Straight Talk from the Superintendent - January 6, 2023
Welcome back and Happy New Year! I hope you all had a wonderful Winter Break and are as excited as I am to kick off a new year and dive into 2023 with renewed energy, purpose, and intention.
For me, the transition to a new year always brings about reflection; a look back at the previous year’s intentions set and goals accomplished, and a look ahead to the desired outcomes and path forward for the year to come.
Last year, the Board of Trustees and staff embarked upon the creation of very specific goals and guardrails in support of positive student outcomes for all students and Vision 2027 of all students reading on grade level by grade five. We took steps to define our “village” and the parts of it that comprise our larger PreK-12 ecosystem. I’ve shared before in Straight Talk that after meeting a child’s basic needs, one of the next most important predictors of economic outcomes is educational attainment. This journey toward attainment starts in early childhood, both inside and outside the home. Why the focus on early learning you might ask? Because 1) 90% of a child’s brain is developed by age five; 2) it improves social skills, attention span, and a child’s ability to manage feelings and access learning; and 3) it provides a foundation for later reading and numeracy achievement, setting the stage to have greater success in achieving Vision 2027.
A big focus of our efforts over the last half of 2022 was on the expansion of early childhood access and opportunity. To date, we have accomplished the following through collaboration between our Department of Early Childhood Readiness and Operations Division:
August 2022: Opened 8 new CD/4K classrooms
October 2022: Offered families on CD waitlist space at a school outside their zone
November 2022: Offered bus transportation to students on A.C. Corcoran & Ladson’s waitlist to attend CD at Pepperhill Elementary
January 2023: Opened infant toddler class at Minnie Hughes & opened CD/4K classrooms in District 2
We plan to continue implementing strategies of this type to ensure all students are Kindergarten ready through additional stages of pre-k expansion through the coming months and years. Additionally, we opened the District 20 Principal Collaborative Program (D20PCP) Learning Center at Charleston Progressive Academy (CPA) where teachers and staff at Sanders-Clyde, CPA, Julian Mitchell, Simmons-Pinckney, and Burke can enroll their children for only $50 a quarter. We were also successful in adding spots for our 4-year-olds at 22 sites of Expanded Learning’s Kaleidoscope program for both afterschool and summer programs beginning January 16, 2023.
Our Faith-Based Leaders
The district held its first Interfaith Roundtable on November 17, 2022 where leaders of several churches, synagogues, and other houses of worship in our area convened for a morning of fellowship, discussion, and collaboration around ways to support our students. Our aim is to fortify the PreK-12 ecosystem, strengthening each bond as we weave the web of support for our children.
The Interfaith Roundtable is set to meet again on January 27, 2023, and I am excited to continue our conversations with Charleston County’s faith leaders on ways we might collaborate to best serve our children.
Wishing you a great year ahead and a safe and relaxing weekend.