Transition Fair A Big Success

This past evening’s first Transition Fair for Special Needs students and their families was a big success.  I was tremendously pleased with the excellent turnout and the enthusiastic participation of the service providers who were there.  Kudos to Tarry McGovern, Lisa Carter, and our entire Special Education staff for all the time and effort they invested to get this event organized!

Special Olympics Basketball Tournament

The Special Olympics Basketball Tournament over at Lugoff-Elgin High School today was an outstanding event! Lots of fun for the participants and tremendous involvement by the classmates of the participants! Special kudos to Ms. Kathleen Ross for her leadership in making this wonderful event happen!!

http://www.wltx.com/sports/special-olympics-basketball-tournament-held-thursday/100298100

Mr. Andy James

I was very saddened to hear of the passing of Mr. Andy James.  Mr. James was a long-time educator in our community and served with much distinction on the Kershaw County Board of School Trustees.  Mr. James’ life and career meant a great deal to countless people here in Kershaw County.  He will be very much missed.

All-Midlands Wrestling Team

It was great to see so many Kershaw County wrestlers named to the State newspaper’s All-Midlands Team, including Michael Boone (North Central), Devin Wilson (Lugoff-Elgin), Taylor Catoe (Lugoff-Elgin), Ricky Hinson (North Central), Noah North (Lugoff-Elgin, also a State Champion), Brailyn Woods (North Central), Nick Payne (Lugoff-Elgin), Deaunte Samuel (North Central), and Seth Ham (Lugoff-Elgin, also a State Champion).  This is the largest number of Kershaw County wrestlers recognized by the State newspaper that I can remember.  Great job!

Winter Guard Teams Place Impressively

I was extremely pleased and proud to learn that two Lugoff-Elgin High School Winter Guard teams placed impressively at this past Saturday’s state competition in Colleton County.  The Utopia team, made up of all high school students, took third place in their division.  The Genesis team, made up of middle and high school students took second in their division.  Great work!!

Legislative Update – March 18, 2016

It was a busy week at the statehouse with both the House and Senate K-12 subcommittees meeting. Please note that the House will take up H.3579 (Transportation Infrastructure Bank) after it completes work on the Budget (H.5001). As a reminder H.3579 removes $400 million from the general fund.  Any reduction to the General Fund will negatively affect education funding.

On Wednesday, March 16th, Superintendent of Education Spearman presented her budget request to the Senate K-12 Finance Subcommittee. Specific budget requests are as follows:

  • Increasing the Base Student Cost from $2,220 to $2,370
  • Teacher Salary Supplement – $23.18 Million
  • Summer Reading Camps $1.5 Million
  • Bus Driver Salaries: $19.2 Million
  • School Bus Lease-Purchase: $34 Million
  • Instructional Materials: $41.7 Million
  • K-12 Technology: $29.3 Million
  • Technical Assistance to Districts: $4.2 Million
  • Rural Teacher Recruitment: $8 Million
  • Full Day 4K Instructional Costs: $1.1 Million
  • Read to Succeed: $257,400
  • Teacher Supply: $750,000
  • Technical Assistance – AdvancED: $2.5 Million
  • Statewide Facilities Assessment: $1.5 Million

Please note the above is the Department’s request to the Senate and is not a final version of the budget; the House will begin debate on its version of the Budget the week of March 21st.

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

On Tuesday, March 15th, the Ways and Means Licenses, Fees, Insurance Tax and Other Charges Subcommittee met to address the following bill:

H.4416 (Exemptions from Impact Fees) adds exemptions from impact fees for building new elementary, middle, and high schools. The bill received a favorable report.

On Wednesday, March 16th, the House K-12 Subcommittee and Full Education and Public Works Committee met to address the following items:

H.4933 (Charter School Composition) specifies that a charter school must report information concerning its racial composition and the degree to which the school complies with requirements concerning its racial composition. This bill failed to receive a favorable report in the K-12 subcommittee.

H.5024 (Literacy Coaches and Teachers) is a joint resolution to require that before the 2016-2017 school year, the State Department of Education shall provide all literacy coaches and literacy teachers in grades K-3 with training on dyslexia, including evidence-based dyslexia screening, instructional methods, and interventions. This bill received a favorable report from the K-12 Subcommittee and also received a favorable report from the full Education and Public Works Committee.

SENATE

On Wednesday, March 16th, Superintendent Spearman presented her budget request to the K-12 Finance Subcommittee – see above for details.

On Thursday, March 17th, the Senate K-12 subcommittee addressed the following items:

S.1014 (Assignment and Start Date) amends the code relating to state that a teacher must be informed of his/her tentative teaching assignment on or before August eighth; also amends the code to relating to school start date to state that the opening date for students must not be before the second Monday of August.

The bill was amended to require that the start date may not be before the 15th of August.  Additionally, the bill was amended to state, beginning with the 2017-2018 academic year, each school district shall schedule and administer the statewide standards based assessments in English/language arts, mathematics, social studies and science, and the college readiness assessment and WorkKeys assessment during any five of the final twenty instructional days according to the district’s annual school calendar established by its board. SCASA is continuing to work to increase flexibility around the school start date. This bill was reported favorably as amended.

Arts And Literature

I thoroughly enjoyed walking through the Youth Arts Month exhibit over at the Fine Arts Center this morning.  A very impressive showing of the artistic talents of students from across the District.  Well-worth the time to see!  Great stuff!

Also appreciated the invitation to Author’s Lunch over at Lugoff-Elgin High, which featured author Megan Miranda. (During lunch, I had a delightful conversation with two students about what they were reading  Great fun!.)   Ms. Miranda spent the day at LEHS talking to students about writing and the writing process.  It’s really good thing for students to hear from a real author about writing.  Kudos to librarian Anne Lemieux for making this happen!