Monthly Archives: September 2015

Listening to Our Students

As a superintendent, I consider students and parents to be the most crucial stakeholders in the K-12 education arena. Students and parents at the heart of our work.

That said, this week, I had my first Superintendent’s Student Advisory Council meeting for this school year. This group is composed of students from various grade levels from all of our high schools. A few of the students were new to the group, so they did a lot of listening and watching their fellow students. I commented that “this is a tough crowd.” In short order, the conversation flowed more freely and the personality, individually and collectively, of the students began to appear.

I saw personality traits of leadership – a desire to improve their respective schools and communities; pride and accomplishment – wanting all high schools in Richland One to be recognized and celebrated for their accomplishments; personal growth – wanting more information about scholarships and higher education options and opportunities;  and self-esteem – more encouragement for their learning and striving higher.

These are just a few of the areas and topics of discussion that we had. It is a great group of students! However, what was most impressive is that not only did the group share thoughts and give feedback on areas of interest for themselves but also for their peers at their respective schools. That is most impressive part – they recognize this responsibility!

I look forward to the next meeting of the Superintendent’s Student Advisory Council and hearing their perspectives. Thank you to our students for your honest feedback and discussion!

My First Twitter Chat

Effective and ongoing two-way communication is and always has been important for any business or organization. Today, in this time of social media, it is critical.

With this in mind, I had my first live Twitter Chat on Monday evening. I must say that I hope it was as exciting for those who participated as it was for me … I had a ball! Participants in the online conversation included district employees, parents, community members and others from near and far – that’s the beauty of social media. I also learned that there were some who followed the chat but did not participate. I hope to hear from those individuals during the next one.

Questions and comments covered areas such as our Digital Learning Environment (DLE) initiative, increasing student attendance, goals for Richland One and even my favorite book as a child.  While the Q&A was very good, what I consider to be most important is the fact that we have created yet another opportunity for us to communicate, collaborate and share information and ideas with our stakeholders.

I want to thank our Communications and IT staff and our resident Twitter guru, Jordan Slice from the Office of Accountability, Assessment, Research and Evaluation (AARE), for their assistance and support with my first Twitter Chat. It was a team effort indeed. In case you missed it, we will do it again soon!

Talking with Teachers

This week, I had an opportunity to speak with members of our Teacher Forum. This group is composed of teachers who have represented their schools as Teachers of the Year within the past two years. These teachers are passionate about the profession and committed in their desire to make a positive difference in their schools and Richland One.

At the first Teacher Forum meeting of this school year, I wanted to get the teachers’ feedback on how I, as superintendent, can make their roles easier as they work with our students. Members of the group offered feedback on the rollout of our Digital Learning Environment (DLE) initiative, as well as the importance of and sometimes the difficulties surrounding student attendance issues.

We all agree that poor school attendance is most likely a symptom of other issues rather than merely being a problem in and of itself. The same can be said for school suspensions. As such, we will be working on how to determine and address some of the root causes, while maintaining safe and conducive learning environments in our schools. Moreover, we want to take full advantage of the internal and external community resources to help students and families, if needed.

I appreciate the high caliber of teachers that we have in Richland One and look forward to working the Teacher Forum to continue move us forward on behalf of our students.

A Great Team

Earlene Scott has been a bus driver in Richland One for 35 years. It’s a job she loves and she recognizes just how important it is for her to do her job well.

Earlier this week, The State newspaper profiled Ms. Scott for her impressive record as a bus driver. In the 35 years that she’s been transporting students to and from school, she has not had one accident. She treats the students who ride her bus as if they were her own children.

“Once these kids get on the bus, they’re my kids, so I’m responsible for them and their safety means everything,” Ms. Scott said.

On Monday, September 7, Richland One schools and offices will be closed for the Labor Day holiday. For many, Labor Day signals the end of the summer, but the purpose of the annual observance is to honor workers for their contributions.

Ms. Scott is a wonderful example of our more than 4,000 employees in Richland One who are dedicated to providing the knowledge, skills and support that our students need to be successful in school and in life. We have a great team!

Congratulations to Ms. Scott and thank you to all of the members of the Richland One team for your hard work throughout the year.

To all of our students, parents, staff and community members, have a fun and safe Labor Day weekend!