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Saturday, May 30, 2009

Rock Hill Schools Graduation Attendance Expectations

The three Rock Hill Schools will have graduation on Saturday, June 6, 2009. Attendance expectations will be as they have been since 1999, the first year I participated as a member of the Board of Trustees. These are posted on the district web site ( Graduation Expectations ), are printed on each ticket required for entry (Rock Hill High and South Pointe tickets are on the left), and will be read at the beginning of the graduation ceremony. Never-the-less, there will always be a few who prove they are descended from a lower form of life. Since 1999, I'd say about 0.1% of those attending have disrespected the decorum (pretty good by today's standards). There was negative publicity when we first implemented these expectations and then again last year when radio entertainer Rush Limbaugh took up the cause for the "rebel rousers" (click here for those comments: Rush Comments). I hope Rush didn't have all the facts - Civil disobediance has never been one of my conservative values.

Northwestern High School Jazz Band Entertains Glencairn Garden Crowd

The Northwestern High School Jazz Band entertained guests to the 50th anniversary event of Glencairn Gardens - a newly renovated and expanded Glencairn Garden. The video has a clip of; the band; a shot of the Rock Hill Herald's award winning photographer, Any Burris with Gary Williams and; Harold Peeples, Lynn Young, and Judy Tuttle selling hotdogs and cokes ($0.25 and $0.10) at 50 year ago prices.

School Folders

I'm passing this along as a possible resource for PTO's. You can find the School Folders site by clicking here.

Thursday, May 28, 2009


ESPN Rise has named Northwestern High School's Ricardo Garbanzo (soph., forward) as their National Player of the week.

"Garbanzo's two goals propelled Northwestern past Irmo (Columbia, S.C.) for the Class 4A state title and the FAB 50 No. 1 ranking. The talented sophomore is considered a Division I prospect for the Class of 2011."

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Rock Hill Foreign Language Program Makes National Magazine

Lynn Fulton sends in this information: "In it’s April edition, The Language Educator (a national language magazine published by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages) highlighted unique programs schools and districts around the country have created and use to promote language learning and inform their communities about the importance a second language plays in each of our daily lives. Rock Hill ’s Mailbox Banner Campaign was among the four programs highlighted. This campaign is one of the ways we celebrate Discover Languages month each February.

With a subscription base of more than 12,000 educators, I am proud that a program now in it’s third year, has been recognized as innovative and shared with so many people around the country and the world. I hope you will take the time to read the article below – visit The Language Educator website at "

do you inform a community about the importance of language learning quickly and easily? Through a “Mailbox Banner” Campaign!

The cornerstone activity during Discover Languages Month in Rock Hill School District in Rock Hill, SC is such a campaign. It began last year when the number of schools implementing the district FLES [Foreign Language in the Elementary Schools] program grew from five to 12. We saw a need to show the community just how many students were studying another language at school since the program expansion had happened quietly and without much promotion in the community. Remembering a photo in the 2005: The Year of Languages photo gallery of other students highlighting the languages they were learning was the inspiration—and we thought it was the perfect vehicle to spread the word about the elementary language program.

This year, with the program established in all 17 elementary schools, more than 5,000 third, fourth, and fifth grade students took home brightly colored banners and hung them on their mailboxes, front doors, or front windows. The banners proclaim that “A student learning [French/German/Spanish] lives here!” We approached an office supply store and were successful in getting them to donate the paper for the banners, then we used another source to copy the banners.

The students pictured here, fifth graders from Richmond Drive Elementary School, have been hanging up these banners for three years now and are excited when the banners go home each year. While designed to only stay up through the month of February, many students continue to display them as the school year continues.

But the campaign was not limited to just students. Faculty and staff at all the elementary schools also received banners to take home and post as well, telling the community that students in their schools are learning another language. We anticipate that next year the program will also expand to involve all middle and high school language students—further emphasizing the importance of language learning in the district.

Lynn Fulton-Archer is president of the Southern Conference on Language Teaching (SCOLT) and world language specialist at Richmond Drive Elementary School in Rock Hill, SC.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

National Champions - Northwestern High School Boys Soccer

ESPNRise has a good recap of Saturday's Championship game between Northwestern High School and Irmo High School. You can read the report by clicking here.

A lot has been written about this year's Northwestern team - I'll not attempt to do justice to it here - but to say - this team has all the makings of a Disney Movie - what a great story and collection of individuals - and representatives of Rock Hill.

For those soccer want-a-bees, I found this video of the Martinez brothers on youtube. It should give you something to work toward.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Welcome to Rock Hill

Rock Hill's South Pointe High School to Host Independence High School on September 4

The Charlotte Observer is reporting that South Pointe High School and Independence High School have agreed to a two year home & home series. The first will be played at South Pointe on September 4 with South Pointe playing in Charlotte in 2010.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Game Day Report - Irmo Vs. Northwestern

ESPN Rise has a good summary of today's National Championship Game. You can read it by clicking here

Friday, May 22, 2009

Rock Hill School News For Friday, May 22, 2009

  • Northwestern High School Orchestras, directed by Marsha Gross, will perform in concert at 7:30 pm May 28 in the school auditorium - to include rock anthems by Jimi Hendrix and Metalica.
  • Art educator Gina Santucci and India Hook Elementary will present an "Evening of the Arts" from 6-8 pm on May 28.
  • Rock Hill Schools will sponsor a blood drive from 9:00 am until 12:45 pm on Friday, June 5, in the District Office Board Room, for the Community Blood Center of the Carolinas.
  • The Rock Hill High Band Boosters will sponsor a golf tournament at 1:30 pm on Tuesday, June 9, at the Waterford Golf Club. Any team that contains a band parent or teacher (at any school) can play for $250 instead of $350. Contact Joe Gulledge
  • The Brett Ringer Memorial Golf Tournament, sponsored by Rock Hill High School, will be held on June 26 at Pinetuck Golf Course.
  • Congratulations to Northwestern's AFJROTC instructors, Col. Ozzie Ahl and Chief Johnny Neal, on their designation by the Air Force as "Outstanding Instructors" for the second consecutive year.
  • Hats off to Laney Burris, coordinator of school safety and risk management, who has been recognized by the S. C. School Boards Insurance Trust for her chemical/biology laboratory inspections and the "Help Me Help You" program. As a result of Laney's efforts, the district has qualified for a 5 percent credit on its Workers' Compensation premium for 2009-10.The district also made SCSBIT's Risk Management Honor Roll.
  • The Northwestern Jazz Combo, directed by Mark Yost, will perform from 11until noon on Saturday, May 30, in Glencairn Garden in celebration of the garden's 50th anniversary.
  • South Pointe will host a Youth Basketball Camp for children ages 7-14 the mornings of June 15-18.
  • Students and staff at Sullivan will honor our military on May 26 in the school auditorium. "America's White Table" will be presented in two assemblies, 9:30-10:30 and 12:30-1:30.
  • Rock Hill's high school graduations, along with others in the county, will be televised "live" on Cable 18. Look for Northwestern High Schools at 10 am, South Pointe High Schools at 2 pm, and Rock Hill High Schools at 6 pm on June 6.

Stallion Basketball Camp

June 15-18

South Pointe High School Gymnasium

(803) 980-2156

“Building a Winning Tradition”

Your Camp Fee Includes:

· Individual Instruction

· The opportunity to improve your basketball skills in a high-school practice environment

· 12 hours of on court fundamental instruction

· Camp T-shirt

· Daily door prizes


The camp is designed to teach the individual the fundamental skills of basketball. The camp session will emphasize the basic fundamentals common to all players regardless of position. The camp will consist of 12 hours of on court instruction as well as shooting contests, dribbling contests and other basketball related contests.


The camp is open to kids ages 7-14. The sessions will run from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

Camp Necessities:

Bring basketball shoes, socks, shorts, towel, and an eager attitude to learn basketball.

Arrival and Departure:

Campers should arrive at 8:45 am and sessions will end promptly at noon. Campers should arrive at the gym through the outside gym doors.


Make Checks payable to: South Pointe High School Athletics

$50.00 per Camper Mail Registration and tuition: Dwayne Hartsoe

South Pointe High School

801 Neely Rd.

Rock Hill SC 29730

Stallion Basketball Camp


HOME ADDRESS________________________________SHIRT SIZE___________

EMERGENCY PHONE NUMBER_________________________PARENT/GUARDIAN__________________

This signed statement certifies that my child is medically clear to participate in the Stallion Basketball Camp. I understand that South Pointe High School or the Stallion Basketball Camp Staff will not be held responsible for injury that should occur during the camp. I also understand that South Pointe High School or the Stallion Basketball Staff will not be responsible for campers before or after the camp sessions.

PARENT/GUARDIAN SIGNATURE____________________________DATE_________

I also understand that all medical bills incurred while participating in the Stallion Basketball Camp are the responsibility of the Camper’s family.

South Carolina Senate President Pro Tempore Glenn McConnell Responds To Governor Sandord

Columbia, SC - May 21, 2009 - South Carolina Senate President Pro Tempore Glenn McConnell issued the following statement in response to Governor Mark Sanford’s lawsuit:

Governor Sanford says this court case is about the “balance of power.” The truth is that this case is about his power. The Governor wants more of it, and he’s willing to trample over states’ rights to get it. He has run to the federal courts asking them to reinterpret our state Constitution so as to give him powers not granted to him by the people of South Carolina. While we have debated the 10th Amendment, little did we know the Governor was conspiring to ride over it in the federal courts.

For seven years Governor Mark Sanford has worked tirelessly to increase his power and the scope of South Carolina’s executive branch of government. While working to centralize power under one individual, the Governor has continuously attacked the General Assembly for what he describes as liberal tendencies. Never before have I witnessed such hypocrisy as I did today when Governor Sanford asked a federal judge to usurp South Carolina’s rights.

Whether the stimulus money should have been appropriated by the United State Congress was a federal matter. But the question of separation of powers involves the duties of the executive and legislative branches of government as prescribed by the South Carolina Constitution. As such, the rightful arbiter is the South Carolina Supreme Court. Either he is fearful of a South Carolina court ruling or he is playing to a national audience.

I disagree with Congress’ stimulus plan, but I know that it’s fiscally irresponsible to let South Carolina tax dollars go to other states while we struggle to fund education and public safety at appropriate levels. We have received clarification from the United States Department of Education that if we do not formally apply for the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund Program by July 1st, our stimulus funds will be allocated to other states. Governor Sanford’s move may ensure that our tax dollars will be caught up in legal proceedings for what could be up to two years. He may have finally found a way to send our tax dollars to New Jersey, New Hampshire, and Michigan. Governor Sanford’s lawsuit is an irresponsible move that tramples on the South Carolina Constitution and the future prosperity of our taxpayers.

South Carolinians need to know that Governor Sanford has already politically left this state, sometimes physically, but always mentally. This is just another press stunt to put him on the front page of the Wall Street Journal and in front of Fox News cameras. Governor Sanford’s presidential aspirations and hunger for power are so strong that he is willing to put South Carolina’s future at risk. This lawsuit is a gift that keeps on giving – giving the Governor out-of-state headlines and giving South Carolinians uncertainty and discord.

As the elected voice of South Carolina’s taxpayers, the General Assembly has stated that Governor Sanford should now take all stimulus funds available for appropriation. Sadly, I believe that the end result of this lawsuit may be that on July 1, the people of South Carolina will be left with nothing but the bill.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Ashley Shepard Named To Academic Team

RALEIGH, N.C. - Senior gymnast Ashley Shepard, from Rock Hill, SC and Northwestern High School - had a 4.0 GPA throughout her four years of college and was the third straight Wolfpack gymnast to be NC State's valedictorian - earning honors as a CoSIDA Academic All-District At-Large First-Team. She was named to the second team last year.

Shepard also earned an NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship and was named EAGL Scholar-Athlete of the Year.

Rock Hill School Board Tables Technology & Operations Bond

The Rock Hill School Board met for the May Business meeting on Monday, May 18, 2009 at the District Office. The Board approved the consent agenda (minutes and field trip) with a 7-0 vote. The personnel report was passed with a 7-0 vote after it was taken out of the consent agenda for an explanation on why some vacancies were being filled. In a surprise move, the Board tabled the $5 million bond for technology and operations (vote was 7-0) because there was not adequate explanation for why the money needed to be spent next year. The Board has traditionally rubber stamped this request but current economic conditions have forced the Board to review all expenditures.

The administration presented their proposed budget for next year. After some discussion, the board requested the administration to cancel the public presentation of the budget scheduled for June 8 because more work was needed.

In other business:
-the Charlotte Observer All-Star Scholars were recognized. They were;Enzo Martinez and Sarah Matthews from Northwestern High School; Laura Arthur and Justin Call from Rock Hill High School; and Sarah Ann Boyd and Nicholas Graham Tuttle from South Pointe High School.
-the World Champion Drum Rollers from Rock Hill High School were recognized.
-Bryan Coburn, South Carolina Teacher of the Year, was recognized and he made a few comments (promising to return after his one year term is up)

The following announcements were made:
-the district retirement dinner will be on Friday, May 29. 34 employees will be honored.
-summer school information is available on the district web site.
-high school graduation will be on June 6
-the student engagement conference will be June 16&17 at Dutchman Creek Middle School.
-40 vendors were at the summer fare held at the Cotton Factor. Special thanks to Williams & Fudge and Family Trust for organizing.
-the district participated in the Dolly Parton Imagination Library "bowl-a-thon" this past Saturday. The event raised over $20,000.

The administration made a presentation on the progress of the Sunset Park Center for Accelerated Studies. They have a 54% gain in student enrollment.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

It's Irmo Vs. Northwestern For National Championship - What Could Be Better?

When have the top two teams in the nation (ESPN Rise, NSCAA/adidas National Rankings) ever played for the South Carolina High School Championship - in any sport? Well, it's happening Saturday, May 23rd, 7 PM in Columbia South Carolina's Memorial Stadium when the Irmo Yellow Jackets, with their #2 National Ranking, take on The Northwestern Trojans and their #1 National Ranking. This is the match folks have been talking about since the two played in last years Upper State Championship Game. Shouldn't this game be on TV?

Why Irmo Will Win
  • Coach Phil Savitz. This 27 year veteran and 15 time state champion is an Icon in South Carolina. His teams are a reflection of him and this is a drought (no state crown since 2004) he sorely wants to stop. His team will be at their prime for the state championship game, a game Coach Savitz has literally owned since Boys Soccer was added as a sport.
  • Smash Mouth "football". Irmo will come out and pop you right in the face at the first kick, try to intimidate you and get you off your game. They are also very talented, with 4 all state performers (Midfielders; Zach Acree, JR,; Leo Mukofsky, SR, Forwards; Kyle McEwan, SR,; Taylor Varney, SR,)
  • Playing on a football field. The smaller field plays right in to their style of play, very physical. Their home field is also a football field.
  • Tradition. With 15 state soccer championships, Irmo rules the stat books. Reportedly, last years senior class was the first to never win a state championship. This years class is determined they will not be the second. The team traditionally dyes their hair yellow during playoffs - another point of intimidation. Irmo has never lost to Northwestern in a state championship game (2 - 0)
  • Home Game. Irmo is just 15 miles down the road.
  • All Soccer Officials and Referees live in Irmo. Probably not true, but after Irmo defeated Northwestern in the 2004 championship game on a questionable penalty kick - the belief is real in the upstate.
Why Northwestern Will Win
  • Experience. This is Northwestern's sixth trip to the championship game in the last 7 years. They have won the championship 2 of the last 3 years. They are used to the environment and know what it takes. Since Coach Dom Wren took over the program, the team has always gone to the championship game.
  • Enzo. That's Enzo Martinez. A complete, unselfish player - 4 time player of the year. Might be the best player to ever play in South Carolina high school soccer
  • Fan Support. Northwestern will bring a crowd, negating Irmo's "home field" advantage.
  • Supporting Cast. Northwestern also has 4 on the all state team; (Defenders; Robbie Benson, SR,; Sean Ferguson, SR, Midfielders; Alex Martinez, JR, Forwards; Enzo Martinez, SR,)
  • Coaching Staff. Loaded with international experience. This team knows the game.
What a great event this will be for South Carolina Sports.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Dr. Lynn Moody on WRHI's Tuesday Straight Talk, Dr. Silverman on Friday's Show

Rock Hill School Superintendent Lynn Moody was on WRHI's Tuesday Straight Talk show. You can listen to the archive of the show by clicking here.

Dr. Jason Silverman was on the show Friday, May 22, 2009. You can listen to the show by clicking here.

It's Not As Bad As You Were Told!

In addition to constantly telling you how bad South Carolina Education is, those same folks will tell you how bad the US Education is. Well, they distort those facts as well. A recent article: FACT CHECK: Are US students really that bad? By AP Education Writer LIBBY QUAID, sheds some light on this.

A sampling:

WASHINGTON – America's moms and dads are getting a good scolding: Your kids are lagging behind students all around the world.

The White House says so, with concern bordering on alarm. So do institutions such as the Gates Foundation, citing performance tests, graduation rates and other benchmarks.

But don't measure for dunce caps just yet.

While they're not in first place, U.S. students generally hold their own on international tests.


Obama says the rest of the developed world is passing America by. "Our schools continue to trail other developed countries and, in some cases, developing countries," he told the National Academy of Sciences on April 27. "Our students are outperformed in math and science by their peers in Singapore, Japan, England, the Netherlands, Hong Kong and Korea, among others."

That is not the whole story.


Obama's education secretary, Arne Duncan, says American kids don't spend enough time in school.

"Our children are competing for jobs against children in India and China today, and those children are going to school 25, 30 percent more than us," Duncan said at Brookings this past week.

Obama himself said in March: "Our children spend over a month less in school than children in South Korea every year. If they can do that in South Korea, we can do it right here in the United States of America."

The president is in luck: The U.S. already is doing it.


Helping more students finish college is a priority among the many philanthropies that work on education issues. In a December speech at George Washington University in Washington, D.C., the younger Gates said the U.S. problem is acute.

"In the case of college education, we were No. 1 in the world 20 years ago in the percentage of young adults with a postsecondary credential. Now we're number 10 and dropping," Gates said.

Obama said this in March: "In just a single generation, America has fallen from second place to 11th place in the portion of students completing college. That is unfortunate, but it's by no means irreversible."

The college figures come from various tables provided by the Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, which runs the PISA test of 15-year-olds.

But those figures are misleading for several reasons, said Cliff Adelman, a former Education Department researcher now at the Institute for Higher Education Policy.

_They are based on entire populations, not on what actually happens to students who enter college in a given year. Graduation rates in a large, growing country such as the U.S. will not look as good as those of a smaller country whose population is declining.

_No one disputes that the U.S. high school dropout rate, 1 in 4 kids and worse among minorities, is awful.

But as with other international comparisons, measuring the U.S. against the rest of the world is like comparing apples and oranges.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Northwestern High School Girls Track Team Second in State

A summary of Saturday's state track meet:

Good Afternoon Trojan Track Fans!!!

And a good afternoon it is! As I sit here typing this email, there is a bus heading up I-77 carrying the AAAA State Runner-ups (for the second year in a row) - the Lady Trojans from Northwestern High. I don't think the SC High School League awards a MVP in the State Meet, but if it did, A'Tyan Kennedy would have to be the odds on favorite in my book. A'Tyan, a senior, had a huge meet today: 1st Place 100 Meter Hurdles in a NHS School Record 14.43 seconds; 1st Place 400 Meter Hurdles in a NHS School Record 1:02.68, 6th Place in the 200 Meter Run 25.41 seconds (she was seeded 7th going into the race) and capped off her day by running the 1st leg on the 1st Place 4x400 Meter Relay Team which ran 3:55.25 (The school record in the 4x400 is 3:54.18 set in 2004 by the team of Tiayonna Blackmon (FMHS 2008) , Angelina Blackmon (NHS 2004) , Dishari'ck Howze (NHS 2004) & Tiaerra McLaurin (NHS 2005) - 4 tremendous athletes all of whom ran at NCAA Division 1 schools...SEC or ACC). Other members of the State Champion 4x400 Relay Team are: Nayna Gregory , Nicole Alexander , and Sharmaine Barnes .

Also, Kimberleigh Riggs repeated as State Champion in the Girl's Pole Vault by tying her own School Record of 11' 6"; Tenisha Stanley: 100 Meter Hurdles: 7th Place, 16.38 Seconds; Nicole Alexander: 400 Meter Hurdles: 4th Place, 1:06.26; Sharmaine Barnes: 400 Meter Dash: 5th, 58.96 Seconds; Kelia Shelton : Long Jump: 6th, 16' 8"; Felicia Mitchell : High Jump: 7th, 5' 0"; Marcie Gabrielle : Pole Vault: 6th, 9' 0" (on an ankle so swollen Coach Hudgins said he doesn't know how she ran down the runway!)

Team Scores went like this (and this is as close a track meet as you're likely to see!!):

1st: Dutch Fork with 62 Points.
2nd: Northwestern High School with 61.5 Points
3rd: Spartanburg with 61 Points
7th: Rock Hill High with 42.5 Points
13th: Fort Mill with 17.5 Points

On the boys side, Northwestern placed a respectable 8th place with only 3 individuals and 1 relay team representing the Trojans. Jarrett Neely led the guys efforts with his 2nd place finish in the Long Jump with a leap of 22' 7" - which moves him up the all time list to 5th Place, just ahead of York County Hall Of Famer, Sam Foster (NHS 1975) Cordarrell Patterson : 100 Meter Dash: 4th, 11.17 Seconds; Long Jump: 7th, 21' 8"; Patrick Cunningham : 400 Meter Hurdles: 3rd, 54.87 a time that moves him into 2nd Place All Time at NHS 1 spot ahead of NHS Assistant Coach Tre' Blake (NHS 2007). The Trojan 4x400 Relay Team placed 8th in 3:26.86.

Team Scores:
1st: Wando High School with 66 Points
2nd: Blythewood with 46 Points
3rd: South Pointe with 42 Points (and we beat them Head to Head during the season!)
9th: Northwestern High School with 22 Points
18th: Rock Hill, 14 Points
20th Fort Mill, 11.5 Points
28th: Clover, 7 Points

Former Trojans running at the State Meet:
Ceci Kryst (FMHS), Long Jump: 5th, 17' 0"; Triple Jump: 6th, 35' 9".
Quanika Blackmon (FMHS), 1600 Meter Run: 8th Place, 5:40.71.

Congratulations Everyone!!!!!!!


York County School Boards To Meet Tuesday, May 19, 2009

All Four York County School Boards (Rock Hill, York, Clover, Fort Mill) will meet on Tuesday, May 19, 2009 at Clover High School (Culinary Arts Room). The meeting will begin at 6:00 PM. Guest speakers will be Dr. Anthony DiGiorgio, President of Winthrop College and Dr. Gregory Rutherford, President of York Technical College.

For the last few years, the districts have met together on a quarterly basis to discuss educational issues facing York County Schools.

War on Public Education

If you doubt there is a well financed war on public education, you will change your mind after going to the web site Not as Good as You Think. They have an expensive video which claims public schools maintain an enemies list to keep parents in line. Chicken Little lives in the mind of these folks!

Decide for yourself:

Upper State Soccer Championship To Be a York County Affair

The South Carolina Upper State Boys Soccer Championship Game will be played Tuesday, May 19 at Northwestern High School when the Fort Mill Yellow Jackets visit for a third meeting with the Trojans. The game will start at 7:00 PM with the winner facing the lower state champion (either Wando or Irmo - #2 in nation) on Saturday night in Columbia, 7 PM at the Richland District 1 stadium. The SCSoccer web site had the following post about Northwestern's game last Saturday with Mauldin:

I traveled two hours to see Northwestern play Mauldin last night due to the respect I have learned for the team, the players, and the coach. What an impressive TEAM! They play soccer the way it should be played, aggressive, clean, all in, hungry. Enzo was everything I have heard and more, helping an injured Mauldin player off the field early on and then scoring 4 goals humbly. His brother was everywhere, and dominated the game. Every player did their job, and it was pretty obvious they aren't allowed to let down or play easy by their coach. There must have been 300 students, all well behaved, all positive along with the other 200 or so adults and Mauldin fans. What a show, Trojans!

Thanks for what you have built at NW. Best $5 I ever spent.

Coach Sumwalt

Whatever the outcome, this Northwestern team is something special. If you have not seen them play, this will be your last chance in Rock Hill. All sports fans will appreciate the atmosphere that will be present for this game.

Are You On The List?

Many South Carolinian's have already signed the petition to ask Governor Sanford to save the future of our state by taking the stimulus money. Have you? Take the time to send a message by going to the OurFutureSC Home page by clicking here. Thanks.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Why is Balancing The Rock Hill School Budget So Difficult?

This illustration shows why it is so difficult to balance the Rock Hill Schools Budget in a year where revenues will be down considerably. As you can see, Salaries are by far the biggest item in the budget. The only way to make a dent here is to reduce salaries (Furlough) or to eliminate jobs. We are eliminating jobs by not replacing folks who leave at the end of the year.

As you can see by this graph, most of the salaries go to Teachers.

Since these items go to the lowest bidder, it's doubtful there is a savings - unless you decide not to do maintenance or keep the schools clean - something no one on the board is thinking.

We have just started an energy management contract/system. Unless we want to turn off the heat and air conditioning, there is not much here to save.

I hope this gives you a better feel for why working on budget issues is so difficult. We all know there are savings here and there, but when you look at the budget from a distance, reducing people is the only way to make a significant dent when there is a major revenue shortfall.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Spratt Announces High School Art Winners

Spratt Announces High School Art Winners

See photos at this link:


WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. John Spratt (D-SC) announced today the winners of the annual high school art competition, An Artistic Discovery.


The contest drew 37 entries from 7 schools in the 5th Congressional District of South Carolina. Marie Cheek, Associate Professor of Art at Clinton Junior College, Rock Hill, judged this year's show. The Arts Council of York County co-sponsored the contest.


Spratt opened the exhibit at a public reception on May 3 at the Center for the Arts in Rock Hill. He was joined by Cheek and Debra Heintz, Executive Director of the Arts Council of York County.


"We are very proud to be part of this nationwide art competition, which provides Members of Congress an excellent opportunity to showcase the talents of their creative high school constituents and acknowledge our nation's gifted young artists," said Spratt, a member of the Congressional Arts Caucus.


"Since this competition was created in 1982, hundreds of high school students have participated at the local level. The first place winner will have their winning entry displayed at the U.S. Capitol for one year, and will be eligible for scholarship opportunities from the Savannah College of Arts and Design.


"This remarkable exhibit represents the combined efforts of the members who conducted these contests and the talented students who participated in this exciting competition," Spratt said.




First Place

Katherine Keener, Northwestern High School, Rock Hill

Title:  "Memories"

Medium:  Colored Pencil

Teachers: Kim Grant, Jessica Calloway, Sandra Queen


Second Place

Chelsea Walker, Fort Mill High School

Title:  "In the Darkness"

Medium:  Colored Pencil

Teachers: Judith Vokes, Susan Miller


Third Place

Ashley Adams, Northwestern High School, Rock Hill

Title:  "Teenage Snapshot"

Medium:  Colored Pencil

Teachers: Kim Grant, Jessica Calloway, Sandra Queen


Honorable Mention

Emily Varnadore, South Pointe High, Rock Hill
Brittney Olney, Rock Hill High
Emilia Munoz-Bowman, Rock Hill High
Jordan Hennings, Sumter High
Taylor Swiney, Rock Hill High


It's "Business as Usual" for Monday's Rock Hill School Board Meeting

The Rock Hill School Board will have its May Business Meeting this Monday, May 18, 2009. Please note this is one week early because of the Memorial Holiday on May 25. You can get a copy of the agenda by Clicking here.

The administration will be presenting their recommendation for the 2009-10 school year which remains unchanged - the board's recommendation for "equal sacrifice" at the work session last week went on deaf ears. In addition to a budget presentation, there will be an update on Sunset Park's GT school and there is one action item for approval of Technology and Operation bonds.

The agenda is below:

Meeting of the Board of Trustees

Monday, May 18, 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 Charlotte Observer All-Star Scholars

B. Recognition of RHHS “World Champion” Drumroll Achievement

C. Recognition of Bryan Coburn, S. C. Teacher of the Year

IV. Consent Action Agenda

A. Approval of Minutes

1. April 27, 2009 business meeting

2. May 4, 2009 called work session

B. Approval of Personnel Recommendations

C. Approval of Overnight Field Trip Requests (3)


VI. Report of the Superintendent

A. Announcements

B. Budget Proposal 2009-2010

C. Sunset Park Enrollment

D. 2009 Student Engagement Conference

E. School Supply List (Elem, Middle, High)

VII. Review of Work Session

VIII. Action Agenda

A. Technology/Operations Bonds 2009-2010

IX. Other Business

X. Executive Session – Property Matter

XI. Adjourn

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Sign Online Petition For Governor Sanford to Take Stimulus Money.

You can sign an online petition for the governor to take the stimulus package here. The House and Senate have sent a budget package to the Governor. He is expected to veto and the House and Senate will get together next week to try and override the veto. Local reps Shane Martin & Mick Mulvaney voted against the budget (they support Sanford).

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Teacher or Student Accountability

Another blog worth reading is from "A Passion for Teaching and Opinions"
It has to deal with accountability and is posted below. You can also access it here.

"Accountability now is just a way to make teachers accountable for things they have no control over. Accountability for teachers has stripped students of their own accountability."

This could be the single most true statement ever made about the status of modern education.

Pissed Off Teacher, a New York City veteran of over thirty years, told a story that most of us are familiar with, and none of the politicians will listen to.

You know the drill.

Harry goes to high school were he was a resource kid.

Harry was basically pandered to and was pushed through the system to graduation.

Harry did what Harry felt like.

Harry went to a community college.

Harry learned that professors could care less about what you feel like doing.

Harry asked Mom to go after the professors.

Harry learned that professors could care less about Mom too.

Harry eventually realized that an enabled, less accountable high school career bit him in the ass later on.

In the end, teachers are blamed for the accountability angle. I'm had my share of Harry's, who have actually failed my class. But my accountability was superseded by sneaky colleagues (not admin by the way) who overruled my grade and allowed the Harry's of the world to walk the stage, thus making the last lesson learned a bad one. I also remember being a sort of Harry, walking into my college career thinking that I could ease into it like high school. I almost didn't get to my dream of being a teacher until my collage advisor, Dale Steiner, basically told me that I was never going to teach if I didn't pull my head out of my ass. I did, and I pulled my act together to reach my goals. Notice, I said that I did both the slacking early on, and the hard work later to become a teacher. It was my own accountability, not the fault of the instructors or "the system".

But that's not the focus any more. The focus is the teachers. Since more and more students are failing high school, and less and less students are prepared for college, it must be the fault of the teachers because who is responsible for educating the Harry's of the world. Well, Harry is for starters. And society hasn't figured out that many of these students aren't being held accountable for the simplest of actions. Showing up should be a given. But time and time again the statistics show that attendance is a huge factor in academic progress. How are teachers supposed to control attendance? I have students moving, cutting, being taken out for cheerleading, sports, FFA, Drama, vacations, blood drives, band concerts, discipline............and I'm supposed to be accountable for this?

I will never take any politician seriously until they have the balls to tell parents "guess what, you are part of the problem", and start to make schools have the power to jack students out of the classroom that don't belong there. Want me to be accountable? Fine, let me hold students accountable without hearing about lawsuits, grade changes, and the importance of a three week Homecomings.

Otherwise, get ready for a lot more Harry's.

Blogger Comment Worth Reading

The "Voting Under The Influence" blog has an interesting post which all South Carolinian's should read. You can click here or just read below:

The South Carolina Bashing is Getting Old
Perhaps we have to blame Governor Sanford. After all, it was Governor Sanford and his pack of out of state carpetbaggers that started bashing South Carolina about eight years ago. They told us that our state legislature was filled with crooks and clowns. They told us our state government was racist and our schools were a dismal failure. They told us that opportunities were limited for people in South Carolina. Never before in the history of the state has a Governor and his backers seemingly thought so little of South Carolina and got elected and re-elected.

Part of it has to do with the clich├ęd pseudo intellectualism of the “in” class in both parties. Being proud of South Carolina’s natural beauty, its people, its accomplishments and its rich culture and history is frowned upon by the chattering classes. If a politician wants big money from out of state and wants to lock up the transplant vote, he has to talk about how bad South Carolina is and how things are done better elsewhere. On the Democratic side, self loathing seems necessary for South Carolina Democrats who want to appease the Obama Administration’s early strikes against Sanford.

There are problems to be dealt with in South Carolina. However, the success of South Carolina is ignored by the Governor and his opponents. There are several things to be proud of that get ignored.

South Carolina has an outstanding State Park’s system that showcases South Carolina’s beauty and rich history. I have seen other places. But, the view of Jones Gap from atop Ceaser’s Head and the view of a sunrise on Hunting Island are among the most beautiful natural scenes that there are. There are the Carolina Bays, the Congraree Swamp, along with the waterfalls of the upstate. There is the Harbison State Forest in the Midlands. There is the history at Rose Hill Plantation and Charlestowne Landing.

South Carolina has remarkable people as well. While there are writers, singers, artists, comedians, commentators, politicians and astronauts that call South Carolina home, it is the average South Carolinian that ought to be spoken up for. Over the years, I have been thousands of living rooms from Sunset in Oconee County to Bluffton on the coast and all points in between. Most of us are more alike than different. Rich, poor, black, white, Hispanic, it does not matter. By and large, South Carolinians are courteous, work to find a way to better their lives, and have the things that they are proud of on display in their homes. They are not stupid. They are not backwards and waiting for some politician to save them or their children. With the exception of some pockets of failure, most South Carolinians have their kids in public schools, and are proud of their kids and their school. They attend plays, recitals, ball games, and help with homework. They volunteer at ball games selling concessions, join the booster clubs and the PTO. Other South Carolinians give generously, even with meager means to their church and to charities. The people of South Carolina are generally a good people and they do not deserve the snake oil being sold to them by those who keep telling them how bad their lives are.

There are so many other good things to address about South Carolina, like the high tech jobs at BMW and other places in the upstate, the research done at Clemson and the University of South Carolina, and how a network of small colleges and technical colleges around the state make higher education a realistic goal for people of any age.

Over the past eight years perhaps no one in South Carolina has taken a harder hit than those in public education. We are told constantly that our schools are failing and are backwards. Reform in administration and curriculum is needed, but again, by and large, most teachers are hard working and dedicated to their jobs and get the job done. Frankly, most of South Carolina’s public schools do work. They turn out future doctors, lawyers, businessmen, nurses, police officers, fire fighters, soldiers, writers, artists and teachers. It is simple minded and ignorant of political activists to label public schools as a failure just because they choose to not let their children attend them or are paid by someone to attack public schools. The people who work hard to make their public schools work do not deserve that.

But, it is not about deserve. It is about big money from outside the state and national politics. I wish I could say that South Carolina will not get bashed anymore in the next few years, but chances are it is going to get worse. As it gets worse, chances are economic opportunities will decline. Part of the reason that Mark Sanford has not had a “BMW” type deal is because he runs down the state. It is hard to sell South Carolina as a place to come build a plant and live when the Governor himself calls education a failure and government broken and has his own paid for Greek chorus backing him up. (I wonder how many of the private school advocates will get that reference from a public school education.  )

Past Governors, Republicans and Democrats, and Republican leaders like Strom Thurmond and Floyd Spence always spoke well of the state, even if they wanted to change things. Not so in the Sanford era. Here is hoping that candidates for Governor in both parties dwell more on what is right about South Carolina and less about what is wrong. The South Carolina bashing is getting old.

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