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Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Message From The Rock Hill School Superintendent

What Could Be
by Lynn P. Moody, Ed.D.
Superintendent, Rock Hill Schools

As a child, I spent endless hours with my best friend and a collection of beautiful Barbie dolls. We pretended to be young women, and with our dolls, imagined how we would dress, the jobs we would have, what kind of car we would drive, and even who we would marry. We called it “playing,” but we were also “dreaming.”  
As a former teacher and now as a superintendent of one of the largest and most successful school districts in South Carolina, I still enjoy spending time and “dreaming” with other educators. It’s still fun, but I now refer to it as “planning,” “setting goals,” and “envisioning” what could be.  
Last school year I spent time with other superintendents from school districts across South Carolina to imagine or envision what education in South Carolina should be in the future. We began with the premise that superintendents are not only responsible, but in the best position, to lead. We agreed that the direction of public education should not be legislated or determined by other elected officials outside the realm of education; it should be directed by practitioners and education leaders.
We set out to establish our beliefs and then determine an education compass, or unified direction, for public education in South Carolina. Knowing that our ideas would impact the lives of thousands of students in this state, we had to let go of our personal differences to discover our common beliefs which I’d like to share:
Purpose of Education
The purpose of public education is to ensure that each child learns to think, reason, exercise creativity and imagination, and use his or her mind well in order to make personally satisfying contributions to civic, social, and economic life.
Neither race, ethnicity, social-economic circumstance, nor geography will any longer determine the quality of any child’s public education. 
Relevant and Meaningful Learning Experiences
Children and young people flourish as a result of personalized learning experiences that have relevance and meaning for them.
Applied Skills and Processes
Personalized learning experiences involving reading, writing, and mathematics as well as problem-solving, collaboration, and creativity are required to prepare students to operate in a 21st Century global society. 
Role of Educators
An educator’s primary job is to engage students in meaningful work that results in learning.  
Shared Responsibility
The community, the family, and the school share responsibility for promoting the education of children.  
Energy Through Alliances
In the 21st Century, strong alliances between and among public educators, families, the business community, and civic leaders create the energy and sustained momentum needed for a new, dynamic system of public education. 
Superintendent Leadership
It is the obligation of superintendents to articulate a vision of the future for public education—telling the story of what could be for our children—thereby leading others to action on behalf of the vision.

After we became united in our beliefs, we started discussing current trends, forecasts, and predictions written by many different sources. We talked with and sought out opinions of a variety of respected business leaders, and then we began to envision snapshots or singular ideas of our dreams of students engaged in really meaningful learning experiences. We envisioned technology as a tool to support the experiences, and the work would be developed through and by strong family and community alliances. 
We did not write a strategic plan or list of objectives. Our goals were not to write a report that would be put on a shelf or wane with time, but to develop a vision that engages others to dream with us and to have an on-going dialogue about the direction of education with the entire community. 
I am proud of what this committee accomplished and of the support we have received. Yet, I want the entire Rock Hill community to join me in a continuous dialogue that will help us build an exciting future for every student who calls South Carolina home. 
I encourage you to visit to join the conversation. Share your thoughts and opinions through e-mail or your favorite social media outlet such as Facebook or Twitter. Then, encourage a friend, employer, grandparent, or colleagues to participate. We want to hear a multitude of voices.


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