I had reading and sharing opportunities at various schools recently. Those schools include Gadsden Elementary, Hand Middle and Horrell Hill Elementary. I must emphasize reading and sharing. We know that one way to ensure learning is to focus conversation and dialogue around topics. Whether it was books about a giant cabbage, Duke Ellington or subway stops in living rooms, sharing and discussing the stories we read allowed for deeper conversations. It also allowed us all to make better connections with each other as well as with what’s on the page.
In Richland One, I appreciate the dialogue, questions and discussion with students across the district. Our students display deep thinking, imagination and creativity. What great things to share!
Last week, I had the opportunity to have “tea” with students at Brockman Elementary School as a part of its life skills activity for the month. This month’s theme is caring. Students discussed etiquette, manners and examples of things we can do to demonstrate caring, even with those whom we may not know. After a thoughtful discussion about caring for one’s self and others, including our pets, it was time for tea!
We shared “tea” (actually apple juice) and cookies, and we had a wonderful time. It’s great to know that acts of caring happen every day all around us and it makes us feel better when that occurs. Thanks, Brockman, for a great morning and for caring!
On Thursday, Richland One celebrated the 20th anniversary of the Challenger Learning Center. The center, located adjacent to the W.A. Perry Middle School on Barhamville Road, serves as a hands-on learning site for aerospace flight simulations and related activities. It is one of 40 such centers across the country and the only one of its kind in South Carolina.
The Challenger Learning Center is truly a point of pride for the district, especially because NASA Administrator Charles F. Bolden, Jr. is a graduate of C.A. Johnson High School and Challenger 51-L crew member Dr. Ron McNair was a South Carolina native.
Celebrating our students’ accomplishments as a part of the Challenger Learning Center’s 20th anniversary was quite extraordinary. Students from W.J. Keenan High School were recognized for winning the space flight experiments program competition and the USC McNair Center’s engineering contest. Kudos to the students and to Mrs. Kirstin Bullington, their science and engineering teacher.
The celebration helped to make the connection between the importance of what happens in the classroom and being immersed in real-world activities to the possibilities that exist far away. Thanks to Dr. Carolyn Donelan, the center’s lead flight director, and her staff for helping our students make these most important connections.
This week, we held the second of three appreciation events for our new teachers. This particular event was tweaked because I wanted to hold it in a smaller venue not only to celebrate and show our appreciation for our new teachers, but also to give them an opportunity to share with us at the same time.
The teaching profession is not an easy one. It’s giving of one’s self to impart knowledge and skills to all of the students that enter our schools and classrooms. This is done regardless of what students have faced prior to coming in the door. It is passion, commitment and so much more! Teaching is one of the most important professions, as all future roads lead through education. That said, our teachers, new and veteran, are to be congratulated.
Back to the event: Our new teachers had an opportunity to give remarks about their respective schools, students or teaching in general. They talked about the feeling they got when making breakthroughs with students, every day being a different, unexpected opportunity, and the support from their colleagues. Even in the midst of struggles and the “newness,” the smiles were still there and the passion was evident!
Whether through second careers or directly from the university, the first year is a learning experience from which to build upon. We want to support their growth as educators.
On behalf of our students, thanks to the new teachers in Richland One!