    Welcoming Our New Board Members

    We hosted the district’s seven new board members at 75 Calhoun for a day-long series of engagement sessions with students and staff designed to provide our newly elected members with essential information about the district’s student goals, educational programs, operational processes, and financial structures. Several of our principals led these sessions. This not only allowed our Board of Trustees to get to know school leaders better, but also to see snapshots of the work in our schools from the perspective of our principals. Some of our Early College High School students led an activity and participated in providing thoughtful and insightful feedback and input with our new Board members.

    During the orientation, we spent time discussing the district’s student outcomes focused goals and guardrails that I have been sharing over the past several months. CCSD’s goals are based on the student outcomes focused governance framework, and may differ from what you may have heard in the news regarding the board delegating all operational and/or administrative policy responsibilities to the superintendent.

    Student Outcomes Focused on Governance & District Policies

    CCSD’s student outcomes-focused goals are based on what the Charleston County community wants its students to know and be able to do. The goals were created by the school board based on community feedback. The work of defining goals, developing accountability measures, and monitoring progress is done collaboratively between the Board and staff, with the Board providing final approval. This is not the same as the Board giving staff and the superintendent authority and control over setting and defining policy. Policy is important and should be evaluated and looked at over time to ensure its relevance, effective implementation, and compliance. To be clear, neither my staff nor I have initiated, nor have plans to do so, a policy review with the intent of assuming responsibility for the district’s policies. Ownership of district policies remains with the Board. Our work, that is, CCSD staff and superintendent, is improving student outcomes as reflected in the student outcome goals: students reading on grade level, students proficient in math, and CCSD students graduating college and/or career ready (Vision 2027).

    Being married to a former school teacher, I know these final two weeks of school before Winter Break can be full of joy and celebration but also challenging as we try to help our students stay focused to finish the calendar year strong. Thank you for your endless patience, dedication, and commitment to the students of Charleston County. I am very grateful for each and every one of you!

    Have a great weekend,