Black History Month Projects

As I have been in schools this week, I have seen a number of outstanding Black History Month projects that students are doing in conjunction with a program sponsored by the Fine Arts Center. What has really impressed me is the depth of knowledge the students doing these projects have gained. The kids I’ve talked to about their projects are truly experts on the topic they researched. I am also highly impressed with how well students used Internet resources to do their projects. This is integration of technology into learning at its very best. I look forward to attending the Heritage Tea at the Fine Arts Center on February 10 to recognize students for these excellent projects.

Today at Camden Elementary School

This morning, the electricity at Camden Elementary School was off when staff and students arrived due to a transformer problem. Although the length of time required to fix the problem was uncertain, I made the decision to not dismiss school because of concern about parents not being aware of the unforeseen situation. Luckily, the power came back on around 10:00 a.m. But we had plans in place to serve lunch and keep instruction going if the repairs had taken longer. I also sent out a Connect Ed message to inform families about this situation. The staff and student body at the school handled everything really well! Hats off to them! My thanks also to the Camden Utilities Department and to our Maintenance Department electricians for their prompt response. Great job all around!

Meeting at Doby’s Mill

I enjoyed spending time last night with the Doby’s Mill School Improvement Council and PTA Board. We had a very productive discussion about the budget and the issues impacting on the budget. It was also exciting for me to hear about all the ways in which these two groups are supporting students, staff, and families at Doby’s Mill. This kind of involvement is one of the characteristics that makes Doby’s Mill such a fantastic school!

Good luck to the Doby’s Mill Robotics team as it competes this Friday in Orangeburg!

Moving Forward

In early December, our community experienced an unbelievably tragic event. In the early hours of a Saturday morning, a young member of our community, Michael Smith, was killed in what has been determined to be a gang-related incident. I want to express my grateful appreciation to the Camden Police Department and the Kershaw County Sheriff’s Department, and especially to Chief Joe Floyd and Sheriff Steve McCaskill, for their support in the days that followed. Their professionalism under these difficult circumstances did much to calm our students, their families, and our staff. Continue reading

Jackson School on the Front Page!

In a blog entry a few weeks back, I talked about the letters I received from Ms. Marsha Hough’s class at Jackson giving me suggestions for the design of a new Jackson School. It was really nice to see an article about this on the front page of today’s Camden Chronicle-Independent. Thanks to Jade Anderson of the C-I for a great article about a fantastic class!

SCASA Winter Meeting

This past Friday, I attended the South Carolina Association of School Administrators (SCASA) statewide winter meeting. I got a great deal of very useful information, especially for someone like me who is new to the state. I was amazed at the number of folks from other districts who wanted to talk with me about the i-Can laptop initiative and how this initiative is going to position Kershaw County in terms of using the statewide wireless capabilities being developed by South Carolina ETV. I was also pleased to hear State Superintendent Dr. Jim Rex talk about his proposals to streamline and improve the state testing program. His proposals in this area will shortly be under consideration by the General Assembly. I came away from this meeting with a very strong sense of why it is so important to follow, understand, and participate in the state’s legislative process. This year’s General Assembly will be making a number of important decisions concerning education in both fiscal and other areas. These decisions have powerful impact on what happens in our district.

A Very Good Meeting

I had a very stimulating couple of hours last evening meeting with the Parent Cabinet. We talked about a variety of issues, including the budget, school safety issues, and technology, among many others. I really value the opportunity for the give and take that meeting with this group provides. I always learn a lot! The oatmeal raisin cookies provided by the NCHS cafeteria staff were awesome! (LIke I need to be eating oatmeal cookies, but they were just too good to pass up!)

I’m looking foward to meeting with the Doby’s Mill School Improvement Council this coming Monday evening.