Monthly Archives: February 2017

We’ve Got It!




Last week, I had an opportunity to update our students, parents, employees, community members and other stakeholders on all the great things happening in Richland One during my annual State of the District Address. Thank you to everyone who turned out the evening of February 9 at W.A. Perry Middle School to join us in celebrating our successes.

During my remarks, I highlighted some of our many Points of Pride, including an increase in our graduation rate (up 13.9% since 2010) and a decrease in our dropout rate (50% decrease between 2009 and 2013), along with more than $61 million in scholarships  and other financial aid earned by the Class of 2016.

The State of the District Address also provided me with a chance to talk about the many choices we offer our students in Richland One. If you want STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) and STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics), we’ve got it. If you want rigor in terms of International Baccalaureate and Advanced Placement programs, we’ve got it. If you want college credit while still in high school, we’ve got it. If you want Montessori education, we’ve got it. If you want Chinese, French, Spanish, German or Latin, we’ve got it.

This week (February 15), we joined with officials from Cummins, Inc. in kicking off a partnership to establish the company’s first-ever Youth Technician Apprenticeship Program (the pictures above are from the ribbon-cutting ceremony). Through the program, students at Heyward Career and Technology Center will receive classroom instruction and hands-on training for high-paying jobs in the diesel industry. The partnership with Cummins (a global manufacturer, distributor and service provider of diesel and natural gas engines) will provide yet another choice and even more competitive advantages for our students.

In Richland One, we’ve got it!

(Note: The State of the District Address is airing on Richland One TV (Time Warner Cable channel 12) and it can be viewed via ROTV On Demand at

Learning Comes In Many Ways

This week, I had an opportunity to go to Carver-Lyon Elementary School to observe the school’s Chinese New Year festival! Students joined with Chinese performers who sang, danced and drummed. The students were able help interpret songs as well provide other feedback during the performances. Following those selections, students participated in their own Chinese New Year parade in the halls of the school, with costumes and all.

Carver-Lyon is home of the Richland One Language Immersion Program. The pre-K and kindergarten students in the program are taught in English and in Mandarin Chinese or Spanish. This is the first year of the program, which will expand next year to include first grade.

We appreciate the work that is being done in the Language Immersion Program and the wonderful educational experiences our students are having in learning other languages and learning about other cultures. Whether it is New Year’s Day or a regular school day, learning comes in many ways.

Empowering the Village

This week, we held two Parent Empowerment for Student Success meetings. We shared district data and we talked about the various instructional strategies, tools and resources that teachers and schools use to facilitate learning at all grade levels: pre-K and early childhood, elementary, middle and high. Parents had an opportunity to see how all of the skills and expectations are stacked up and build upon each other. (We call this vertical articulation in education-speak).

The presentation also gave parents an opportunity to see how important that what happens at the very earliest of ages and grades can impact a child’s academic path through high school. We also shared information about the support systems at all levels that we use to help students succeed and achieve mastery of standards. Just as we do with students, it is important to make the connections to see how all of this fits together.

And speaking of fitting together, our staff shared valuable information about how parents, caregivers and others can support student learning and engagement from the early years through high school and beyond. This can include reading to and with a child or having their child create a science question while grocery shopping. We also provided parents with a guide with strategies to use to support and continue what we do in the classroom.

We take student achievement and our goal of improving outcomes for all of our students very seriously and will continue to reach out for all stakeholders to support us in this regard. So, don’t worry if you were not able to attend the sessions this week. The parent guides will be made available online, at schools, child care facilities and other educational partners.

We are all a part of the educational village!