Monthly Archives: June 2015

A Vision for Teaching and Learning in a Digital Environment

While Richland One has kicked off the first phase of our Digital Learning Environment initiative (or DLE) at the high school level, this summer we wanted to take an opportunity to revisit our vision for digital learning.

 As a result, we invited students, parents and staff to engage in dialogue around the role of technology in education and other related topics. Appropriately enough, this dialogue took place in large and small groups as well in a digital space at the same time.  

Technology is a tool, albeit a very important tool, that allows students and teachers to interact with information and each other in a personalized and enhanced manner. This definitely will be beneficial as they move through our schools and in life in the 21st century.

In Richland One, we are taking this summer to build upon the lessons learned at our high schools in order to be more effective in moving forward at the middle and elementary levels. The student feedback is most informative in this process.

Learning takes place in many ways and we are looking forward to the digital journey ahead!

Summertime Is A Busy Time

The school year ended a few weeks ago and our students can enjoy the leisurely, albeit hot, days of summer – but the summer is not so leisurely for some of our staff in Richland One.

As soon as the school year ends, we focus on getting ready for the upcoming school year. Our summer work includes staffing the schools, making facility repairs and upgrades at various school sites across the district, and providing training and professional development for teachers and administrators.

Additionally, we use this time to analyze data and other information to position ourselves to support high student achievement. This summer, we also will be preparing for the rollout of our digital learning environment (DLE) initiative to the middle grades.

So, as you can see, a lot of activity occurs in the district during the summer months. Over the next few weeks, I will share more details about our back-to-school preparations in various areas.

Stay cool, enjoy the summer and know that we are busy working to ensure that we are fully prepared to receive our students when the new school year begins on August 17. It’ll be here before we know it!

Free School Meals for All Students

Last week we had the official kick-off for the Summer Food Service Program through which children ages 18 and under can go to designated sites in the Columbia area and across the state to get free healthy and nutritious meals during the summer.

This week we announced that when the 2015-2016 school year begins in August, all 24,000 Richland One students will be able to eat breakfast and lunch free at school at no cost to them or their families, regardless of their family income.

The response to that announcement has been overwhelmingly positive. Here are just a few of the comments made via social media:

“Wonderful news! It’s been a long time in the making!”

“They will be serving more local produce, this is a win for local farmers! I’m proud of the district for looking out for our kids.”

“Great job, Richland 1!”

The Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) was authorized by Congress as part of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. Districts participating in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National School Lunch and Breakfast Programs that have a high percentage of students who qualify to receive free or reduced-price meals can choose to implement CEP as an alternative to collecting individual school meal applications. The level of federal funding for CEP districts’ meal programs is determined by using information from other programs, including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

In Richland One, more than 72 percent of our students are eligible for free or reduced-price meals based on their household income.

The district’s implementation of CEP means that parents who have been paying for their children’s school meals will save $400 or more per child each year. Parents also will not have to complete applications or any other paperwork.

CEP will be a tremendous benefit for all of our students and their families. We look forward to even more of our students eating the healthy and nutritious meals served in our school cafeterias … and at no charge.

No Child Should Go Hungry

In giving remarks at a news conference yesterday at Burton-Pack Elementary School, Richland One Board Vice Chairman Vince Ford challenged the community to identify and work together to prevent “never events,” things that should never happen to children.

One of those never events, he said, is that no child should go hungry.

The news conference was held by Richland One and the South Carolina Department of Education’s Office of Health and Nutrition as the official kick-off of the 2015 Summer Food Service Program.

Through the program, children ages 18 and under can receive free summer meals at more than 80 designated sites across the state, including schools, churches and parks. Richland One has provided summer meals to children in this community and surrounding areas for more than 25 years.

The need for the program is great. In South Carolina, more than 500,000 children live in households below the poverty level and may be at greater risk of food insecurity when schools are not in session during the summer.

I want to commend Ms. Imogene Clarke, our Student Nutrition Services director, for her advocacy and commitment to ensuring that children receive nutritious meals throughout the school year and during the summer. We also extend our thanks to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the S.C. Department of Education and the Southeast United Dairy Industry Association (SUDIA) for their partnership and support of the Summer Food Service Program.

For a list of Summer Food Service Program sites, go to or call 1-866-3-HUNGRY (1-866-348-6479).