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Thursday, June 30, 2011

Something To Think About

The video below makes some interesting points about education.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

A nice video on the SAT test picked up from the Lucas' Blog:

Monday, June 27, 2011

June Rock Hill School Board Business Meeting Notes

The School Board took the following action:

  • The board voted 7-0 to approve the budget without designating funds to be taken from the reserve fund because of the uncertainty of how much money will be provided by the state.
  • The board voted 7-0 to approve the consent agenda (Minutes, Personnel recommendations, Impact Church facilities request, Use of activity buses during the summer, field study requests)
  • Approve appointment of the following Assistant Principals 7-0 as follows; Rock Hill High School - Dr. Emily H. McQuay; Northwestern High School - Dr. Terrance Alridge and Dr. Tom Sparks; Saluda Trail - Robert Hamm; Castle Heights - Cynthia Robinson; India Hook (new position) - Rhonda M. Kelsey.
  • Approved 6-1 two overseas field study requests with Brown against for security reasons.
  • Approved 7-0 a resolution in support of the Pennies for Progress referendum on August 2nd.
  • Approved 7-0 a recommendation for bond refunding.
  • Approved 7-0 funding flexibility
  • Approved 7-0 a motion to suspend policy JLA until changes can be brought back to the board in August.
  • After two motions failed, approved 6-1 to appeal the "required" lunch price increase and to take money from the general fund (about $18,000) so the food system can be certified for next year. Douglas voted against because she felt the money should go to employee raises instead.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

What Is The Mission Of The Rock Hill School District?

Why would you ask that? Doesn't everybody know what the mission is?

Well, during the school board self assessment last month, one question was: "does the board always talk about it's mission before making big decisions?" I've been on the board for 13 years and can't recall one time it has been discussed before a decision. In fact, I wasn't  completely sure what the mission was -  and I still can't recite it word for word. I knew The Climb wasn't it (that's the administration's strategic plan). For those who need a refresher, here it is:

"Working together with the student, home, and community, the Rock Hill School District will ensure that all students have the skills, knowledge and desire to become lifelong learners and succeed in a changing world."

It goes on to say:

"The district will implement this vision by providing lifelong learning opportunities which will develop the potential of all individuals and thereby improve the quality of life for all citizens of the district."

It is also part of the policy manual - policy AD

I personally like a less wordy mission, such as the #1 Question, Is It Good For The Children.

Anyway, is a mission statement important? And - who should be it's primary authors? Questions the board may choose to discuss at its retreat in July.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Rock Hill School Board Member Makes July's American School Board Journal

Rock Hill School Board member Ginny Moe noticed a question on the ASBJ facebook page and gave an answer, which ended up in the July issue of the magazine. I have found links to this organization, and others supporting education to be a valuable source for information. You don't have to be a school board member to "like" these sites and should consider adding some.

What did Ginny say?

Under The best piece of advice I received....
When she became a school board member, Virginia S. Moe knew she would face pressure to make the correct call when a tough vote approached. But the board chair in South Carolina's Rock Hill School District helped her to quickly realize that her decision would not please everyone.

"When he was new, a big vote came up", Moe said, responding to ASBJ's Facebook question about the best piece of advice she received after joining the board. "As he walked through the crowd to his chair, he was approached by two different friends, saying they knew he'd do the right thing. But he knew each wanted him to vote differently. After he voted, he saw one of them just drop his head."

Moe, who said her chair's anecdote "made a big impression on me," benefited from the type of real-life experience that veteran school board members can pass on to those who are new on the job.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Rock Hill Schools June Business Meeting This Monday

Biggest item at the Monday, June 27, 2011 Rock Hill School Business meeting will be a decision on the 2011-12 operating budget. Also up for discussion will be a decision on raising school lunch prices by $0.05. Terry Plumb, retired editor of the Rock Hill Herald will address the board about avoiding summer reading slumps. A recent article of his is below:

Parents can help children avoid summer slump
Guest Columnist
Teachers have known for years that children’s reading skills decline during the summer break. Learning to read is like riding a bicycle, teachers say. Skills needed to read must be repeated continuously over
an extended period.
Estimates of reading loss vary, but they typically range from nine to 12 weeks. That lost time must be made up during the next school year, which means valuable time is spent regaining lapsed skills.
Although the summer slump affects children at all levels, the problem is particularly vexing for struggling readers. Teachers worry about a child who isn’t reading at grade level by third grade; that’s when reading becomes critical to learning other subjects, including math.
Numerous studies have shown that the problem can be minimized or reversed if students both have access to books during the summer and actually read them.
What is being done to counter the summer slump? Around the country, schools have come up with creative ways to get books into children’s hands. In Green Bay, Wisc., the staff of one elementary school converted a recreational vehicle into a book mobile, which they drove into neighborhoods where children were struggling with literacy. Over
one summer, they reduced the normal summer setback from 12 weeks to two. In other communities, civic clubs have formed partnerships with school districts to provide books to children.
What can families do to prevent or at least offset the summer slump?
The first thing is to make sure your child has a library card, and that you encourage him or her to use it. A weekly or biweekly trip to the public library (or a bookmobile) should become part of your family’s summer schedule. If you need suggestions for suitable books, ask the children’s librarian.
By law, S.C. schools must provide parents with their children’s scores on standardized tests, but scores can be confusing. The person who’s most familiar with your child is his or her teacher. Ask the teacher
to suggest titles.
Having access to books is key, but they don’t help if they aren’t read. Ask your children to maintain a simple reading log (title, author, date completed). Also, ask them questions about books they
have read. For example:
Would you like to read more books by this author? Why?
Did any characters change during the book? What caused the change?
Would you recommend this book to a friend?
If your summer plans include a week at the beach or a visit to grandparents, be sure to include side trips to a children’s museum (such as EdVenture in Columbia) or historic site (e.g., Fort Sumter in Charleston).
Remember: Summer learning should be fun for the entire family. Here are some excellent websites that will allow your child to dump the slump and have a good time doing it: Lots of titles for all levels. Stories, poems, etc., written by kids for kids. Activities, authors, contests and games for every level. Allows your children to post their own book reviews. Fun math, science and language-arts activities. Offers math and reading drill fames to keep skills honed. Uses games, experiments, etc. to teach about science.
Mr. Plumb, a retired newspaper editor from Rock Hill, wrote this article as part of a project for the S.C. Diversity Leaders Initiative at Furman University. Reach him at

The proposed agenda for Monday's meeting is below:

Meeting of the Board of Trustees
Monday, June 27, 2011
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 Matter

III.       Special Business
             A.  Recognition of Sandy Andrews as S.C. Adult Education Director of the Year

IV.      Citizen Participation
        V.   Consent Action Agenda
             A. Approval of Minutes
            1.  May 23, 2011 business meeting
            2.  June 13, 2011 work session
             B. Approval of Personnel Recommendations
             C.  Approval of Use of Facilities (Impact Church)
             D.  Approval of Field Study Requests (6)
             E.  Approval of Use of Activity Buses
VI.   Communications
        A.  Legislative Update – Mr. Brown

     VII. Report of the Superintendent
A.       Announcements
B.       Shared Vision & Beliefs / Future Focus
C.       Ending Summer Reading Loss

      VIII. Review of Work Session
   IX.    Action Agenda
A.     Approval of School Lunch Price Increase
B.    Approval of Bond Refunding
C.    Approval of Funding Flexibility
D.    Approval of Policy JLA – 1st Reading
E.     Approval of 2011-2012 Budget

X.   Other Business

      XI.    Executive Session – Student Matter  

    XII. Adjournment            

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

School Lunch Prices

Shawn Cetrone has an interesting article on York County SC school lunch prices in Wednesday's Rock Hill Herald. The interesting part is how much more lunch costs  in Rock Hill and the fact the U.S. Department of Agriculture is trying to make districts raise lunch prices if their 'paid' price is lower than they believe it should be. They have a valid concern that school districts may be using money received from the U.S.D.A for Free and Reduced lunches to subsidize lunches that other students are purchasing. However, this would  penalize districts that do a good job keeping costs down (and all paying customers). Seems to me a better solution would be for the U.S.D.A to reimburse districts based on a formula which uses their 'paid' price, not a price the U.S.D.A thinks it ought to be. There should be a driver for districts to keep operations efficient and costs down.

Which brings me to the other interesting part. Why are Rock Hill lunches more expensive than the other districts?

I don't know why (but am concerned). I can speculate that elementary school size being smaller in Rock Hill should contribute. But administrative costs should be less because we serve more lunches in the district. It could be that 53% of 'paying' students don't buy lunches or that 26% of those who qualify for free and reduced lunch don't either (how could a student in that category pass this up?) and the other districts have higher percentages eating lunch. Obviously getting more lunches purchased (either paid or F&R) would help. It could be that other districts are not paying rent for the use of district facilities. Which brings us to the question, should the school board rubber stamp a lunch price increase because a federal  agency requires it?

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


From the Oconee County Superintendent's web site:
I have three pages tabbed on my web browser, and the sites remain open each time I open my Internet browser. I do this because almost no day goes by without me referring to one of these three sites:
  • South Carolina Code of Laws, Title 59 (click here) – Title 59 covers most of the laws related to operating schools. It covers everything from the functions of a school board to the intricacies of teacher employment and dismissal.
  • South Carolina State Board of Education Regulations (click here) – This site provides all of the rules and regulations from obtaining a teaching credential to the requirements needed to receive a high school diploma.
  • School District of Oconee County Administrative Policy Manual(click here) – This is the site with all of the local policies and procedures we follow in order to comply with the Code of Laws and the State Board Regulations.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Interesting Story - Wonder If It Is True?

A former Sergeant, having served his time with the Marine Corps, took a new job as a school teacher, but just before the school year started he injured his back. He was required to wear a plaster cast around the upper part of his body.

Fortunately, the cast fit under his shirt and wasn't noticeable. On the first day of class, he found himself assigned to  the toughest students in the school. The smart Aleck punks, having already heard the new teacher was a former Marine, were leery of him and  decided to see how tough he really was, before trying any pranks. Walking  confidently into the rowdy classroom, the new teacher opened the window  wide and sat down at his desk. 

When a strong breeze made his tie flap, he picked up a stapler and promptly stapled the tie to his chest.

 ......Dead silence. He had no trouble with discipline that year.

SEMPER FI!! ---------------

Sunday, June 19, 2011

NBC News held a Teacher Town Hall for Chicago educators

About 80 minutes long - this is a video of an open discussion on many topics related to education. If you have time, an interesting conversation to watch.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Movies About Teaching

From the Technology Tidbits blog:
Top 10 Teaching Based Movies
  1. Remember the Titans - A Movie about HS football but so much more. Denzel Washington gives a memorable performance of a football coach who teaches more then just the fundamentals of football but life as well.
  2. Lean on Me - A powerful movie that stars Morgan Freeman as he tries to help a HS school from destroying itself.
  3. Finding Forrester - It's hard not to like this film that focuses on a teen writer who is mentored by Sean Connery.
  4. Freedom Writers - A film about a young HS teacher who helps turn student's lives around through their writing, starring the great Hillary Swank.
  5. Stand & Deliver - Based on a true story one of the most famous films on teaching.
  6. Dangerous Minds - A strong film starring Michelle Pfeiffer about a teacher who turns around her HS class located in a poor neighbor in the city.
  7. Dead Poets Society - A great film about an English teacher who teaches his students the joy and power of poetry.
  8. Good Will Hunting - Another film starring Robin Williams as a psychologist who helps Will find his path in life, filled w/ great dialogue.
  9. Music of the Heart - A true story that shows a teacher's struggle to teach violin to students.
  10. Lions for Lambs - Not mainly based on teaching, but the scenes w/ Robert Redford as a professor as he inspires his students to think are breathtaking.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Why Not Here?

Those of you who follow my blog know what I thing about technology and education (Failed Promise) and the use of Social Media (Using Social Media).  One of my high school friends put me on a link to this video via facebook:

A follow-up phone call gave me additional information such as the problems with technology integration and a 9 step process for implementing technology. The remarkable thing is this successful district (Mooresville Graded Schools) is only 40 miles from Rock Hill and they implemented a one-to-one computing system without increasing their district's costs.

And the results? They may overtake the Chapel Hill school district this year as the best in North Carolina. With 40% F&R students, and spending $3,000 less per student - this should shake up the education community.

So, why not in Rock Hill?

Click the links below for additional information:

Latest Mooresville Data

The Cisco Blog

Putting Kids First

Learning Matters

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Stuff From The Future of Education Blog

From the Future of Education Blog:

A student comes to a young teacher's desk. She glances down the hall, closes his door, kneels pleadingly. "I would do anything to pass this exam."
She leans closer to him, flips back her hair, and gazes meaningfully into his eyes. "I mean..." she whispers, "...I would do... anything!!!"
He returns her gaze. "Anything?"
His voice turns to a whisper. "Would"
"Please, don't ask me to do that again."

1. Dear School: Please excuse John from being absent on Jan. 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, and also 33.
2. Please excuse Dianne from being absent yesterday. She was in bed with gramps.
3. Please excuse Johnnie for being absent. It was his father's fault.
4. Chris will not be in school because he has an acre in his side.
5. John has been absent because he had two teeth taken off his face.
6. Excuse Gloria. She has been under the doctor.
7. Lillie was absent from school yesterday because she had a going over.
8. My son is under the doctor's care and should not take physical education. Please execute him.
9. Carlos was absent yesterday because he was playing football. He was hit in the growing part.
10. My daughter was absent yesterday because she was tired. She spent this weekend with the Marines.
11. Please excuse Joyce from P.E. for a few days. Yesterday she fell off a tree and misplaced her hip.
12. Please excuse Ray Friday from school. He has very loose vowels.
13. Maryann was absent Dec. 11-16, because she had a fever, sore throat, headache, and upset stomach. Her sister was also sick, fever and sore throat, her brother had a low-grade fever. There must be the flu going around, her father even got hot last night.
14. Please excuse Blanche from jim today. She is administrating.
15. George was absent yesterday because he had a stomach.
16. Ralph was absent yesterday because he had a sore trout.
17. Please excuse Sara for being absent. She was sick and I had her shot.
18. Please excuse Lupe. She is having problems with her ovals.
19. Please excuse Pedro from being absent yesterday. He had diah(crossed out),diahoah(crossed out), dyah(crossed out) the shits.

1) You find humor is other people’s stupidity.
2) You want to slap the next person who says, "Must be nice to have all your holidays and summers free."
3) When out in public, you feel the urge to talk to strange children and correct their behavior.
4) Marking all A’s on the report card would make your life SO much simpler.
5) You think people should be required to get a government permit before being allowed to reproduce.
6) You wonder how some parents even managed to reproduce.
7) You really encourage an obnoxious (very offensive/objectionable) parent to check into home schooling.
8) You’ve never had your profession slammed by someone who would never dream of doing your job.
9) You can’t have children of your own, ‘cos there is no name you could give a child that wouldn’t bring on high blood pressure the moment you heard it.
10) Meeting a child’s parents instantly answers the question, "Why is this kid like this?"

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Is Social Promotion An Elephant in The Room?

Ask most Education Administrators if Social Promotion exists and they'll say it doesn't. If you do a search of the Rock Hill School District web site you'll find no reference to Social Promotion. There was actually an exchange of this nature during a teacher chat during the past year. So, is there Social Promotion?

I'll not address that question specifically, but will share some questions for you to ponder:

  • How do students get to high school performing at a 5th grade level in Math and English?
  • Whey does the 9th grade class size increase by 40% over the 8th grade class size?
  • If 25% of the students do not pass the end of year testing, why isn't the 3rd grade class size larger than the 2nd grade?
  • Why does the South Carolina Education Oversight Committee recommend  students only be retained one time in their career?
Tennessee has passed a bill this year to address this. From Education Week: "Starting next school year, Tennessee third-graders will no longer be allowed to move on to the next grade unless they can demonstrate understanding of the curriculum and basic reading skills.

The new state law, approved this month, exempts special education students. It also permits school systems to promote struggling third-graders if they provide them with proven remedial help before the beginning of their fourth-grade school year.
“It’s not about punishing students by retaining them,” Gary Nixon, executive director of the state Board of Education, said last week. “It’s providing intervention and ensuring they are successful.”
The bill is another step in Tennessee’s push toward higher and more rigorous academic standards, he said."  But, we know there is not a simple solution. The post goes on to say:
 “What we know from a lot of the research is social promotion is really not a particularly productive solution, but neither is retention in grade,” he said. “The challenge is to ensure that we look at each individual student and based on a variety of academic and developmental considerations, really make a good decision that meets the needs of the student academically.”
The school system offers a variety of interventions for its youngest students, including small group instruction and a dedicated reading block daily at the elementary school level, he said.
In Union County, officials are adding two more positions to their Response to Intervention program, an initiative that gives struggling students individualized, targeted instruction, Director of Schools Wayne Goforth said. This brings the number of specialists who are serving its five elementary schools to three.
The bill focuses on the third grade primarily because that’s when students transition from learning to read to reading to acquire knowledge.
The goal is to reach pupils “before they get to the point that’s talked about in this law,” he said.
It also was the best way to reduce the financial impact on the state budget “in times of fiscal constraints,” said Stephen Smith, assistant commissioner for legislation and external affairs for the state Department of Education.
The department helped legislators craft the language of the amendment that eventually became law, he said. The initial bill dealt with all grades.
The legislation is similar to what’s been in place in Texas and Florida for some time, said Sherry Mee Bell, interim head for the University of Tennessee’s department of theory and practice in teacher education.
“One of the unanswered questions about this practice is, ultimately does this increase the dropout rate?” she said.
Bell noted that students who are retained may perform better in fourth and fifth grade but middle and high school could pose challenges with the awareness of being the oldest students in their class.
A positive outcome of the bill is that it could prompt educators to look at school readiness and provide skills children need to be prepared for kindergarten, she said.
Last week, state Rep. Harry Brooks, R-Knoxville, one of the law’s sponsors, said tackling children’s academic problems early will only be in their best interest.
“If you maintain proficiency all the way through, when you graduate from high school … you’ll have a greater chance of post-secondary success,” he said."

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Notes From Rock Hill Work Session on June 13, 2011

The board took action on two items during the meeting Monday Night:

  • The board approved the administrations request to look into refunding general obligation bonds series 2003 to save money. The vote was 7-0
  • The board voted to uphold the administrations position on a student transfer request. The vote was 4-3 (Reid, Douglas, and Sharp against)
This was an information packed meeting. Significant items discussed were:
  • The administration presented their proposed budget for the next school year. It will be available on the district web site in the near future. The administration was asked to provide a list of software ($500,000) which was added to the budget due to a reduction in federal funding. The administration is now proposing to increase athletics fees to $60 to cover insurance (whether student already has insurance or not). It was suggested this may be contrary to the policy which was just approved in May and that they should review policy and make changes if necessary and bring back to the board.
  • The use of school activity buses over the summer by groups in Rock Hill.
  • Preparations for the district to become a tobacco free district over the next few months.
  • The expansion of the district's 4k program for next year.
  • An innovative classroom pilot for a 5th grade class at York Road for next year.
  • A proposal from the administration to increase lunch prices because of a change in funding by the federal government for free and reduced lunches. Districts must increase their lunch prices if that price is lower than the reimbursement price from the federal government.
  • The administration reported they would like for the board to address these topics in August; pay for performance; use of social media; self selection for schools.
  • The District email system will be replaced by one hosted outside the district. This should be a good thing - although conversions never are a good thing. Everyones email address will be changing. Conversion will be done in stages during the school year. The District office will be converted this summer.
  • Power School will be converted to servers outside the district. This too is a good thing. This should greatly minimize the downtime teachers have experienced over the past year.
  • Teacher voice mail will be eliminated unless teacher request theirs to be kept. There are apparently a lot of unused voice mail boxes at a cost of $1800 per month.
  • Some emails are being archived. The administration was asked to begin working on a policy for when (and how) to archive emails.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Goals For A School Administrator

From Justin Tarte - Life of An Educator blog:

10 goals as a 1st year administrator...

Over the last couple of weeks I have been utilizing the power of my PLN to garner advice and feedback as I begin my transition into the role of an administrator. I am completely humbled and amazed at the level of support and encouragement I have received. This is a true testament to the commitment and dedication so many Educators have to improving education. Check out these amazing comments on my "The Journey Continues" post, and also check out this entire blog post, "Advice to New Administrators" by @hatcherelli.

Even though my assistant principal journey has already begun, I won't officially start until July 20th, which fortunately gives me some time for my "list." As all great Educators do, I feel it is important to outline some personal goals and aspirations. This list of 10 goals will be on my desk as a daily reminder of what I am aiming to accomplish:

1) - I will help to create a shared vision for students, staff and community members. I will take the time to gather input and knowledge from as many stakeholders as possible.

2) - I will utilize my supervisory time to build and establish relationships with students and staff. I will talk with students and staff and ask them about their lives in a sincere and caring manner. I will take an active interest in learning as much as I can about them.
3) - I will have high expectations for students, staff and myself. I will help to empower others to take control of their own learning and development by establishing an environment built on accountability and responsibility.

4) - I will support and encourage those with whom I work. I will work to embrace a sharing and collaborative school culture that takes risks in an effort to do great things.

5) - I will listen more than I talk. I will use my two ears more than I use my one mouth, and I will try to learn as much as I can from others. I will make it a priority to get into classrooms to observe on a daily basis, and I will learn by listening and observing.

6) - I will communicate with and involve parents and community stakeholders as often as possible. I will work with teachers and staff to keep parents informed and up-to-date with what is going on in our school through the use of weekly newsletters, our school website and social media outlets.

7) - I will share the power of my PLN with my colleagues. I will take the time to meet with anyone interested in learning more about using social media as a means toward professional growth. I will model being a lifelong learner for both students and staff.

8) - I will base every decision I make on what is best for students. It is difficult to not get caught up in everything that is going on, but I will make every effort to put students and their needs first.

9) - I will have a healthy balance between my professional and personal life. Though I anticipate the high level of time commitment required for this job, I do not want my job to consume my entire life. My family, friends and colleagues will all benefit from this healthy balance.

10) - I will figure out a way to get in the classrooms to teach. If this means working out a schedule to teach a class so a teacher can observe another teacher, or if this means just giving a teacher a break so I can teach, then so be it. I love teaching and I am sure I will miss it; plus, it's a great way to model effective instructional strategies for younger teachers.

What goals would you add...?

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Videos From Graduation

It's been a week now since our high schools had graduation. Through the courtesy of Comporium, here are a few videos from last Saturday:

Jordan Beaver, Northwestern High School

Ashley Earley, Rock Hill High School

Kirby Cranford, South Pointe High School

Craig Ferguson, South Pointe High School (Love his southern accent)

Taylor Lavender, Rock Hill High School

Alexis Peddy, Northwestern High School

Special Recognition
Ashley Eason gets Ovation for walking on stage
A Song For All The Graduates
Northwestern High School Troubadors sing "For Good" from Wicked.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Rock Hill School Board To Get Administration's Proposed Budget On Monday

The Rock Hill School Board will hear the Superintendent's proposed budget for the 2011-12 school year at the June Work Session beginning at 5:30 pm at the district office. The budget presentation will begin at 6:00 pm and will be streamed live on the district web site. The presentation will also be available later on the Comporium  Cable TV Education channel. The public will have an opportunity to sign up and speak for or against the proposal.  The board will also discuss the superintendent's evaluation and the board retreat in July. The administration will make a proposal to the board for an innovative education experience at York Road Elementary School for next year.

The proposed agenda is below:


District Office

START: 5:30 p.m.

DATE: June 13, 2011

1 Superintendent's Evaluation Process Bob Norwood 5 minutes
2 School Board Retreat Chris Smith 10 minutes
3 Use of Activity Buses During the Summer Luanne Kokolis 15 minutes
4 Public Forum on Budget Lynn Moody / Elaine Bilton 60 minutes
5 Tobacco Free Update Keith Wilks 10 minutes
6 4K Expansion Harriet Jaworowski 10 minutes
7 Innovative Classroom Pilot Rich Melzer 10 minutes
8 Matrix for Hearings Keith Wilks 10 minutes
9 TAN Elaine Bilton 10 minutes
10 Lunch Price Increase Elaine Bilton 10 minutes
11 Legislative Update Walter Brown 10 minutes
12 Executive Session - Student Matter

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Why York County Schools Are For Sale

Why are York County Schools For Sale? Well, not literally, but when county legislators vote to take money away from public education, they are. You'd be mistaken if you think it is because of Howard Rich or the legislators who take money from Mr. Rich and his groups. If every District Administrator or Building Principal or School Board member would look into a mirror, they'd see who is putting the For Sale sign out.

How can this be? These are the folks who are putting in long hours with little to no pay. How can they be responsible? Well, first, don't confuse activity with accomplishment and second, the world has changed and these folks have been slow to change with it.

The largest employer in York County is the public school system.  When our staff, bus drivers, operations folks, and teachers feel good about their employment, everyone else will feel good about the schools. Who do you think people go to for the real scoop? It's not administrators and school board members. School employees should be treated like professionals. There should be transparency with decisions affecting their work and their input should be included in those decisions. And, lets be clear, I'm not talking about email. Our employees are our most valuable resource in many more ways than in the classroom.

School boards have policies that do not pass the public saneness test.  In some cases, we have thrown common sense out the window  with zero tolerance policies. Our punishments, established a long time ago, are often not perceived as punishment by today's students. Half the boys in my high school would not have graduated if they had been held to today's discipline standards.

The world has changed. Right after World War II, 4 out of 5 voters had a connection to their local school - either with a relative going or working there. When we surveyed registered voters for our last bond referendum, less than 30% of the voters had that same connection. They only know about schools by what they watch on the 24 hour news shows. We know very little of that is positive - but it should be. Because we are doing wonderful things in our schools. How many schools actively partner with retirement homes, assisted living centers and churches? How many make arrangements for senior citizens to get in to school events for free or to make sure they are aware of concerts and/or events? And how many actively try to engage neighbors, even if they are not retired or of school age? Our neighbors don't believe we have good community schools because we have kept them in the dark and pushed them away.

The good thing about looking in the mirror, you'll also see the person who is starting to take back public education, one employee, one student, one neighbor at a time.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Is York County For Sale?

Is York County For Sale? If you were getting over 30% of your contributions from out-of-state interests who wanted vouchers, would you care what the people in York County think?

Greg Delleney 32.6%
2010 Total Raised = $15,350
Howard Rich Affiliates = $5,000

Gary Simrill 20.8%
2010 Total Raised = $33,699
Howard Rich Affiliates = $7,000
Dennis Moss 13.5%
2010 Total Raised = $37,100
Howard Rich Affiliates = $5,000

Tommy Pope 10.8%
2010 Total Raised = $74,009
Howard Rich Affiliates = $8,000

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