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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

View SC Superintendent Candidate Debate Replay

View the debate hosted by SCSBA between candidates for state superintendent of education during our School Law Conference this past Saturday.

The debate featured Democratic nominee Frank Holleman and Republican nominee Mick Zais. SCSBA Executive Director Paul Krohne served as moderator.

To view the debate, which lasted about one hour, click  here.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Saturday, August 28, 2010

South Pointe Coach Featured in Charleston Newspaper

Watson still teaches the game he loves

The Post and Courier
Sunday, August 22, 2010

Melvin Watson never dreamed of playing in the NBA.
Sure, the former Burke High School basketball star and South Carolina All-American would have loved to have had a long NBA career and reap millions of dollars as a result. But growing up on the playgrounds of downtown Charleston, Watson was realistic about his chances for NBA fame.
"Guys like me, guys 6-0 or 6-1, are a dime a dozen," Watson said with a grin. "I knew that making the NBA would be a longshot. That was never my ultimate goal. I mean, if things worked out and I played in the NBA, great, but I always knew that there was more to my life than playing basketball."
OK, so Watson is still tied to the game he loves. He works as an assistant basketball coach at South Pointe High School in Rock Hill.
While with the South Carolina Gamecocks, Melvin Watson was second-team All-SEC in 1997 and 1998.
"I used basketball to get an education," Watson said. "I knew that I wanted to stay connected to the game, but growing up my mother stressed academics. I had three uncles who were good basketball
players and they all went to college and a degree. That was my goal."
Watson graduated from South Carolina with a degree in retail management and is working on getting his masters in education so he can become a full-time teacher. Along with being an assistant basketball coach at South Pointe, Watson works as an "academic coach" with students.
"I'm about a year away from my masters," Watson said. "I help kids out that are having trouble with their core courses. It's something that I think is important."
It's not like Watson didn't have a professional basketball career. He played six seasons in Europe, mostly in Belgium, before injuring his knee in 2003.
"It was the greatest experience of my life," Watson said. "I got to go to Spain, Italy, Germany, Russia, all over Europe. I saw an entirely different part of the world and met so many people. My family was able to come out and see a lot of Europe as well, and that would have never happened if I wasn't playing basketball."
Despite leading Burke to two Class AAA state title games, Watson was not highly recruited coming out of high school.
"Alabama was the only Division I school that was really interested," Watson said. "I was going to go to junior college at Spartanburg Methodist and take my chances from there."
Rev. Dallas H. Wilson, a local minster, suggested prep school. One season at Winchendon (Mass.) Prep School got Watson the exposure he needed.
"I can't thank Rev. Dallas enough for what they did for me during my career," Watson said. "He really pushed me to go to prep school, and that was the best decision I made."
Watson received more than a dozen scholarship offers and eventually picked South Carolina over Georgetown and Syracuse.
"When Georgetown and Syracuse recruited me, it was all about basketball," Watson said. "When coach (Eddie) Fogler talked to me it was mostly about academics, and that's what got my attention. It was important to him that I get my degree."
The highlight of Watson's career came during his junior season when the Gamecocks went into Rupp Arena and beat Kentucky on national television.
"We'd beaten them earlier in the year at home and I don't think anyone gave us a chance to beat them up there," Watson said. "Coach (Rick) Pitino was still there. They had a great team, but we found a way to beat them and win the regular season. It was a great day."
Watson finished his career as South Carolina's all-time leader in games started (116) and career assists (543). He was fourth in steals (194). Watson ranks 14th all-time in South Carolina history with 1,424 points.
Last March he was recognized as an SEC Legend during the league's basketball tournament.
"It was a humbling experience," Watson said.
His ultimate goal now is to coach at the collegiate level.
"I like high school and love working with the kids, but I want to be on the college level," Watson said. "Being around the tournament last year really made me want to get back to the college level."

Friday, August 27, 2010

Rock Hill School News For Friday, August 27, 2010

1 School
Toyota, Scion, and Toyota Scion of Rock Hill have teamed up to give away up to $10,000 to Rock Hill Schools through a Facebook competition now under way. All district employees (and everyone they know) can help our schools win the full amount. The good news is that high schools will only compete against high schools, etc.
The district fundraiser on August 21st on the campus of the Applied Technology Center and at the Operations Center raised close to $60,000. Yard sale profits ($8,100) will be kept by the schools while silent auction ($7,500) and public auction ($44,000) proceeds will go into the district fund balance to use where needed most.

Dr. Lynn Moody will hold four "Teachers Only" breakfasts during the school year and five "community chats." The first breakfast will be
held on Oct. 19, and a teacher from each school will be invited. Community chats will be hosted in each middle school, and Castle Heights will host the first chat on September 23.

Donatos Pizza on Herlong will give Rock Hill Schools 15 percent of their sales between the hours of 4:00-8:00 every Wednesday.

Rock Hill High School will host the American Red Cross bloodmobile on Friday, Sept. 3. between 9:00-1:00.

The Rock Hill Utilities Department gave the Phoenix Academy a $200 donation to help students. Director Walter Wolff says the guests
enjoyed learning about the Academy and were amazed by the history timeline of Rock Hill Schools in the main hall.

The South Pointe Band of Thunder will host a pancake breakfast at Fatz Cafe on Saturday, Aug. 28 from 8:00-10:00. Tickets, which can be
purchased at the door, will be $7 for adults and $4 for children age 11 and under. Proceeds, including tips, will benefit the band program.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

An Interesting Way To Use Technology To Learn - And Football Game Update

Information for the August 28th ESPN Double-header (Northwestern vs South Pointe)

Date: August 28, 2010

Place: District Three Stadium

Times: Byrnes vs Hoover, Ala 12:00 pm Live on ESPN

Northwestern vs South Pointe 4:00 pm Live on ESPNU

* Tickets – There are still tickets available at both Northwestern and South Pointe. They are $10 at the schools and will be sold at the gate for $12. The ticket is good for both games, but if you leave, you need another ticket to re-enter. District Passes, faculty ID’s, gold cards, etc., will not be accepted for this game. Also Northwestern and South Pointe season tickets will not be good for the games.
* ParkingAll people not expected to go and watch both games are encouraged to park at Northwestern and shuttle to and from the stadium on buses that will be provided and run throughout the day. There is no reserve parking for the two games and the parking lot right behind the home stands will not be available. There is a $2 charge on all district lots.
* Traffic- Stadium Street (West End of stadium) will be one way off Cherry Rd. Entrance to stadium street parking will be on Stadium Street across from the locker rooms and exit to Chester St. to turn right only. Parking near old ropes course behind the home side will enter off Stadium Street and exit off Constitution to turn right only. The right lane of Constitution Blvd. (East End of stadium) will be closed from 9:00 am until the conclusion of second game.
* The parking lot directly behind the stadium will be used for band buses, tractor trailers, ESPN trucks, booster club merchandise trailers, vendor area, and possibly ESPN fan zone (no food and drink allowed to be sold or given away out of this space). This is also an area that Emergency Medical will operate and have shelter set aside for heat related issues. No parking for cars or administrators will be allowed in this area. This area will be considered inside the stadium and fans will have access to this area during both games.
* Bands will have a chance to perform and will sit in assigned areas. (Byrnes and Northwestern Bands will sit on the home side and Hoover and South Pointe will sit on the visitor side.) After game one, the Byrnes and Hoover Bands must move to allow the Northwestern and South Pointe bands to sit.) All band members must be in uniform to enter through the band gates. Halftimes will be 20 minutes each including the 3 minute warm-up time by the teams so each band will have 8 minutes of field time including set up at the appropriated half if they wish to play.
* Food and drinks will be available at the home and visitor concession stands and additional drinks will be sold on the scoreboard ends of the stadium. Food and drinks will not be allowed to be brought into the stadium, but fans may tailgate outside in the parking lots.
* On Friday, August 27th at 5:30, there will be a community pep-rally for the four teams involved in Saturday’s games downtown at the Old Town Amphitheater. Teams will have their cheerleaders, teams, boosters, and fans out to show support for their favorite team. At 7:30, Rock Hill High will host Greer at District Three Stadium to kick off a big weekend of football.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Can You Have Family Values If You Don't Have Family Meals Together?

This video makes some interesting points. Not sure I'm buying in to all of them - but they are very thought provoking.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

August Rock Hill School Board Meeting Results

The Rock Hill School Board took the following action (all 7-0 votes):
  • Approved the consent agenda (Minutes for; June 28;July 27; August 9, Personnel Recommendations, Impact Community Church rental at Rawlinson Road Middle School, Suspension of Fund Balance Policy for 2010-2011, and Jim Vining's board compensation to Math Departments at the three high schools and to the Elementary Honors Choir.
  • Approved the appointment of George Marek Marshall as Assistant Principal at Rawlinson Road Middle School.
  • Approved Policy GBEBDA (Criminal Record Checks) for first reading.
  • Approved Policy KHE (Political Solicitations in Schools) for second and final reading.
  • Approved Policy JRA (Student Records) for second and final reading.
The board recognized Officer John Aiton as the Upstate School Resource Officer of the Year. Mr. Aiton said his secret was to treat every child as if it was his own.

The board recognized fellow member Ann Reid for achieving level 5 of the South Carolina School Boards Association Boardmanship Institute.

The board recognized Ebinport Elementary, Mount Holly Elementary, and Sullivan Middle School as our newest Red Carpet Schools.

The board heard a report and viewed a short video on the opening of schools.

The board heard a report on the Positive Deviant Visionary Team. Chris Ruppe and Chad Smith represented the team and made brief presentations. Mike Patrick, from Milliken, attended the meeting. Mike and Milliken served as hosts for the teams first series of meetings. Chris reported on learning some of the "education" language which was foreign to "non educators". Chad reported he hoped the team would come up with 0.5 to 1 million dollar ideas (either savings or increase in revenue).

The board heard a report on the results of last years testing and the success of summer school.

Monday, August 23, 2010

LA Times Follow-up To Teacher Performance Data

The Berkeley Blog has an interesting post of the LA times report on grading the teachers. I'm going to post it below because if makes some interesting arguments. It also has some very good links which you should check out.

Teacher performance data and its discontents

Michael O'Hare
The Los Angeles Unified School District has kicked the hornet’s nest of teaching quality assurance by proposing to publish a list of six thousand teachers’ students’ gains and losses on a statewide test in English and math. The exercise is considerable because it turns out performance is not random but for many teachers, strongly correlated from year to year: some see their students’ relative scores go up year after year, and some teachers’ students do worse, again year after year. For the moment, I’m carefully avoiding language like “raise their students’ scores” and “good teachers and bad teachers.” Jonathan Zasloff has the links in his post here , along with a well-deserved thumb in the eye of the LA teachers union president.
KQED’s Forum had an hour on this today, and started it off on the wrong foot with the title:Evaluating Teachers. This common shorthand is an instant source of mischief: of course no-one has the right to evaluate another human being, and what’s meant (I hope) is evaluatingteacher performance, but even that version is off the rails. Evaluating teacher performance is almost entirely sideways to what we want, which is improving student learning. Still, data like the LAUSD files can be a start in the right direction.
I’m having ambivalence overload even thinking about this story. On the one hand, measuring performance is desperately important for improving quality in any service or production process, and it appears the LAUSD has an enormously useful resource here. On the other, it’s so easy to measure it wrong and do the wrong thing with the measurements. Measuring teacher performance is especially difficult because what we really care about, which is contribution to lifetime performance of students (productivity, happiness, income, menschlichkeit, and more) happens long after the teaching ; because different students click with different [kinds of] teachers; because different teachers are provided different resources, especially including differently supportive parents and student peer sociology; and because the world is just noisy and full of random stuff. So, on the one hand, the LAUSD data looks at a narrow measure of value acquired by students (fairly stupid statewide short-answer tests in two subjects), but on the other hand, there appear to be stable, significant effects of individual teachers. Now what? The obvious answer is, fire the teachers in the bottom third, and give the ones at the top a nice raise. There are certainly a few LAUSD teachers who should be fired, but like so many obvious things, this reaction is almost completely wrong (it does respond to several of our worst instincts, including a desire that things be simple and a wish to punish). In the first place, of course, every set of measurements has a bottom third; indeed, though it will shock you to learn this, fully half my wonderful students are below average, no matter how much I shame and ridicule them when every other student scores below the median on a midterm again. I taught an honors course once and only admitted the top half, and would you believe it, one out of two of those stars slacked off and dropped into the bottom half during the semester!
More important, no organization has ever fired its way to success; 50% of new teachers in urban school districts already leave in the first three years, and we see how well that’s working for us. (That fact, along with a good bit of the thinking in this post, is courtesy of my colleague Alan Schoenfeld, an actual education professor who was nice enough to hip me to a lot of interesting background on this issue.)
What teachers need, and don’t have, is a really dispiriting list of resources. The first, and most important, is each other: teaching is probably the most isolating and isolated profession this side of pathology. Teachers never see each other work, almost never get to talk to each other about individual students, and have practically no opportunity for the core practice of quality assurance, which is observing and then discussing a particular practice, comparing alternatives, in a group of peers. Public school teachers in California also lack a long list of pretty basic stuff, from decent, clean, maintained buildings to copy paper, not to mention supportive staff and competent leadership at the school and district level, and too often, parents who are on their side and at the kids’ side.
What the LA performance data does is highlight a batch of teachers at the top of the data whose classrooms need to be visited by their peers, perhaps by videotape, and discussed. The point is not that everyone should be completely focused on increasing these test scores, but that a successful record at that measurable result is a good (not perfect) indicator of teaching practices that, if observed and discussed, will lead to better outcomes for students on a variety of dimensions.
It also highlights a batch almost all of whom (not all, some cases are hopeless) need to have their attention focused on what they are doing by habit or instinct that isn’t working, and to be shown (not just told) some alternatives. Not one of them wants to be a bad teacher! There may be a couple with such weird values that they know how to teach effectively, but intentionally sabotage their own performance unless they are paid some amount more money to deliver, but making policy for bizarre cases, if they exist at all, is absurd.
All this warm and fuzzy collaboration is expensive (an hour in a quality circle is an hour not in class and a cost for a substitute), a real challenge to administrators for scheduling, and more work for managers. It’s a safe bet that real quality assurance will pay off in reduced costs, but not instantly and anyway a lot of people don’t believe this. It’s possible to waste enormous sums in a failing school district not achieving much learning, and breaking a lot of hearts and spirits, but in California we’ve spent a couple of decades feeding the horse one less straw a day waiting for him to learn to live on nothing, and it isn’t working for us. In the end, improving school performance depends on being willing to invest (not spend; invest!) what it takes to get it right, and on management willing to do heavy retail lifting rather than simpleminded stick-and-carrot tricks.  The LA Times enterprise may cut either way; it might just further infuriate and demoralize the workforce, but if it’s handled right, it could be a place to step off in a useful direction.
Cross-posted from blog site The Reality-Based Community.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Value of Early Education

New advances in medical technology have allowed researchers to show that exposing children to learning between 2 and 8, during the brains development years, will give those children the gift of easier learning for the rest of their life. Now the New York Times has come out with an article which says the value of a good kindergarten teacher is $320,000 a year - based on the earning potential increase their students get because of their kindergarten experiences. The article can be found by clicking here.

The Case for $320,000 Kindergarten Teachers

How much do your kindergarten teacher and classmates affect the rest of your life?
Jodi Hilton for The New York Times
From left, Emmanuel Saez, Danny Yagan, Raj Chetty, Nathaniel Hilger, Diane Schanzenbach and John Friedman examined the lives of almost 12,000 children in an education experiment.
Economists have generally thought that the answer was not much. Great teachers and early childhood programs can have a big short-term effect. But the impact tends to fade. By junior high and high school, children who had excellent early schooling do little better on tests than similar children who did not — which raises the demoralizing question of how much of a difference schools and teachers can make.
There has always been one major caveat, however, to the research on the fade-out effect. It was based mainly on test scores, not on a broader set of measures, like a child’s health or eventual earnings. As Raj Chetty, a Harvardeconomist, says: “We don’t really care about test scores. We care about adult outcomes.”
Early this year, Mr. Chetty and five other researchers set out to fill this void. They examined the life paths of almost 12,000 children who had been part of a well-known education experiment in Tennessee in the 1980s. The children are now about 30, well started on their adult lives.
On Tuesday, Mr. Chetty presented the findings — not yet peer-reviewed — at an academic conference in Cambridge, Mass. They’re fairly explosive.
Just as in other studies, the Tennessee experiment found that some teachers were able to help students learn vastly more than other teachers. And just as in other studies, the effect largely disappeared by junior high, based on test scores. Yet when Mr. Chetty and his colleagues took another look at the students in adulthood, they discovered that the legacy of kindergarten had re-emerged.
Students who had learned much more in kindergarten were more likely to go to college than students with otherwise similar backgrounds. Students who learned more were also less likely to become single parents. As adults, they were more likely to be saving for retirement. Perhaps most striking, they were earning more.
All else equal, they were making about an extra $100 a year at age 27 for every percentile they had moved up the test-score distribution over the course of kindergarten. A student who went from average to the 60th percentile — a typical jump for a 5-year-old with a good teacher — could expect to make about $1,000 more a year at age 27 than a student who remained at the average. Over time, the effect seems to grow, too.
The economists don’t pretend to know the exact causes. But it’s not hard to come up with plausible guesses. Good early education can impart skills that last a lifetime — patience, discipline, manners, perseverance. The tests that 5-year-olds take may pick up these skills, even if later multiple-choice tests do not.
Now happens to be a particularly good time for a study like this. With the economy still terribly weak, many people are understandably unsure about the value of education. They see that even college graduates have lost their jobs in the recession.
Barely a week seems to go by without a newspaper or television station running a report suggesting that education is overrated. These stories quote liberal groups, like theEconomic Policy Institute, that argue that an education can’t protect workers in today’s global economy. Or they quote conservatives, like Charles Murray and Ramesh Ponnuru, who suggest that people who haven’t graduated from college aren’t smart enough to do so.
But the anti-education case usually relies on a combination of anecdotes and selective facts. In truth, the gap between the pay of college graduates and everyone else grew to a record last year, according to the Labor Department, and unemployment has risen far more for the less educated.
This is not simply because smart people — people who would do well no matter what — tend to graduate from college. Education itself can make a difference. A long line of economic research, by Julie Berry CullenJames HeckmanPhilip Oreopoulos and many others, has found as much. The study by Mr. Chetty and his colleagues is the latest piece of evidence.
The crucial problem the study had to solve was the old causation-correlation problem. Are children who do well on kindergarten tests destined to do better in life, based on who they are? Or are their teacher and classmates changing them?
The Tennessee experiment, known as Project Star, offered a chance to answer these questions because it randomly assigned students to a kindergarten class. As a result, the classes had fairly similar socioeconomic mixes of students and could be expected to perform similarly on the tests given at the end of kindergarten.
Yet they didn’t. Some classes did far better than others. The differences were too big to be explained by randomness. (Similarly, when the researchers looked at entering and exiting test scores in first, second and third grades, they found that some classes made much more progress than others.)
Class size — which was the impetus of Project Star — evidently played some role. Classes with 13 to 17 students did better than classes with 22 to 25. Peers also seem to matter. In classes with a somewhat higher average socioeconomic status, all the students tended to do a little better.
But neither of these factors came close to explaining the variation in class performance. So another cause seemed to be the explanation: teachers.
Some are highly effective. Some are not. And the differences can affect students for years to come.
When I asked Douglas Staiger, a Dartmouth economist who studies education, what he thought of the new paper, he called it fascinating and potentially important. “The worry has been that education didn’t translate into earnings,” Mr. Staiger said. “But this is telling us that it does and that the fade-out effect is misleading in some sense.”
Mr. Chetty and his colleagues — one of whom, Emmanuel Saez, recently won the prize for the top research economist under the age of 40 — estimate that a standout kindergarten teacher is worth about $320,000 a year. That’s the present value of the additional money that a full class of students can expect to earn over their careers. This estimate doesn’t take into account social gains, like better health and less crime.
Obviously, great kindergarten teachers are not going to start making $320,000 anytime soon. Still, school administrators can do more than they’re doing.
They can pay their best teachers more, as Pittsburgh soon will, and give them the support they deserve. Administrators can fire more of their worst teachers, as Michelle Rhee, the Washington schools chancellor, did last week. Schools can also make sure standardized tests are measuring real student skills and teacher quality, as teachers’ unions have urged.
Given today’s budget pressures, finding the money for any new programs will be difficult. But that’s all the more reason to focus our scarce resources on investments whose benefits won’t simply fade away.


Saturday, August 21, 2010

Grading Teachers - Another View

The L.A. Times is running several articles on Grading Teachers. You can read the first article by clicking here.

Some excerpts:
year after year, one fifth-grade class learns far more than the other down the hall. The difference has almost nothing to do with the size of the class, the students or their parents.

It's their teachers.

In Los Angeles and across the country, education officials have long known of the often huge disparities among teachers. But rather than analyze and address these disparities, they have opted mostly to ignore them.

Most districts act as though one teacher is about as good as another. As a result, the most effective teachers often go unrecognized, the keys to their success rarely studied.

Though the government spends billions of dollars every year on education, relatively little of the money has gone to figuring out which teachers are effective and why.

In coming months, The Times will publish a series of articles and a database analyzing individual teachers' effectiveness in the nation's second-largest school district — the first time, experts say, such information has been made public anywhere in the country.

Among the findings:

• Contrary to popular belief, the best teachers were not concentrated in schools in the most affluent neighborhoods, nor were the weakest instructors bunched in poor areas. Rather, these teachers were scattered throughout the district. The quality of instruction typically varied far more within a school than between schools.

• Although many parents fixate on picking the right school for their child, it matters far more which teacher the child gets. Teachers had three times as much influence on students' academic development as the school they attend.

• Many of the factors commonly assumed to be important to teachers' effectiveness were not. Although teachers are paid more for experience, education and training, none of this had much bearing on whether they improved their students' performance.

 the most effective instructors differed widely in style and personality. Perhaps not surprisingly, they shared a tendency to be strict, maintain high standards and encourage critical thinking.

You can read the first article by clicking here.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Rock Hill Schools Business Meeting On Monday, August 23, 2010

Meeting of the Board of Trustees
Monday, August 23, 2010
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. Executive Session – Personnel Matters

III.   Special Business
A.    Recognition of John Aiton, Upstate School Resource Officer of the Year
B. Recognition of Ann Reid, SCSBA Boardmanship Institute
C. Recognition of Newest Red Carpet Schools (Ebinport and Sullivan)

IV.      Citizen Participation

       V.   Consent Action Agenda
            A. Approval of Minutes
            1.  June 28, 2010 business meeting
            2.  July 27, 2010 executive session
            3.  August 9, 2010 work session
            B. Approval of Personnel Recommendations
            C. Approval of Use of Facilities – Impact Community Church
            D. Approval of Suspension of Fund Balance Policy for 2010-2011
            E. Approval of Distribution of Jim Vining’s Board Compensation (July – October)        to; math departments at Northwestern, Rock Hill, and South Pointe; Elementary Honors Choir.
VI.   Communications

     VII. Report of the Superintendent
A.      Announcements
B.      Opening of Schools
C.      Positive Deviant Visionary Team
D.   Testing Report / SIP Process
E.      Middle and High School Summer School

   VIII. Review of Work Session

 IX. Action Agenda
A.      Approval of Policy GBEBDA – 1st Reading
B.     Approval of Policy KHE – 2nd Reading
C.     Approval of Policy JRA – 2nd Reading

X.     Other Business
XI.    Adjournment

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Don't Forget Rock Hill Schools Fundraiser, Saturday, August 21, 2010

Rock Hill Schools is holding a public auction, silent auction, car show, and yard sale all on the same date in an effort to make money for our schools. Please check out  to see what's planned for the Applied Technology Center and  the Operations Center next door by going to There will be ample parking, lots of great food (including breakfast items), yard sale treasures,  silent auction items (that  include the use of a new car for a year), and much more. And, there will be an announcement as to how the district can make up to $10,000 through a Facebook competition.

The events will be this Saturday, August 21, 2010, from 8am to 2pm at  2171 West Main Street (Operations Center) and 2399 West Main Street (Applied Technology Center).

Click Here For Pictures of auction items.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Some Problems With Teacher Evaluations

This is an interesting video which explains some of the difficult variables in the evaluation of teachers.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

21st Century Education

An interesting video from The New Brunswick Department of Education. That's New Brunswick Canada.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Notes From Rock Hill School Board's August Work Session

The Rock Hill School Board met on Monday, August 9, 2010 for the regularly scheduled Work Session. My meeting highlights are:
  • Northside Elementary School of the Arts, Rawlinson Road Middle School, and Northwestern High School gave individualized presentations on what their schools are doing to improve state test scores by using assessments. Teachers are working together to help develop more meaningful test questions as well as questions which more correctly apply to the standards. They are also evaluating student performance and getting remediation or accelerated learning for the appropriate students.
  • The Board reviewed changes to Policy KHE - particularly as it applies to politicians. The proposed policy can be viewed by clicking here. Items in red are proposed changes. A side item which came out of the discussion is how much control, or whether there should be any control over groups which raise money for our schools and programs.
  • The Board discussed changes to policy GBEBDA, Criminal Background Checks, which has mostly been required by recent legislation.
  • The District announced they would be reviewing a possible switch to contracting out some or all benefit services.
  • The District reported that the federal government had mandated an increase in adult lunch prices. The Board expressed a desire to leave lunch prices as they are currently. The administration will seek a legal opinion to see if this can be done. Another item which came up - Why Do School Districts Have To Pay Sales Tax On School Lunches?

Sunday, August 15, 2010

A Teacher’s Field Guide to Parents

You should go to the Ecology of Education blog site for a full explanation to A Teacher's Field Guide to Parents. The categories are:

1. Burger King Parents

2. Chicken Little Parents

3. Flintstone Parents

4. The Grass is Greener Parents

5. The Barometer Parents

6. The Perfectionist Parents

7. Bueller Parents

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Will You Help Charles With His Eagle Project?

Charles Johnson, a rising senior at Rock Hill High School, is helping the Back the Pack Program with a collection of non-perishable food items and tax deductible sponsorships.

Back the Pack provides food items to school children who may not have enough food for the weekend and is administered by the Rock Hill School District and the Rock Hill School District Foundation. Currently, distribution is limited by funds and only half the targeted children are being served. See the Back the Pack Video by clicking here.

Johnson, of BSA Troup 31 in Rock Hill, is using this as his service project on his march toward Eagle Scout. Charles was distributing this letter on the 14th and will be collecting contributions on Saturday, August 21, 2010.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Rock Hill Schools District Wide Fundraiser On Saturday, August 21, 2010

Dr. Moody talks about the huge fundraiser for Rock Hill Schools coming on Saturday, August 21st at the Applied Technology Center. Hear  her comments by clicking here.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Ready to Read, Healthy to Learn

From 1 ELP
The Early Learning Partnership, getting preschool children ready to read and keeping them healthy and ready to learn.

History of the Early Learning Partnership
The mission of ELP is to conceive, implement and oversee efforts designed to get children in York County ready for school.  ELP traces its roots to Success by Six, an early childhood initiative launched by the United Way.  In 1995, a task force was created in York County to bring a Success by Six chapter to this area.  By 2005, the operations of this Success by Six chapter had grown to such an extent that the Board of Directors of United Way and the Success By Six advisory board thought it appropriate to "spin off" Success by Six as an independent corporation.  ELP received its charter from the South Carolina Secretary of State in July 2005.  Shortly thereafter, it was certified as a charitable organization by the Internal Revenue Service.
As its name suggests, ELP is a partner with each of the four school districts in York County, Winthrop University, First Steps, and a variety of other patrons and supporters.  ELP's efforts are generally organized around four "Family Resource Centers" in the County--one in each school district--which provide a range of early childhood and family support services.  Although these Centers are owned and operated by the School Districts, ELP provides extensive program support.  In particular, a Community Liaison employed by ELP dedicates her work to coordinating the efforts of the Resource Centers and synergizing the strategies of the Center's directors.  
ELP's financial resources are dedicated to the following programs:
1.    Medical Clinics
ELP provides financial support to four medical clinics for children--one in each of the Family Resource Centers throughout the county.  The physicians who work in these clinics are volunteers, but the clinics employ an administrator and a nurse.  
2.    The Dolly Parton Imagination Library
DPIL is a program conceived by Dolly Parton and inaugurated in her home county in Tennessee.  The program provides one hardcover, age-appropriate book to a child each month from birth to five years.  Although the Dolly Parton Foundation coordinates and promotes the program, it does not fund it.  ELP is responsible for raising all of the funds necessary to support the program in York County.  It costs approximately $30 to support one child for a year.
ELP has administered the DPIL program in York County for 2 years.  We estimate that it will cost us about $100,000 to administer the program this year.  Support for the program comes from:  (i) an annual Bowl-a-Thon in which all elementary schools in the county participate,(ii) major support from Rock Hill Coca-Cola Bottling Company,(iii) a collective contribution from the county's four school districts; (iv) the York County United Way; and (v) a variety of contributions from individuals and civic groups.  
3.    Reach Out and Read and Born To Read
These are two literacy programs that ELP has operated for years.  Reach Out and Read serves children in local doctor's offices, while Born To Read reaches newborns and their families at Piedmont Medical Center.  The Springs/Close Foundation has been a major supporter of this effort.
4.    General Expenses
ELP has three employees:  (i) Executive Director; (ii) Community Liaison, who works part-time; and (iii) a part-time clerical assistant and Literacy Program Coordinator.

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