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Thursday, December 25, 2008

Rock Hill Schools Dominate State in Football

Barry Byers has a good article today on what a great year all the area schools had in football for the 2008 season. You can read it in Wednesday's Herald here. One thing that Barry left out, all the Rock Hill Youth Football teams won the state championship in their age division this year as well.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Gary Simrill Talks About Act 388

Reprensentative Gary Simrill talks about Act 388 and other SC legislative issues on the Dec. 18 edition of WRHI's Straight Talk.

Jason Silverman on WRHI's Straight Talk

Jason Silverman covers many issues on the Dec. 11 Straight Talk.

Monday, December 22, 2008


I thought this posting at  The Blog  was worth a repeat. So much of it is true.

Superintendents and Principals should blog.

Well that is not exactly what I mean. Plus I feel like I am repeating myself.

They don’t have to necessarily blog, but they do need to keep up with the technological times.

It is almost 2009 after all.

You can’t be a leader in education without leading. And you can’t lead by using pencil and paper when everyone behind you is
Twittering. Or Plurking. Or doing 50 other things that I don’t completely understand (yet… I am working on it slowly but surely).

How can we expect students and teachers to stay current, when we are set in our ways?

If we don’t want to get outside of our comfort zone, how can we expect others to tackle the changes and challenges in technology?

How can we make financial judgments on what is good for the school district when we don’t understand the tools being purchased?

How can we tell technology directors that have to block certain websites when we have no idea what the sites are and why they are being used?

How can we let ourselves be considered old, out of date, out of touch, closed minded, and well just really old?

Aren’t we risking looking ignorant when we stand up in front of teachers and say we expect them to use technology?

And then we don’t?

Aren’t we risking looking even more ignorant when we evaluate teachers on using technology and yet we struggle with email?

Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying every administrator should be a tech geek (a term that I use with love, not with judgment …after all, my wife is the biggest geek I know, and I love her dearly… yes,
she wrote the last 15 words).

I am saying that we need to put in the time to advance ourselves if we want everyone around us to be taking these same small steps.

In Open Letter Part 2 (or the Deuce as the hip kids will surely call it), I will tackle the sure fire excuses that administrators will send me (if they email): I’m too busy, if I had a blog no one would read it, I don’t want my thoughts on that
internet thingy, and of course the very popular Blah.. blah... blah... blah... blah... blah.

This is a big subject, so I can’t change the administrative mindset myself. This is going to take all of us.

And just one blog won’t cut it. I may be looking at a series here. Possibly even a manifesto.

But I have time. Lots and lots of time.

And cold hard cash. Actually, this part is a lie. I have don’t have a lot of money, just a bunch of change in my desk drawer (mostly pennies).

But I am willing to spend it if I have to. Although I don’t really want to because that is my morning chocolate milk money.

So I will stick to logic.

And if that doesn’t work, I will move on to Phase 2… guilt. And if that doesn’t do the trick, I may invest in frickin' sharks with frickin' laser beams attached to their frickin' heads (I do love Dr. Evil from Austin Powers).

So it starts here.

Bombard your administrator with this first blog (in what may become an ongoing series… unless of course
I get distracted but some other issue).

We can change them. We must
change them. We have to do it for the kids.

Wow, I just had an
Obama moment there.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

WBTV's Trophy Presentation to South Pointe High School

South Pointe of Rock Hill named "2008 Charlotte Sports Commission's High School Football Team of the Year"
Watch South Pointe

Rock Hill Schools Information For December 16

By Elaine Baker

Sullivan to Hold Cares Concert
Sullivan Middle School will hold its First Annual Sullivan Cares Concert at 2:30 Friday, Dec. 19, in the auditorium. The concert will feature the performing arts (dance, chorus and strings) while raising money for local charities. Michael Waiksnis, principal, comments: "As an International Baccalaureate school, we place an emphasis on developing the whole child and giving back to the community. Our recent fundraising events gave our students real world experience in giving back to those in need."

Local Clubs Need Support
The Boys & Girls Clubs of York County provide a safe haven 240 days each year for today’s youth, ages 6-18, where after-school and summer camp programs are led by caring, professional staff.  Weekly fees range from $10-$30 for after-school programs. By keeping program costs affordable, the clubs must rely on the generosity of others. 

      Donations can be made in honor or in memory of loved one.

Holiday Performances

Students at Northside Elementary School of the Arts will perform several times this week.
Fourth and fifth grade students will present "Strings the Thing" at 6:30 p.m., Dec. 16, in the school cafeteria. Then, at 7:00 p.m. Dec. 18, fourth-graders will present Santa's Rockin' Christmas Eve in the Rock Hill High Auditorium. The students will integrate dance, drama, music, and art in their first full-length musical. The schools performing group, the Arts Explorers, will perform at the Galleria Mall at 11:00 a.m. Friday, Dec. 19. They performed at the Blumenthal Performing Arts Center in Sept. and at ChristmasVille on Dec. 7.

Other school performances this week include:

Tuesday, December 16

¡Castle Heights Choral and Drama Depts.

    "Lights, Camera, Christmas" / 7:00 p.m.

¡Rawlinson Road Orchestra / 7:30 p.m.

¡RHH Choral Dept. & Visual Arts Show / 8:00 p.m.

¡Sullivan Orchestra / 7:00 p.m.

Thursday, December 18

¡Dutchman Creek Band /  7:00 p.m.

¡Rawlinson Road Band / 7:00 p.m.

¡Ebinport Kindergarten  / 9:30 a.m.

¡Northwestern Orchestras  / 7:30 p.m.

Friday, December 19

¡Finley Road School Sing Along  / 1:30 p.m.

Fundraiser for Belleview Teacher Big Success
The Dec.15 fundraiser at Durango Bagel to benefit the family of Belleview reading recovery teacher, Elicia Miller, generated close to $5,000 according to Polly Wingate, an organizer. The money  will help offset medical expenses for Elicia's son, Hudson, who was born in late October and diagnosed with cystic fibrosis.


¡Chick-Fil-A on Cherry Road will hold "Stallion Night" on Dec. 17 with Coach Bobby Carroll and his championship football  team as guests. Chick-Fil-A will donate 10% of sales between 5:00-8:00 toward the purchase of rings for the team.

¡The NHS Jazz Band, directed by Mark Yost, will participate in Muzak's 75th anniversary celebration in February. The band will perform at corporate headquarters in Fort Mill, which will be streamed on the web to their offices throughout the country.

¡The Junior Civitans at Sullivan led students and staff in collecting over 3200 cans of food and $2500 for the Salvation Army to benefit needy families in the Rock Hill area.

¡The official S.C. "Ornaments of Hope," which were for sale last week, have been sold, but there are still five prints left at  a reduced price. If interested, contact Kathy Stanley at 981-1378.

¡At 10:30 today (Dec. 16), Henry McMaster, S.C.  Attorney General, will present a check for $35,000 to the Early Learning Partnership of York County to pay for prescriptions for the Family Resource Center's Medical Clinic. The money, which has become available as part of a court settlement, will be presented at the location for ParentSmart, 410 E. Black Street.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Holiday Message to Rock Hill Schools Employees

Dr. Lynn Moody, Superintendent of the Rock Hill Schools delivers a Holiday Message to all employees.

Can Youtube Help With Math?

Several articles suggest you might find better math instruction on Youtube. If you child is having problems with math, read this US News Report or AP Story. Then head over to Youtube and start searching for your math problem.

Friday, December 12, 2008

South Pointe Football Team To Be Recognized on WBTV @ 11:30 PM December 12

Please tune in tonight  (or DVR it) on "WBTV" Rock Hill cable channel 3...  Delano Little, Danielle Trotta sports anchors for WBTV and Michael Mistler from the Charlotte Sports Commission will present Coach Greg Taylor of South Pointe High School  (Coach Carroll is at North/South Game)  with the "Charlotte Sports Commission's High School Football Team of the year trophy.

The program will air "LIVE" at 11:30 PM tonight , Friday, December 12, 2008 

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Rock Hill Schools Information for Friday, December 12

The National Dance Honor Societies of Northwestern and Rawlinson Road Students donated over $500 and two large boxes of gifts for "Toys for Happiness."

Students and staff at Rawlinson Road have donated 47 Operation Christmas Child shoe boxes to Samaritan's Purse; $350 to the Children's Attention Home and the Teen Health Center; and 2,694 cans of food to fill 76 bags for families in need.

The Personnel Dept. will hold its annual spring Teacher Job Fair from 8:30-12:30 on Sat., April 4, in the gallery of Saluda Trail Middle School.

Sarah Lynn Hayes, director of fine arts and gifted education, reports that the economic impact of the nonprofit arts and culture industry in York County has been placed at $7 million by the Economic Impact Study done in partnership with Americans for the Arts.

Rock Hill High will host the YC Winborn Holiday Classic Basketball Tournament on Dec. 20, 22, and 23 with four boy teams and 8 girl teams. Proceeds will fund two $500 scholarships, one for a senior female participant and the other for a senior male  participant. T-shirts are on sale for  $12,  proceeds will go toward the scholarships and can now be ordered by contacting Coach Eric Rollings.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Rock Hill Schools Events

The Elementary Honors Choir will perform at 7:00 p.m. Monday, Dec. 15, in the sanctuary  of Oakland Baptist Church (free).

The RHHS Choral Department will present "Sounds of the Season" at 8:00 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 16, in the auditorium ($5).

The Nutcracker School Performance will be held from 10:00 a.m. - noon Dec.19 in Johnson Hall on the Winthrop campus.

Adult Education will hold its first graduation this school year at 7:00 p.m. Monday, Dec. 15, in the Cyber Cafe at the RH Flexible Learning Center.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Rock Hill Schools Get 29 More Nationally Certified Teachers

The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards said Tuesday that 754 South Carolina teachers earned the designation in 2008.

Nearly 6,500 South Carolina teachers have earned the certification. It can take teachers up to three years to qualify and requires tests, video recordings of lessons and examples of student work.

Greenville County added the most nationally certified teachers this year with 75. Greenville County also has the most teachers who have earned the certification over time with 471.

Rock Hill School District Three has 210 Nationally Certified teachers with 29 receiving certification this year.  Those reaching the milestone this year are:

Lisa Baker
Literacy: Reading-Language Arts/Early and Middle Childhood      Rock Hill, SC

Patrice Barlotta
Mathematics/Early Adolescence   Rock Hill, SC

Tara Blackwell
Generalist/Early Childhood      Rock Hill, SC

Carla Cato
School Counseling/Early Childhood through Young Adulthood       Rock Hill, SC

Anna Echols
Literacy: Reading-Language Arts/Early and Middle Childhood      Rock Hill, SC

Nijjall Fair
Generalist/Middle Childhood     Rock Hill, SC

John Finley
World Languages Other than English/Early Adolescence through Young Adulthood    Rock Hill, SC

Crystal Gantt
Science/Early Adolescence       Rock Hill, SC

Sharon Gayton
Generalist/Middle Childhood     Rock Hill, S

Kelly Gibson
Social Studies - History/Early Adolescence      Rock Hill, SC

Janice Groves
Mathematics/Adolescence and Young Adulthood     Rock Hill, SC

Ashley Hall
Generalist/Middle Childhood     Rock Hill, SC

Laura Hall
World Languages Other than English/Early Adolescence through Young Adulthood    Rock Hill, SC

Camryn Harvey
Literacy: Reading-Language Arts/Early and Middle Childhood      Rock Hill, SC

Elaine Howie
Literacy: Reading-Language Arts/Early and Middle Childhood      Rock Hill, SC

Tina Infinger
English Language Arts/Early Adolescence         Rock Hill, SC

Mary Keith
Exceptional Needs Specialist/Early Childhood through Young Adulthood    Rock Hill, SC

Laura Limerick
World Languages Other than English/Early Adolescence through Young Adulthood    Rock Hill, SC

Robyn Nestvogel
Literacy: Reading-Language Arts/Early and Middle Childhood      Rock Hill, SC

Marjorie Nix Pusey
Exceptional Needs Specialist/Early Childhood through Young Adulthood    Rock Hill, SC

Mary Nowell
Literacy: Reading-Language Arts/Early and Middle Childhood      Rock Hill, SC

Rebecca Oliver
Mathematics/Early Adolescence   Rock Hill, SC

Kristen Reynolds
Literacy: Reading-Language Arts/Early and Middle Childhood      Rock Hill, SC

Jeremiah Robertson
English Language Arts/Adolescence and Young Adulthood   Rock Hill, SC

Elizabeth Saverance
Generalist/Early Childhood      Rock Hill, SC

Gail Steffensen
Literacy: Reading-Language Arts/Early and Middle Childhood      Rock Hill, SC

Sharon Veritzan
Generalist/Middle Childhood     Rock Hill, SC

Kimberly White
Generalist/Middle Childhood     Rock Hill, SC

Anna Winstead
Physical Education/Early and Middle Childhood   Rock Hill, SC  

South Carolina Education Oversight Committee Recommends Teacher Pay Freeze and No Board Certification Bonus!

The Education Oversight Committee voted unanimously Monday to recommend teacher pay be frozen for the coming fiscal year. The State newspaper reported the average teacher salary in South Carolina is $47,376.

The committee also recommended the state stop giving a $7,500 annual bonus to teachers who earn national board certification in the future. The panel said those in the process of becoming certified would qualify and those with the certification would continue to get the bonus.

The recommendations will go to the General Assembly, which will start work on the  budget in January 09. Sales tax collections have dropped nearly 11 percent this year because of the downturn in the economy.

Information from: The State,

Benefit For Teen Health Center

The 2nd annual “A Night at the Cotton Club” is approaching quickly. The date is set for March 21, 2009. Mark your calendars. This is a fun event held at the Cotton Factory benefiting the Teen Health Center (which really needs your help right now, we are close to having to close our doors because our contributions are down so much this year). There are opportunities to sponsor or just purchase tickets (which are ½ the price of last year!)

Friday, December 5, 2008

Calendar, Letters, Board Meeting, and a Football Game

The Rock Hill School District has several items now posted on the web site that you should view.

First, is the 2009 - 10 school calendar. You can access it here.

Next, the notifications required for No Child Left Behind have been sent out. You can see an example of the Choice letter here, and the Corrective Action letter here.

The School Board will hold the December Work Session at the Children's School at Sylvia Circle on Monday, December 8. The agenda can be found here and at the end of this notice.

Last, there is a football game in Clemson tonight. No matter what, it's been a great fall for High Schools in Rock Hill. South Pointe and Northwestern have provided some of the most exciting high school football in the state this year, or in any year. It's a shame someone has to lose - but that's why they play the game. Best of luck to both teams and boosters.


LOCATION: The Children's School at Sylvia Circle

START: 5:30 p.m.

DATE: December 8, 2008


WORK SESSION - Media Center
1 Presentation by The Children's School Sandra Lindsay-Brown 30 minutes
2 Rock Hill Climb L. Moody & System Design Team 60 minutes
3 Food Service Financial Update Bill Mabry / Elaine Bilton 15 minutes
4 Future High School Focus Group Luanne Kokolis 15 minutes
5 SCSBA Annual Convention Bob Norwood 10 minutes
6 Executive Session Student Hearing 45 minutes

Imagination Library Needs Your Help

Wondering what to do for that person on you gift list? Why not make a donation to Dolly Parton's Imagination Library in their name and help a child to read.

Monday, December 1, 2008

40 Years of Education Reform?

Louis V. Gerstner Jr. writes in the December 1st Wall Street Journal that education reform has failed. You should read his comments. Gerstner is a former CEO of IBM and was chairman of the Teaching Commission which reported on ways to improve the quality of public school teaching.

His highlights:

Abolish all local school districts.

Establish a set of national standards for a core curriculum.

Establish a National Skills Day on which every third, sixth, ninth and 12th-grader would be tested against the national standards.

Establish national standards for teacher certification and require regular re-evaluations.

Extend the school day and the school year.

You can find his article here.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Rock Hill Schools Update for November 26, 2008

By Elaine Baker

Model UN Teams Receive Top Awards

Congratulations to Model UN team advisors, Cathy Griffin (Northwestern High
School) and JoAnn Keller (South Pointe High School), whose students received
individual and team awards at the Clemson Model UN competition Nov. 12-14.
Northwestern's team representing the U. S. took first-place overall honors,
and its team representing South Africa took third-place overall. South
Pointe's team representing North Korea received second-place overall honors.

Sullivan Middle Plans Carnival

The Leadership Academy Class at Sullivan, which focuses on community service
and is led by counselor Li Mia Bowen, will host a carnival on Sat., Dec. 6,
from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. to benefit Pilgrims Inn and the Back-the-Pack

¡Cecilia Boles, health teacher at South Pointe High School, has been
selected by the S. C. Dept. of Education as one of six teachers state-wide
to serve on the Biology Curriculum Project Committee. The committee will
develop scope and sequence documents along with a curriculum guide based on
state academic standards.

¡ Rock Hill Adult & Community Education received four awards at the
Celebrating Our Success Luncheon on Nov. 21. Congratulations to Director
Sandy Andrews and her outstanding faculty and staff. And speaking of Adult
Ed., a Para Pro class is scheduled to begin in mid-January. .

¡Rock High High School's Theatre Dept. will present an evening of four
original one-act plays at 7:30 on Dec. 4 & 5. Directed by Stephanie
Daniels, the plays are Borrowed Parts, You Can't Escape Fate, First Day
Nightmare, and Bring Me a Dream.
¡Congratulations to Serena Williams, coordina-tor of community services, who
will serve as co-chair of the South Carolina Dept. of Education's Volunteer
Coordinators' Advisory Board.

¡Jimmie Matthews, talented art teacher at Independence, will update the
historical Rock Hill public school timeline at the Flexible Learning Center.
Former employee, Harriet Bucy, initiated the timeline in 2004 and kept it
updated until her death last spring.

¡Dutchman Creek Middle School has a special treat in store for its female
students on Saturday morning, Dec. 13. The school, in conjunction with the
Girl Scouts, will hold a workshop on dealing with stress; determining what
foods are both yummy and healthy; and what's in fashion.

¡Richard Pickering, accelerated studies coordinator at Sunset Park, was
recently recognized by the Rock Hill City Council for "Community Hoops," a
summer basketball program initiated in 2000 to give area youth, ages 8-17,
constructive ways to spend their time. The program began with 80
participants but now serves over 500.

¡Rosewood ESL teacher, Abe Senbel, has an article published in Volume 55 of
the national publication, Journal of Media Literacy. Dr. Senbel's article is
titled The Journey of a Young Muslim from Morocco.

¡Congratulations to Kathy Stanley, with RH Adult Education, who will receive
a $23,000 grant on Dec. 2 from the Charities Board of Directors for BI-LO.
The grant will benefit the York County Literacy Association where Cathy
serves as coordinator.

Rock Hill November Business Meeting Notes

School Board Meeting / Rock Hill Schools / November 24, 2008

The following action was taken by the board:

        approved the minutes of the October 27 and November 10 school board meetings; personnel recommendations; and overnight field trip requests submitted by Dutchman Creek and The Children's School at Sylvia Circle; vote was 7-0

        approved a request from Impact Community Church to use the auditorium at Rawlinson Road Middle School for Sunday morning church services for six months; vote was 6-1 with Brown against. Brown stated this would put the board in the middle of a church conflict.

        approved new high school course proposals for school year 2009-10, which include Honors Chorus 3 & 4, Symphonic Honors Band 3 & 4, Fundamentals of Coaching, Biology 2, and Warehousing and Distribution Technology 1. No new teaching positions will be required; vote was 7-0.

        approved first reading of policies KF (Community Use of School Facilities),  KCA (School-Community Relations Goals/Priority Objectives), IHBH (Charter Schools), IJJ (Textbook Selection and Adoption), ILBB (State Program Assessments), GCF (Professional Staff Hiring), GDF (Support Staff Hiring), JFAA (Admission of Resident Students), JJ (Student Activities), and JJI (Student Athletics); vote was 7-0

        approved second reading of policies DKB (Salary Deductions), JI (Student Rights and Responsibilities), and GBAA (Employee Racial/Sexual Discrimination and Harassment); vote was 7-0

        approved the purchase of property on East Black Street adjacent to the Central Child Development Center in the amount of $45,000 to be paid from the capital fund; vote was 7-0

        approved a gym lease at the Rock Hill Flexible Learning Center, January through April, to the Rock Hill Volleyball Club; vote was 7-0

        approved the recommended 2009-10 school calendar; vote was 7-0

recognized Judy Mobley, Rock Hill High principal, on her selection as Administrator of the Year by the S. C. School Counselors Assn.;

recognized the Rock Hill High School Band of Distinction as the 2008 South Carolina 5A Upper State Marching Champion and second place finish in the state. Representing Rock Hill High were Band Director Joe Gulledge, Asst. Director Randy Grantham, and Principal Judy Mobley.

heard Supt. Moody make the following announcements:

There has been a tremendous community response to our Back-the-Pack initiative introduced in October. We're continuing to receive food and money donations which will allow us to provide food for the elementary students who have little or no food to eat during weekends. Our only hope is that the Rock Hill community will continue to support this important program and that, at some point, we'll be able to extend Back-the-Pack to our middle and high school students.

When Business Week magazine published its second annual ranking this month of the Best Places to Raise Your Kids, Rock Hill beat out Charleston and Mount Pleasant to earn top honors in South Carolina. The magazine, which considered cities with at least 50,000 residents and a median family income between $40,000 - $100,000, looked at school performances, crime rate, air quality, job growth, and amenities. It cited Rock Hill's warm weather and "some of the best public schools in the state, as well as being the home to Winthrop University."

Rock Hill Schools, in partnership with the City of Rock Hill, will host a "dropout summit" on Thurs., Dec. 4, to serve as a call to action for our local community.  The summit will provide local businesses and individuals with information on the number of students who fail to receive their high school diploma and will lead to the development of local action plans. The summit, which is a part of a national call to action on behalf of the America's Promise Alliance, will be held from 8:00 a.m. until noon in The Palmetto Room in downtown Rock Hill.

        Representatives from Rock Hill Schools will also attend South Carolina's first-ever summit focused on reducing dropouts and increasing on-time graduation rates for the state's public schools on December 2 in Columbia.

The next Community Chat will be held on Wed. morning, Dec. 3, at Durango Bagel in the Millwood Shopping Center on Herlong Ave. Any citizen who wants to talk about the Rock Hill Schools can join the superintendent between 7:30-9:00.

All schools and offices will be closed for the Thanksgiving holidays, Nov. 26-28.

        All schools will be closed for the winter holidays, Dec. 22 through January 2.

The board work session on Dec. 8 will be held at 5:30 p.m. at The Children's School at Sylvia Circle.  On Jan. 12, the board will hold its work session at Belleview Elementary.

Mike Miller, from the Operations Research/Education Laboratory (OR/Ed.Lab) reviewed growth projections, current housing permits, and school capacity. Rock Hill Schools has  contracted with OR/Ed for the past six years to assist in determining the need for new schools or expansion of existing schools.

Associate Superintendent Harriet Jaworowski talked about the delay in the release of state report card information due to an error in the scoring of end-of-course tests given in middle and high school. Dr. Jaworowski stated that the projected release date will in January or February.

held an Executive Session for a property matter.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Northwestern Cheerleaders Finish 4th in State

Rock Hill's Northwestern High School followed up its second place upper state showing with a fourth-place finish Saturday in the 4A State Competitive Cheer Championships at the Bi-Lo Center in Greenville.

Summerville High School won the championship. The Green Wave put together an electrifying routine, receiving a standing ovation from many of the fans and fellow cheerleaders in the audience.

Summerville finished just ahead of Dorman and third-place finisher Mauldin.

Read the Spartanburg Herald's write up here.
4A scores

1. Summerville - 281

2. Dorman - 275

3. Mauldin - 265

4. Northwestern - 262

5. Dutch Fork - 253

6. Irmo - 251

7. Wren - 248

8. Lexington - 246

9. Boiling Springs - 242

10. Gaffney - 237

11. Hillcrest - 229

12. White Knoll - 229

13. Stratford - 220

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Gilmore and Neely Are Finalists for South Carolina Mr. Football Award

South Pointe's Stephon Gilmore and Northwestern's Jarrett Neely are finalists for the South Carolina Automobile Dealers Mr. Football of South Carolina.  The award will be given out during the 2008 BB&T Awards Program, 7:30 pm on December 12 at Myrtle Beach High School.

Other finalists are:

Mallicial Goodman, West Florence
Roderick McDowell, Sumter
David Sims, Calhoun County
D.J. Swearinger, Greenwood
Jamere Valentine, Myrtle Beach
Quinton Washington, Timberland

Friday, November 21, 2008

Rock Hill Education Awards Breakfast

The York County Regional Chamber of Commerce held their Education Awards Breakfast at The Connection on Friday, November 21, 2008.  Student leaders recognized were:

  • Michael "Ross" Baker from Northwestern High School
  • Asa Watson from Rock Hill High School
  • McKenzie Brannon from South Pointe High School
  • Holly Elizabeth Mosley from Westminster Catawba Christian School

Teachers of the year were:

  • Bryan Coburn from the Rock Hill Schools
  • Pat Blaney Bright from St. Anne Catholic School
  • Erin Barks from Westminster Catawba Christian School
  • Carol Lewis from Clinton Junior College
  • Dr. Martha Benn MacDonald from York Technical College
  • Dr. Michael Lipscomb from Winthrop University.

The crowd was entertained by the Northwestern High School Troubadours who sang two songs from their winter concert scheduled for December 4th and 5th.

The Unsigned Letter

Every now and then, the School Board will get an unsigned letter wanting to
make the Board "aware" of gross injustices in the District. I received one
of those this week. The writer chose to remain anonymous due to "fear of
retaliation" - Although they claimed to represent a sizable portion of the
school. This was a well written letter, and for sure, there is at least one
unsatisfied person at the school.

However, the board cannot take action from anonymous sources. Nor is it the
job of the Board to get involved until proper procedures have taken place.
There are policies in place to handle the situation that was described in
the letter and these should be followed with the board being the last
appeal - not the first. I feel for the person, but the procedures are there
for a reason and need to be followed. Schools need the opportunity to
correct any wrongs before outside intervention. If you don't trust the
system, you will not be satisfied with any outcome.


Thursday, November 20, 2008

Rock Hill Schools November Business Meeting Agenda For Monday, November 24, 2008

Meeting of the Board of Trustees

Monday, November 24, 2008

6:00 p.m. – District Office Board Room


I. Call to Order

Approval of Agenda

(Under consent agenda, all action items will be voted on after one motion and second to approve them without discussion. If a board member wants any action item discussed or voted on separately, the board member, before the agenda is approved, must ask that the action item be moved to the discussion item section.)

II. Citizen Participation

III. Special Business

A. Recognition of RHHS Principal Judy Mobley as Administrator of the Year by SCSCA

B. Recognition of RHHS Band of Distinction as Upper State Champions

IV. Consent Action Agenda

A. Approval of Minutes

1. October 27, 2008, business meeting

2. November 10, 2008 work session

B. Approval of Personnel Recommendations

C. Approval of Overnight Field Trip Requests (3)

D. Approval of 2009-10 School Calendar

E. Black Street Land Purchase


VI. Report of the Superintendent

A. Announcements

B. Growth Projection Update

C. State Accreditation and Report Cards

VII. Review of Work Session

VIII. Action Agenda

A. Use of Facilities Request – Impact Community Church

B. New High School Course Proposals

C. Approval of Policy DKB – 2nd Reading

D. Approval of Policy JI – 2nd Reading

E. Approval of Policy GBAA – 2nd Reading

F. Approval of Policy KF – 1st Reading

G. Approval of Policy KCA – 1st Reading

H. Approval of Policies IHBH, IJJ, ILBB – 1st Reading

I. Approval of Policies GCF, GDF – 1st Reading

J. Approval of Policies JFAA, JJ, JJI – 1st Reading

IX. Other Business

X. Executive Session

XI. Adjourn

Educators on WRHI's Straight Talk

Craig Craze, York Preparatory Academy Charter School was on WRHI's Straight Talk on Wednesday, November 19 to talk about a new Charter School starting next year. You can listen to the interview here.

Luanne Kokolis, Associate Superintendent of Planning for the Rock Hill Schools was on Straight Talk on Thursday, November 20 to talk about the programs that have been implemented to reduce the drop out rates. You can listen to the interview here.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Who Should Take AP/IB Classes

Jay Mathews, retired writer for the Washington Post, has a blog entry today about who should be allowed to take AP/IB classes. Jay has advocated for years that these classes should be open to everyone. His post today includes comments, pro and con, from teachers and students. It is worth the read. I don't know which way is correct. See what you think. The article can be found here.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Students Talk Back to Rock Hill School Board

Well...., not really. A group of student ambassadors discussed cell phone policy and virtual classes with the Rock Hill School Board Trustees at their November work session on November 10. Highlights:
  • 85% of students violate current cell phone policy
  • Harder the class and more demanding the teacher, the less likely you are going to be able to use a phone in class
  • Cheating not a big issue with phones but social text messaging is
  • Phones need to be banned from classroom, students need structure - although there needs to be some moderation. A lot of people use phones to tell time, to put items in the calendar (home work reminders for instance). It would be nice if phones could be used in "non" classroom times or at the end of each class. This would cut down on the amount of use during class.
  • Acceptable use of phones and technology is learned from parents. Have gotten very little guidance from schools on this issue (note: a lot of education technology supports suggest schools should be in the business of teaching proper use and not in restricting its use.)
  • There is a purpose for elementary, middle and high schools. Virtual classes should not be the first choice. All students should try conventional classes first and then use virtual classes after they have failed the traditional class or as a supplement to the regular class.
The students were; Sarah Matthews - Northwestern High School Student Body President; Jordan Cosper - Rock Hill High School Student Vice President; Yarheil Santa - Saluda Trail Student Ambassador; Rudi Raley - Rawlinson Road Middle School Student Body President; Hannah Maghsoud - Rawlinson Road Student Body Vice President; Nathaniel Brown - Castle Heights student ambassador.
Other items at the work session:
  • Bob Norwood, Walter Brown, Ann Reid, and Mildred Douglas were sworn in for another 4 year term of office
  • Bob Norwood was elected as Board Chair and Jim Vining was elected as Vice Chair
  • Phoenix Academy provided a tour of some of the "on-line" learning and several students spoke about their experiences.
  • There was a discussion about several items which will be on the November Business meeting - rental of Rawlinson Road Middle School Auditorium, new high school classes, and several board policy revisions
  • The proposed 2009-10 School Calendar was presented and will now be given to teachers and staff for comments. The development of the calendar was a joint effort of all York County School Districts.
  • The Board selected Ann Reid and Mildred Douglas as Delegates for the 2008 South Carolina School Board Delegate Assembly. Bob Norwood and Walter Brown were selected as alternates.
  • There was a brief discussion on EIA cuts and how that will impact the schools this year.
  • The Administration was asked to get financial numbers from the South Carolina High School League because they get 20% off the top of all tournaments, playoffs, and jamborees.

Tentative 2009 - 10 Rock Hill School Calendar Highlights

First and Last Days for Students       
August 18 for 6th & 9th Grades 
Aug. 19 for 5K-Gr. 5, Grades 7-8 & 10-12       
June 3 for Gr. 6 & June 4 for Other Grades     

Student Holidays
Sept. 7 for Labor Day  
Oct. 12 and 23* for Teacher Days       
Nov. 24 for Ninth Grade
Nov. 25-27 for Thanksgiving    
Dec. 21-Jan. 1 for Winter Break        
Jan. 15 for Teacher Day
Jan. 18 for MLK Birthday       
Feb. 15 for Presidents' Day*   
March 19 for Teacher Day*      
Apr. 2 and 5-9 for Spring Break        
May 31 for Memorial Day*       
Teacher Days
Aug. 3-7 for First-Year Teacher Orientation    
Aug. 10-11 New Teacher Orientation     
August 12, 13, 14, 17, & 18    
Oct. 12 & 23, Jan. 15, Mar. 19, June 4 
Open House     
High School —Sept. 14 & Feb. 1, 6:30-8:00 p.m. 
Middle School —Aug. 27, 6:30-8:00 p.m. 
Applied Technology Center —Sept. 15 & Feb. 2, 6:30-8:00 p.m.   
End of Grading Periods
Oct. 22, Jan. 14, Mar. 23, June 3      
Report Card Dates      
Oct. 29, Jan. 21, Mar. 30, June 3      
*Bad Weather Make-up Dates     
Oct. 23, Feb. 15, Mar. 19, May 31      

Rock Hill Schools Information for Wednesday, November 12, 2008

By Elaine Baker

Rock Hill High Principal Judy Mobley has been selected as Administrator of the Year by the S. C.  School Counselors Association. Judy and several members of her staff attended a banquet on Nov. 10 in Charleston where Judy "thought" one of her counselors was to be recognized.

Representatives from all York County school districts have agreed upon a proposed calendar for 2009-10.
-All York County school districts will have the same major holidays, including winter and spring breaks and Good Friday.

-A day in each month, Sept. through May, is set aside for either a holiday or teacher day.
-There will be a teacher day following three of the four grading periods.
-First semester will be 91 days long.
-All three graduations will, hopefully, take place on Saturday, June 5. This is yet to be determined, however.

Rock Hill High's wrestling team is having its second annual Boston Butt Bonanza on Nov. 21 and Nov. 22. The roasts will be prepared and ready for pick up in front of the main gym from 2:00-7:00 p.m. on Nov. 21 and from 7:00 a.m. until noon on Nov. 22. Orders will be taken until Nov. 18 by contacting Cain Beard, Ryan Whitmore, or Justin Williams at 981-1300. The cost of each roast is $25.

Northwestern Girls' Varsity Basketball Team will host a "Basketball for Poverty" tournament on Nov. 24 and 25, the proceeds of which will benefit local organizations which battle poverty. For tickets or more information, email Coach John Bramlett or call 981-1231.

Rock Hill High thespians, directed by Stephanie Daniels, will present The Good Times are Killing Me by Lynda Barry at 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 20 and Nov. 21.  Tickets are $5 and may be purchased at the door.  The play is about two 12-year-old best friends growing up in an interracial neighbor-hood during 1967.

Beverly Laney, choral teacher at South Pointe, is beaming with pride because two of her students have been chosen to participate in the national Honor Choir in Oklahoma City in March. Only six students from S. C. were selected.

The Applied Technology Center  will have a car show on Sat., Nov. 15, and they're seeking entries.

The current edition of Business Week cites Rock Hill as one of the "best places in the country to raise kids." It cites Rock Hill for its warm weather and some of the best public schools in the state, as well as home to Winthrop University.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Go to College After 10th Grade?

There is an interesting article in Time Magazine which talks about several states which are starting a testing program, similar to AP & IB tests which will allow students to graduate from High School and go to college. This has been one of the recommendations from The New Commission on the Skills of the American Workforce and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Northwestern High School Cheerleaders Make State

Northwestern High School Cheerleaders qualify for the state meet by placing second in the upstate. Read The Herald article.

Scores for those who qualified were as follows:

Mauldin 259

Northwestern 257

Boiling Springs 254

Gaffney 245

Wren 244

Hillcrest 240

Rock Hill Selected Best Place For Kids in South Carolina

Business Week Magazine has selected Rock Hill as the best place to raise kids in South Carolina for 2009. They had this to say about Rock Hill:

"Rock Hill, 20 miles south of Charlotte, N.C., has warm weather and some of the best public schools in the state. It is also home to Winthrop University, a four-year liberal arts college that was ranked the eighth-best public university in the Southeast by U.S. News & World Report in 2006."

Monday, November 10, 2008

Tips For Parent Teacher Conferences

You may want to ask the teacher:

Does my child participate in classroom activities?

Does he/she show self-control in school?

How does my child get along with others?

Can my child handle the learning materials of the grade?

Does she/he seem to enjoy reading in her/his spare time?

Is his/her reading comprehension suitable to his/her grade level?

How does my child read orally?

Does she/he know the number facts?

Can my child express thoughts and ideas clearly?

How is his/her written communication?

Does my child seem happy in school?

Is she/he accepted by other children?

You may want to tell the teacher: 

What your child’s strengths and weaknesses are.

Which school activities your child talks about at home.

What types of books your child reads at home.

What responsibilities your child handles at home.

If anything has happened lately at home which might affect your child’s performance at school.

Which classmates your child sees at home.

What are some of your child’s favorite activities outside of school.

How you discipline your child at home.

Remember, sharing information about your child with his or her teacher will help provide a learning program that will best meet the needs of your child.

KIPP Co-founder Pushes for National Standards

Mike Feinberg, co-founder of KIPP, suggests the new administration push for national standards and testing as well as public choice. Read his comments here. An excerpt:

"A stark achievement gap exists in public education today. Fourth-graders growing up in low-income communities are already three grade levels behind their peers in high-income communities. I saw this injustice firsthand when I began teaching in 1992 through Teach For America, and the experience continues to fuel my determination to improve education in this country."

"Pick a secretary of education committed to accountability and public school choice: When Obama picks his Cabinet, he will make a strong statement about the direction of his administration.

President-elect Obama should pick a secretary of education who deeply understands the issues of funding and accountability on the federal, state and local levels, and who is passionate about student achievement and growth. Having one national test with one rigorous set of national standards will ensure our children can compete in the global marketplace as well as help parents know how well their children are progressing in school."

"Focus on the early years: Even in this time of economic uncertainty, we need to make critical investments in pre-K and early childhood education.
In his recent book Whatever It Takes, New York Times Magazine editor Paul Tough notes that by age 3, children in low-income communities have been exposed to 20 million fewer words than their more affluent peers. By providing a language-rich learning environment at an early age, schools can offset this gap and give children the tools they need to succeed."

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Rock Hill's Hannah Robinson Wins SC 4A Cross Country Championship

Rock Hill High School's Hanna Robinson won the Girls South Carolina 4A Cross Country Championship on Saturday. You can read about the race here. Hanna is the Daughter of Mr. & Mrs. Joe Robinson. One of Hanna's grandfathers was the long time minister of the Rock Hill First ARP church and her other grandfather was the long time Human Resource Manager of Bowater Carolina.

Student Rights ?

An education blog, "From the Trenches of Public Education", has an interesting discussion on how student rights are affecting the learning environment. It is worth a read. You can read it here.

Some excerpts:

"As Philip K. Howard said in his book, The Death of Common Sense, the courts' interpretation of students' rights has done more damage to public education than anything else in the last 40 years. (I wonder how many of the Supreme Court justices responsible for making the most important of those decisions sent their kids to public schools.) If we really want to make significant improvement in public education, especially in schools that are doing poorly, we are going to have to re-think the concepts of "the right to an education" and student rights in general."

"Education should not be considered a right. A "right" is something that government should not be able to take away from you, not something government is obligated to give you. As Philip K. Howard says, education is not a right, but a benefit provided by a democratic society. I believe that our democracy should provide education, but there are going to be a lot of places where we can't do it effectively as long as we look at it as a right."

Saturday, November 8, 2008

SC High School Football 2008 4A Playoff Brackets are Posted

The South Carolina High School League has released their 2008 4A Football playoff brackets - and in a move that only a League "junkie" can explain, South Pointe High School, arguably the best 4A Division II team, is seeded third, behind Northwestern and Conway. This means that Northwestern, the number one seed, will play all their games at home (assuming they win) until the championship game in Clemson on Friday December 5 at 8:00 PM. South Pointe will get at least two games at home before having to possibly travel to Conway. The interesting part is that South Pointe and Northwestern could end up playing against each other for the State Championship in Clemson. Download the playoff schedule here. Northwestern will play York and South Pointe will play West Florence this week.

In the Division I bracket, formerly called "Big 16", Rock Hill is seeded 7th and will play the first playoff game at home and then will probably travel to Irmo for a second round game. The good news is that Rock Hill is not in the same bracket as Dorman or Byrnes and stands a good chance at making it to the championship game in Clemson on Saturday December 6 at 3:00 PM. You can download a copy of the playoff schedule here. Rock Hill will play Ft. Dorchester this week.

Dalton Sherman

A remarkable speech by a 10 year old boy to a group of Dallas Teachers

Friday, November 7, 2008

Rock Hill School Board November Work Session on November 10, 2008

SCHOOL BOARD WORK SESSION                              
LOCATION:       The Phoenix Academy                    
START:  5:30 p.m.                              
DATE:  November 10, 2008                                                       
        Dinner - Cyber Café             5-5:30 
WORK SESSION - Cyber Café                      
1       Swearing in of Board Members    Don Harper      15 minutes     
2       Election of Officers    Lynn Moody      15 minutes     
3       Presentation by Phoenix Academy Walter Wolff    30 minutes     
4       Student Perspectives on Cell Phones, High School Choices        Superintendent's Student Advisory Council       45 minutes     
5       Rental of RRMS by Impact Community Church       B. Vaughan / Mike Lowery        15 minutes     
6       Policy KF - Use of Facilities   Bill Mabry      15 minutes     
7       Minor Policy Changes Suggested by SCSBA:                   KCA, IHBH, IJJ/IJJ-R, IKE-R, ILBB/ILBB-R, GCF, GDF, JFAA, JJ, JJI    Lynn Moody      10 minutes     
8       Proposed 2009-10 School Calendar        Elaine Baker    15 minutes     
9       New High School Courses Sheila Huckabee 15 minutes     
10      Certification of Delegates for 2008 Delegate Assembly   Board Chair     10 minutes     

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