Lugoff-Elgin Yearbook Nationally Recognized

I was very, very pleased to hear that the Lugoff-Elgin High School yearbook, Kaleidoscope, has been chosen as one of the select few nationwide to be included in the 2010 edition of Wadsworth Publishing Company’s prestigious publication, Possibilities.  This book showcases the country’s best work in high school yearbooks.  Only 187 yearbooks are included in Possibilities, which highlights what an honor this if the the L-E yearbook staff.  Outstanding work by teacher Jenny Proctor and her students!!!!

Football Night In Kershaw County

How about those Demons, ‘Dogs, and Knights!!!!  Last night, all three Kershaw County teams scored big wins.  Lugoff Elgin beat South Florence in an overtime thriller, Camden came from behind to beat Marlboro County, and North Central closed out its season with a convincing win over C.A. Johnson.  Great night!

A Very Good Thursday…..

Lots of good things yesterday….

While at Blaney Elementary in the morning, I visited Tonya Jackson’s science class, where Ms. Jackson, dressed as Albert Einstein no less, used a spooky Halloween story to do a culminating unit activity on blood….Really creative and fun.

In the early evening, I got to see part of the “Spooktacular” done by the North Central High School drama classes.  It was outstanding, especially given that many of the students involved had never been on stage before.  Congratulations to drama teacher LeAnna Wilson Flynn and her students! 

I finished the evening speaking to the Kershaw County Black Caucus.  I always enjoy and value the opportunity to spend time with this group and I appreciated Mr. Clifton H. Anderson’s invitation to do so.

North Central Volleyball

I was able to see some of the second round volleyball playoff match between the North Central Lady Knights and St. Joesph (from the Upstate) last evening.  I’ve been extremely impressed with North Central all season because this group plays team volleyball about as well as I’ve ever seen it done at the high school level.  Although the Lady Knights lost a tough match, it doesn’t take a bit away from what has been an outstanding season.  Congratulations to Coach Andy Johnson and his team!  (I was also extremely impressed by the cheering section of North Central students!)

Visiting Schools….

It was fun making an impromptu appearance on the morning  news show at Midway Elementary yesterday.  The students who do the show do an excellent job!

I also got to spend a few minutes watching Camden native Claire Bryant several of her friends performing a strings concert at the Continuous Learning Center.  They did an amazing job of blending classical music with more contemporary music.  Great stuff!

Information On State Education Department Staffing

Information I received today that might be of interest…

To:         South Carolina Department of Education Employees

From:      State Superintendent of Education Jim Rex

RE:         SETTING THE RECORD STRAIGHT – SC Dept of Education employees and funding

Since the number of employees in the South Carolina Department of Education and the department’s operating budget have become issues in the gubernatorial campaign debates, let me set the record straight on several points that have been raised:

(1) The Department of Education does not have 1,179 employees.  As of September 1, 2010 the agency had 883 employees.  Of that number, about half work in school bus maintenance shops located across the state.  The 1,179 figure is the number of FTEs approved for the agency, not the actual number of staff members. 

(2) Cutting the Department of Education’s budget would not eliminate the teacher layoffs or furloughs that have been enacted by local school districts.*  The department’s Columbia-based administrative offices operate on a budget that’s less than 2% of total K-12 funding in South Carolina.  Another 2% pays for statewide school bus operations and for textbooks.  The general fund appropriation to operate the department has been cut more than 40% in the past two years.  

(3) The Department of Education has already cut its operational costs by reducing our number of employees by 200 over the past two years.  Additionally, our employees were furloughed for a week (5 days) last year and another 10 days this year.

 (4) To my knowledge, I am the only state constitutional officer to voluntarily take furlough days (15 days of unpaid leave) in response to the state’s funding shortfalls.  

* If the agency eliminated its entire professional staff, the amount of money saved would only fund about 10% of the teaching jobs lost.

Monday Notes

Six years ago, Kershaw County resident Clifton H. Anderson began mentoring a group of fifth graders from Bethune Elementary School.  He has continued working with this group as they have progressed through middle school and into high school.  They’re now in the eleventh grade.  I enjoyed stopping by while Mr. Anderson met with the students at North Central High School yesterday.  Mr. Anderson has truly made a difference with these young people.  He is a shining example of what one person can do.

I also enjoyed visiting Ms. Annette Lesher’s science class at North Central Middle School yesterday.  I got to see the work the students were doing to prepare presentations on weather.  Pretty impressive stuff!

Thanks to our Teacher Forum for the work it did to put on a forum last evening for both House 79 and the State Superintendent for Education candidates.  I am really pleased to see teachers getting involved in a positive way in the political process.