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Saturday, February 28, 2009

Rock Hill Schools Releases Community Report

The Rock Hill School District has now posted the 2009 Community Report. It can be found on the districts web site by clicking here.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Rocky Mountain News Shuts Down

I'm a newspaper junkie. My family started and ran a home town paper, The Tryon Daily Bulletin, the worlds smallest daily. I have concerns about the future of the newspaper business and the impact their demise will have on cities. The Denver Rocky Mountain News has announced they will be shutting down since they have not found a buyer. The video below, although long, is posted on the paper's web site, and tells the story that is sometimes difficult to watch, for a newspaper junkie.

Final Edition from Matthew Roberts on Vimeo.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Rock Hill Schools Get Good Report From AdvancED Quality Assurance Review Team

The AdvancED Quality Assurance Review Team, led by Dr. Jacqueline Beery, made a brief presentation of their findings to the Rock Hill School Board at a special called meeting. The Review Team, consisting of; Dr. Beery, retired superintendent from Indiana; Ms. Mary Babb, retired Assistant Superintendent of Pickens County; Dr. Thomas Faulkenberry, Dean of the School of Education & Graduate Studies at Converse College; Ms. Judy Wesley, Field Consultant for AdvancED; Mr. A. J. Gappa, Superintendent of Schools for the Knox Community Schools in Indiana; Mrs. Linda Herman, Director of School Improvement for the Lumpkin County School System in Georgia; Ms. Deborah Wimberly, Director of Federal Programs for the Marlboro County School District; and Ms. Brenda Turner, Assistant Superintendent for Instructional Services for the School District of Pickens County.

Below is a brief summary of their findings:

District Strengths
  • Happy, self-disciplined students who feel and are valued and challenged
  • Warm, welcoming, and safe learning environment
  • Open door policy at both the district and school levels for all parents and patrons
  • Efficient use of district resources
  • District-wide commitment to professional development for all staff
  • Addition of administrative and instructional support staff
  • Strong system-wide professional learning communities
  • District commitment to communicating with its stakeholders through the use of a wide variety of media
  • Investment in instructional technology
  • Culture that encourages innovative, research-based programs to maintain student engagement and increase student achievement
  • Professional Code developed through an all-inclusive process that highlights putting students first, nurturing relationships, working together, growing professionally, and continuing to promote student success.
  • Highly qualified and nurturing faculty and staff who put students first
  • Community support as evidenced by active business partnerships and passage of the last 2 bond referendums
  • Strong administrative leadership that supports teaching and learning
  • Experienced, knowledgeable, and committed Board of Trustees that works cohesively without personal agendas
  • District priority of providing and maintaining excellent and equitable facilities
  • District's long-standing history of excellent fiscal management
  • Visionary and dynamic leadership of Superintendent Dr. Moody
  • Maintain current innovative programs during the current budget cutbacks
  • Maintain adequate facilities and highly qualified teaching staffs and fully licensed administrators to accommodate the growing student population
  • Provide additional professional development to address the instructional needs of the increasingly diverse population
  • Build capacity and understanding for the current district initiatives
  • Provide appropriately translated communications to parents
  • Complete the development of curriculum alignment, curriculum maps, and formative assessments.
  • Implement a systemic and systematic process for data-driven decision making to address the under-achieving subgroups
  • Provide training in the Model Strategic Planning Process at the district and school levels to facilitate continuous school improvement.
Accreditation Recommendation
  • The Quality Assurance Review Team recommends to the AdvancED Accreditation Commission that the Rock Hill Schools York County District Three be awarded District Accreditation as a quality school system!
  • Once reviewed and approved by the AdvancED Accreditation Commission, the district and all its schools are granted a 5-year term accreditation.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Feb. 23rd Rock Hill Schools Board Meeting Notes

The Rock Hill School Board took the following action at it's February Business Meeting on Monday, Feb. 23, 2009:

-approved the minutes of the Jan. 26 and Feb. 9 school board meetings; personnel recommendations; overnight field trip requests submitted by Northwestern and Rock Hill High; change in board meeting dates in April and in May; and approved financial and procurement audits for school year 2007-08; Vote was 7-0

-approved capital budget requests totaling $4.3 million. Included were repairs to the Rock Hill High and Northwestern High tracks, asbestos removal, paving, and roof repairs. Vote was 7-0

-approved the transfer of $3.1 million from the capital budget into the operating budget to help make up some of the current and expected funding shortfall from the state. Vote was 7-0.

-approved first reading of policies GCC/GCD (Professional Staff Leaves and Absences) and GDC/GCC (Support Staff Leaves and Absences). Vote was 7-0

In other business, the board;

recognized the 2009 South Carolina Class 4A Duels Wrestling Champions from Rock Hill High School;

recognized Family Trust Federal Credit Union for the four decorative banners which are now flying outside the front entrance of the district office and ATC students of Derrick Crenshaw, Tammy Harrelson, and Mark Dellinger who designed and constructed the new monument signage on the front lawn of the district office;


recognized the 30 newest National Board certifiers.

Want Better Grades? Have More Recess.

Monday's New York Times reports: "The best way to improve children’s performance in the classroom may be to take them out of it. New research suggests that play and down time may be as important to a child’s academic experience as reading, science and math, and that regular recess, fitness or nature time can influence behavior, concentration and even grades."

Read the full article here.

Order Tickets For The Rock Hill School District Foundation Gala

Annual "Showcase of the Arts"
Champion Donors
Family Trust Outback Williams and Fudge
The Rock Hill School District Foundation is proud to announce its signature fundraising event of the year. The Seventeenth Annual Showcase of the Arts features student art and talent from the district. Event proceeds go towards the Foundation Teacher Grants Program and other support of the district.
Outback Steakhouse contributes an exceptional dinner and guest will be treated to an evening of exciting entertainment from elementary, middle, and high school students across the Rock Hill School District Three.
"Showcase of the Arts"
March 5, 2009
6:30 PM
Rock Hill High School Gymnasium
Tickets $50.00
ATC Culinary Arts Department
Applied Technology Culinary Arts Students will prepare and serve appetizers
Elementary Honors Choir
First Performance from the Middle School Honors Choir
Spectacular Performances by Rock Hill High School
Art Department
Drama Department
Concert Choir
Keyboard Ensemble and Jazz Band
Gallery of Grants Display
Presentation of Superlative Grant Award Winners by Champion Donors
Tickets are on sale for $50.00 per person. Sponsorship packages are available through February 28, 2009.
To order tickets and for more event information on available sponsorship packages, contact Serena Williams at 803-981-1006 or email

Monday, February 23, 2009

Teen Health Center Fund Raiser

Help the Teen Health Center by going to the "Cotton Club". See below for details.

Richmond Drive Elementary Makes National Web Site

Dear Mr. Vining,

I thought you'd be interested to know that a photograph of the "Where Will Language Take You?" bulletin board at Richmond Drive Elementary School (seen below) is currently the "Feature Picture" on the "Discover Languages" web site . February has been designated as Discover Languages Month by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages. The "Discover Languages" campaign is a sustained campaign designed to raise public awareness of the importance of language learning and cultural understanding for all Americans. I hope you will take a few minutes to visit the site and learn more about the campaign.

Creating this bulletin board is only one of the activities we are carrying out this month to highlight our language program. Earlier this month one of the student videos from Richmond Drive was chosen as one of nine finalists in the elementary category of the ACTFL National Podcast Contest and then featured in an article in The Herald and in a story on CN2. Additionally, all of our 3rd-5th grade students recently took home and hung up brightly colored mailbox banners proclaiming that "A student learning another language lives here!"


World Language Specialist
Richmond Drive Elementary School

Picture of bulletin board now on the Discover Languages Web Site.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Rock Hill Schools Finances, Part II

An astute reader of District Three Education News pointed out that our "new" schools seemed to top the list of the most expensive schools to operate (maintenance and utilities). I had noticed this as well. The only explanation I can come up with is the new schools have more square footage under roof (and resulting HVAC) than the older schools because of a "mall" type design between wings of the school. Nevertheless, a quick check on cost per square foot should be done.

The 2007-08 cost of $10 million for utilities should go up about $900,000 because of our two new schools this year - making school utilities about 8.5% of the total budget for the 2008-09 school year. The good news is we expect our utility costs to go down because of energy saving projects that have been implemented this past year. The bad news is the savings will be going to pay for those projects - over the next 17 years.

In addition to utilities, there are other expenses to run our schools. Each school has at least one secretary and bookkeeper and some have receptionists. The total cost for this in our current budget is $3.6 million or 2.8%. Then we have nurses at $1.84 million (1.4% ), Testing and Program Coordinators at $1.9 million (1.5% ), elementary foreign language at $0.4 million (0.3%), English as a second language teachers at $0.34 million (0.3%), athletics at $0.31 million (0.2%), band at $0.17 million (0.1%), IB programs at $0.04 million and our elementary swimming program seems a bargain at $14,000. Totaling up these costs amounts to $5 million or 3.9% of the total budget.

Now we've accounted for about 12.5% of the budget. With 1221 teachers (2008 report card) at $73.2 million or 56.4% we can bring the total up to about 69%. School administration comes in at $10.7 million (8.3%), Student Transportation at $3 million (2.4%), Library and Media cost at $2.4 million (1.8%), Vocational Expense at $3 million (2.4%) and Special Ed at $7 million (5.5%) for a new total of around 89%.

If the numbers seem confusing - they are. The remaining 11%, or $14 million is spread over capital, operations personnel, school security, curriculum development, supplements (national board, athletics, department heads, extra duties ect.) and a dozen other accounts. But the bottom line is about $110 million (85%) of the budget goes to salaries and is directly tied to jobs, making cost cutting decisions much more difficult.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Northwestern High School Boys Soccer #1 in Country

An excerpt from :

"Northwestern is run like a professional club," coach Dominic Wren said. "We have a training facility. We have training equipment [not to mention a deal with Nike]. We have a director of soccer. We have a lot of support from the school and a good fan base."

Read the full write up here.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Rock Hill Schools February 23rd Business Meeting Agenda

Meeting of the Board of Trustees

Monday, February 23, 2009

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 Rock Hill High Wrestling Team

B. Recognition of Family Trust / ATC – Signage for District Office

C. Recognition of National Board Certifiers

IV. Consent Action Agenda

A. Approval of Minutes

1. January 26, 2009 business meeting

2. February 9, 2009 work session

B. Approval of Personnel Recommendations

C. Approval of Overnight Field Trip Requests (2)

D. Approval of Change in Board Meeting Dates

E. Approval of Financial and Procurement Audits


VI. Report of the Superintendent

A. Announcements

B. Federal Programs

C. Federal Stimulus Package

D. Mentoring Program

E. Saturday School Video

F. Academic Assistance Guide

VII. Review of Work Session

VIII. Action Agenda

A. Capital Projects (discussed at January and February Work Sessions)

B. Approval of Policies GDC/GDD, GCC/GCD – 1st Reading

IX. Other Business

X. Executive Session

XI. Adjourn

Some of the cost of operating schools

There are many variables in the cost of operating our school buildings; different power, water and sewer contracts; the style of the building (mall type vs old school traditional); type of heat and age of equipment. Below are some charts showing total cost (excluding salaries) for each school's maintenance and operations.

The total cost for operating our 3 high schools in the 2007-08 school year was $3.75 million or $729 per student.

Total cost for operating our middle schools in the 2007-08 school year was $2.72 million, or $701 per student.

Total cost for operating our elementary schools in 2007-08 was $3.53 million or $426 per student. Total for all schools is $10 million.

Rock Hill Schools Information for February 19, 2009

By Elaine Baker

This Weekend . . .
Performance by District Honors Orchestra
Saturday, February 21
7:30 p.m. in Sullivan Auditorium
Open to community—no admission

"Chance for Hope" Awareness Day
Saturday, February 21
South Pointe High School
Walk for Autism, 1:00-3:00 on the school track Student Talent Show, 7:00-9:00 in the auditorium
Sponsored by Early Childhood II students of Jenná Wilson at the Applied Technology Center

District Seeks Accreditation
Rock Hill Schools is seeking district-wide accreditation from the Southern Assn. of Colleges and Schools. An 81-page self-assessment report can be found on our website.

A team of 9-10 educators from outside the district will visit in Rock Hill Feb. 22-25 to determine if our schools pass the Quality Assurance Review. Team members will interview board members, teachers, administrators, support staff, and parents and will visit Independence, Old Pointe, Rosewood, South Pointe, Renaissance Academy, Central Child Development Center, Ebenezer Avenue, India Hook, Northwestern, Northside, Children's School, Dutchman Creek, and Sullivan. The district will learn if accreditation has been granted at a called board meeting at 1:30 on Feb. 25.

Honors Choir to Perform
To celebrate the coming of March, which is "Music in Our Schools Month," the newly organized Middle School Honors Choir will present its first concert at 2:00 p.m. Feb. 28 in the auditorium at South Pointe. The choir is comprised of auditioned students from all five middle schools. Guest conductor will be Randy Imler, associate professor at Winthrop University. In lieu of an admission fee, donations to support the continuation of the Middle School Honors Choir will be accepted.

Emergency Notices

When the district needs to make a special announcement, such as closing or delaying school, it will place the announcement in red on the front page of our website. This new technology tool will only be seen when there is a message that needs to be announced!

Due to state testing, the March 11 late start day has been cancelled.

At 6:30 p.m. on Feb. 23 the Applied Technology Center will host its annual FAFSA night. (The FAFSA form must be completed for seniors to receive financial aid and scholarships for college.) Parents should bring their completed 2008 tax returns and additional financial paperwork. For details or to register, call Paula Hobbs at 981-1199

Math and science departments at Sullivan Middle School will host "Family Science and Math Night on Thurs., March 5, from 6:00-7:30. Science and math teachers will offer hands-on activities for families to complete together that are tied to S.C. standards, share information about the PASS test with parents, and Rex Smith will present a session in the auditorium titled "Brain Freeze."

The choral department at Rock Hill High School is planning "Eat to the Beat," a dinner and performance at 6:30 Saturday night, Feb. 28, at Neely's Creek ARP Church. For $15, patrons will enjoy a delicious dinner and a 30-minute program of light music presented by the Concert Choir. For tickets, contact Mary Ann Helton, choral director, by the close of the school day on Feb. 23.

Enrollment for 4-, 5-, and 6-year-olds for school year 2009-10 will begin Feb. 23.

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