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Thursday, July 31, 2008

Rock Hill Schools Athletic Field Improvements

The Sullivan Middle School Football Field had drainage added and the grass from the District Three Stadium was moved to this site. The field is now in great shape and should be ready for play this fall.

The artificial turf has been installed on District Three Stadium.

A new field house, including restrooms has been added to Rawlinson Road Middle School's athletic fields.

An identical Field House has been added to the Sullivan Middle School's Athletic fields.

In addition to these projects, work is finishing up on Dutchman Creek Middle
School, Mount Holly Elementary School, and road improvements for India Hook Elementary and Mount Gallant Elementary Schools.

Rock Hill Schools Recognize Outstanding Volunteers

One of the more enjoyable tasks I have as a Board Member is to attend the annual Partnership and Volunteer Awards Presentation. This year was no exception as the district recognized outstanding volunteer service for the 2007 - 2008 school year. 
I had the privilege of sitting with the Rosewood Elementary folks (Teresa Conley, Mellen Shugart, Debi Smith) and it didn't take long to figure out why they were being recognized as they were talking "shop" about what they could do this year. Their enthusiasm for making the school better was contagious.
It was a great event. Below is a list of Volunteers/businesses who were recognized:
Parent Smart - Marilyn Dunn
The Children's School at Sylvia Circle Elementary - PTO Board
Ebenezer Avenue Elementary - Jenae Pannell and PTO Bingo Night Committee
Ebinport Elementary - Williams & Fudge
Finley Road Elementary - Shannon League and PTO Board
Independence Elementary - Diane Elkins
India Hook Elementary - Helen Carpenter, PTA, and Outstanding 4th Grade Moms
Lesslie Elementary - Julie Sessoms and Kristen Zajac
Mount Gallant Elementary - Heather Milley
Northside Elementary - Nelson Burson and ES&Y Auto Repair
Old Pointe Elementary - Jill Bigham
Richmond Drive Elementary - Christle Ross and Trish Shipman
Rosewood Elementary - Madeline Castro, Teresa Conley, Mellen Shugart, Debi Smith, and Kimberly Young
York Road Elementary - Melissa Oehme
Dutchman Creek Middle School - Toyota Douglas
Rawlinson Road Middle School - Winnie Crandall, Marie Williams, PTO, Williams & Fudge
Saluda Trail Middle School - Savannah Lakes Community Golf Club and Family Trust Federal Credit Union
Phoenix Academy - John and Beverly Ernandez
Applied Technology Center - 3D Systems Corporation, Charles Ferrell, Wayne Moody, and Material Handling Industry of America
Northwestern High School - Tom Kersbergen, Laura Mallard, and Friends of Northwestern
Rock Hill High School - Hailey Christmas and Lisa Hammond
South Pointe High School - Ray Lowder and Robin Williams
District Administration - Milliken Company, Steppin ' High, and York County Sheriff's Office

Questioning the Value of Remedial Education
Remedial education is expensive and controversial - but is it effective?

That's the question that two education researchers have attempted to answer
based on an analysis of nearly 100,000 community college students in
Florida. The scholars - Juan Carlos Calcagno of the Community College
Research Center, at Teachers College of Columbia University, and Bridget
Long of the Graduate School of Education at Harvard University - have
decidedly mixed results to report. There is some positive impact of remedial
education, they found, but it is limited. Their study has just been released
by the National Bureau of Economic Research.

Florida is an ideal site for research on many education questions because
the state has uniform requirements for community college students with
regard to placement testing and remedial education - and the state also
collects considerable data on what happens to students as they progress
through higher education.

In looking at the impact of remedial education, the study found that - among
those on the edge of needing remediation - being assigned to remedial math
and reading courses has the effect on average of increasing the number of
credits completed and the odds that students will return for a second year.
But while those are important factors, the report finds no evidence that
remedial education increases the completion of college-level credits or of
degree completion.

"The results suggest that the costs of remediation should be given careful
consideration in light of the limited benefits," the authors write.

At the same time, however, they note that there are benefits to students and
society of having people experience even one year of college, some of it
remedial. Further, they note that if remedial education encourages early
persistence, colleges may have the "opportunity to reach students with other
types of programming and skill development" beyond that offered now. In
terms of figuring out whether the trade-offs favor remedial programs, the
authors say that there still isn't enough evidence in, but that their study
points to the need for more detailed analysis.

"More work is needed on the effects of remediation relative to its costs,"
the authors say. The authors open their paper by noting that conservative
estimates hold that public colleges spend $1 billion to $2 billion annually
on remedial education - and that level of cost is sure to attract more

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

State Newspaper Provides SC College Rankings

School          Rank            List
Clemson University      8       Best Career/Job Placement Services     
Clemson University      8       Everyone Plays Intramural Sports       
Clemson University      1       Happiest Students      
Clemson University      1       Jock Schools   
Clemson University      20      School Runs Like Butter
Clemson University      7       Students Pack the Stadiums     
Clemson University      2       Town-Gown Relations are Great  
Clemson University      6       Best Quality of Life   
Clemson University      7       Best Athletic Facilities       
College of Charleston   15      Great College Towns    
Furman University       13      Best College Library   
Furman University       9       Future Rotarians and Daughters of the American Revolution      
Furman University       13      School Runs Like Butter
Furman University       9       Most Religious Students
Wofford College 2       Major Frat and Sorority Scene  
Wofford College 20      Professors Get High Marks      
Wofford College 13      Most Conservative Students     

Moody gets Positive Evaluation and Contract Extension - School Meals to Increase up to 30%

At the July 28 Rock Hill School board meeting, the board gave Superintendent Lynn Moody a very positive evaluation and a two year contract extension (through June 30, 2013). Dr. Moody's new annual salary will be $161,275.  The Board vote was unanimous (7-0).

Rising costs finally caught up with the school meal program (which has to operate in the black or break even). The Board accepted the administration's recommendation for meal increases and voted 7-0 for the first increase in 6 years.  Changes are as follows:

-Student breakfast to remain at $1  for elementary and secondary students

-Student lunch to increase from $1.50 to $2.00 for elementary students and from $1.75 to $2.25 for secondary students

-Adult breakfast will increase from $1.50 to $1.95 and lunch, from $3.00 to $3.25.

-Jason Johns was approved 7-0 as Assistant Principal at Northwestern High School;

- The consent agenda was approved 7-0.  Included in this were; the June 23 business meeting minutes;  personnel recommendations;

three overnight field trips for Rock Hill High; and approved distribution of Jim Vining's board compensation for July to the Dolly Parton Imagination Library.

-first-year teacher orientation will be held in the Cyber Cafe at the Flexible Learning Center August 4-8 from 9:00-4:00 daily. Orientation for teachers new to the district will be held August 11 & 12 in the Training Room in the district office.

-On Friday evening, August 1, at 6:30, Troy Evans, a nationally known motivational speaker, will be in the auditorium at South Pointe High School to present his life story on how he found himself in trouble and incarcerated after making many poor choices. He will tell how he turned his life around with the help of his family, coaches, teachers, and community leaders.  Most importantly, his message is about the power of education, a message that we should all hear!  The Rock Hill School District Foundation is sponsoring his visit to Rock Hill, so there is no admission to attend his presentation, which is open to the public.

-the newest schools, Mount Holly Elementary and Dutchman Creek Middle, will be ready on time for the beginning of school and that both schools were under budget.

The following statement was issued from the board:

Statement from Robert "Bob" Norwood, Board Chairman
Rock Hill Schools
July 28, 2008

During tonight's meeting, the Board met in Executive Session to conduct its annual evaluation of its Superintendent, Dr. Lynn Moody. The Board is pleased to report that Dr. Moody received a very positive evaluation.

We are extremely pleased with the progress the District has made during the past school year under Dr. Moody's leadership. Last year, the Board identified improving student achievement and lowering the dropout rate as two primary goals on which the District should focus. While the Board and Superintendent realize that the District will not experience a significant improvement in one year, Dr. Moody embraced these goals and established several effective programs to address them, including, among others, the Renaissance Academy, the Saturday School, the Phoenix Bound Program for overage 8th graders, and a mentoring program. The District has also created a Professional Code for all employees. We are pleased that we are on schedule to open Mount Holly Elementary School and Dutchman Creek Middle School. In the process of opening the new schools, we also rezoned the elementary, middle and high schools.

The Board wishes to express publicly its full support of Dr. Moody and her staff. The District has difficult challenges ahead which must continue to be addressed, and the challenges will remain difficult, particularly with the uncertainty of State and local funding. We will continue to monitor new and existing programs and maintain those that are working and discontinue those which are not. We are grateful for Dr. Moody's outstanding leadership, work ethic, and her commitment to the success of our District.

As a result of her positive evaluation, Dr. Moody's contract will be extended two years, or through June 30, 2013. Additionally, as provided in her contract and based on her positive evaluation, Dr. Moody will receive a salary increase, bringing her annual salary to $161,275.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Education panel appointee Julie Hershey answers critics

Here is an overview of new EOC member Julie Hershey.  Read the complete article in Sunday's State Newspaper:

Julie Hershey

Gov. Mark Sanford has appointed Hershey to the state’s Education Oversight Committee.

Occupation: Regional director for Heritage Community Services’ Upstate office. The nonprofit encourages students to abstain from sex until marriage.

Family: Married for 30 years to Ray Hershey; mother of three, grandmother of two. Lives in Greer

Age: 56

Education: Attended Grand Rapids College, Grand Rapids, Mich.

Other appointments/offices: Trustee of Anderson University, 2002-07; member, Governor’s Education Task Force, 2003-04; member, Governor’s Math and Science Advisory Board, 1994-97; Greenville County School Board, 1992-96

Three changes

Julie Hershey, newly appointed to the state’s Education Oversight Committee, would like to see more educational choices for parents, including:

School choice. Hershey says parents should be able to send their children to whatever public or private school they choose. That would require tax incentives or some other type of state funding. “Parents are in the best position to make decisions on the educational needs of their children and what’s the best school for them. They certainly know better than bureaucrats.”

More charter schools. Hershey wants more charter schools, public schools that are largely free of state laws and regulations. Charter schools can be set up by a group of parents, a church or other organization, but they cannot be religious or home-based.

More magnet schools. Hershey wants more public schools to offer specialized courses or address certain segments of students, such as single-gender schools.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

New Sullivan Principal is Blogging

New Sullivan Middle School Principal, Michael Waiksnis has started a weekly
blog/podcast. You can find it at this address: . Check it Out.

Monday, July 28 Meeting of Rock Hill Schools Trustees
Meeting of the Board of Trustees

Monday, July 28, 2008

6:00 p.m. - District Office Board Room


I. Call to Order

Approval of Agenda

(Under consent agenda, all action items will be voted on after one motion
and second to approve them without discussion. If a board member wants any
action item discussed or voted on separately, the board member, before the
agenda is approved, must ask that the action item be moved to the discussion
item section.)

II. Executive Session - Personnel Matters

III. Citizen Participation

IV. Special Business

V. Consent Action Agenda

A. Approval of Minutes

1. June 23, 2008, business meeting

B. Approval of Personnel Recommendations

C. Approval of Overnight Field Trip Requests (3; RHHS ROTC to
Kings Bay, Ga; RHHS ROTC to Dayton, OH; RHHS
Marching Band to Massillon, OH)

D. Approval of Distribution of Jim Vining's July Compensation to
Dolly Parton Imagination Library C/O the Early
Learning Partnership of York County.

VI. Communications

VII. Report of the Superintendent

A. Announcements

B. Leadership Training

C. New Teacher Induction

D. Construction Update

E. Innovation Report

VIII. Review of Work Session - No July Work Session

IX. Action Agenda

A. Approval of School Meal Prices for 2008-2009

X. Other Business

A. Board Retreat

XI. Executive Session for Personnel Evaluation

XII. Adjourn

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Johnson uses coaching experience while guiding District 50 schools
The Greenwood Index Journal had this to say about Clover native and former District Three Administrator Darrell Johnson:

By KEVIN FIORENZO/Index-Journal sports writer
Sunday, July 20, 2008 11:28 PM EDT
Greenwood School District 50 superintendent Darrell Johnson has worn many hats and owned many different positions throughout his career, but in the majority of his roles, guiding students has been the common thread.

Much of what guides the decisions Johnson makes in his current role, though, come from the lessons he learned coaching sports in his first few years out of college.

He's now in charge of administering to three high schools and middle schools and nine elementary schools, but Johnson started out as a language arts teacher and football, basketball and track coach at a junior high and high school at Clover from 1986 to 1988.

During those years, Johnson, who was also a three-sport athlete for Clover in baseball, basketball and football, developed skills he has carried over into the district office.

"As a coach you try to teach the importance of being a part of a team," Johnson said. "You also want to try to get students to strive to do their best each night.

"I've always felt that a coach is the same as a teacher. A lot of the skills that you apply to the football field you can apply to the classroom, as well."

While his work as a coach helped him reach his current position, Johnson said working as a superintendent outside of specifically sports has given him a better appreciation for the efforts of non-athletes.

"I guess as a coach I had a limited amount of players, and now I'm responsible for everyone," Johnson said. "I can see the non-athletes who are competing in sports and know they still have aspirations for success.

"There's many students that have a focus solely on academics and the arts, and that's so important to being a well-rounded individual."

Having grown up in Clover, a town that featured one stop light when he was a boy, one can see how Johnson would describe Greenwood as a much bigger town.

"Small towns are what I know," Johnson said. "Greenwood is big compared to where I came from."

Johnson excelled athletically at Clover and moved on to Winthrop, where he eventually got a degree in English. He later earned his master's degree in English and an Education Specialist degree in administration from Winthrop.

During school and once he earned his undergraduate degree, Johnson held a variety of different jobs. He spent time as a custodian at Clover Middle School, as a substitute teacher, a general assignment writer for the Rock Hill Herald and even as a Division I college basketball official, but Johnson didn't feel his personality fit those roles.

"I didn't feel like I was maximizing my potential because I was more of a people person," Johnson said. "I always reflected on how I could help and give back to others.

"I was more reactive and wanted to find a way to make a difference in the world."

After a few years at the junior high and high school in Clover, Johnson spent several years at Sunset Park Elementary School in Rock Hill as an assistant principal and then principal.

From there, he moved to the Rock Hill District 3 office, where he served as director of student services and as an assistant superintendent before eventually making it to Greenwood a little more than two years ago.

Through all the positions he's held, Johnson's goal has been to give the students he works with the best opportunities to excel.

"I believe in people, and I believe that given the right opportunity, everyone can be successful," Johnson said. "A student that does their best, that's all, as a coach or a teacher, that you can ask for."

That sort of compassion is something Johnson thinks can be the extra boost a student needs, whether it's in athletics or the classroom.

"When I was playing, if I knew that a coach cared about me, I would try a little bit harder," Johnson said. "It's the same in the classroom.

"If students believe that their teacher cares about them, they'll try a little bit more."

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Troy Evans - Bank Robber - To Speak August 1 at South Pointe

The Rock Hill School District Foundation is funding a free program on
Friday, August 1, 2008 at South Pointe High School Auditorium. Beginning at
6:30 PM, Troy Evans will deliver an inspirational message about his life of
"bad" choices and how he turned it around. Admission is free and open to the
public. Below is a little information on Mr. Evans and his message:

On November 12, 1992, Troy Evans was sentenced to 13 years in Federal
Prison. He was convicted of five armed bank robberies, in three states, over
a six-month crime spree, and was sent to the Federal Correctional Complex in
Florence, Colorado. His neighbors included such notorious criminals as
Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols. Troy was released on December 13, 1999,
over seven and one-half years later.

Despite the obstacles that only prison can produce, Troy was determined that
his time behind bars would not be wasted time. Education would be his saving
grace. After six months of filling out applications, writing essays,
begging, pleading, and selling, Troy landed his first scholarship for one
class. That was a beginning, and when Troy walked out the doors of prison he
carried with him two degrees, both obtained with a 4.0 GPA and designation
on the Dean's and President's list.

Troy is now a motivational speaker who shares his story and lessons learned
with audiences of all ages. Since his release, Evans has taken the
Corporate, Association and Education platforms by storm with his
motivational keynote speeches. Audiences are stunned by his endurance,
accomplishments and remarkable personal transformation. With
straightforward, real life examples, Evans shows how the keys to his success
in prison are the keys to his success today, and how these lessons can be
applied to escaping the "prisons within ourselves". He renews an
appreciation for what is really important in all of our lives and motivates
each and every person to overcome adversity, adapt to change, and to realize
their full potential.

With young people, Evans speaks openly on the dangers of drug use, peer
pressure and the power of responsible decision-making. His student
motivational speaking grabs the attention of today's youth by sharing what
he witnessed within the harsh environment of a Federal Prison and
illustrates how his years of incarceration can be linked to the decisions he
made as a teenager. Teen audiences are left with a wide-eyed understanding
of "consequence" and a realization that the decisions they make today have
the potential to alter their entire life.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Sanford Appoints Anti-public Education Person to Education Oversight Committee

The SC Barbecue site: ( has the following statement concerning Governor Sanford's appointee to the State EOC:

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Newest EOC member signed anti-public school pledge

Somebody please tell Gervais this is a joke.
Somebody please tell me that the newest member of the Education Oversight Committee is not a signatory of an oath against public education … a pledge that says:
"I proclaim publicly that I favor ending government involvement in education."
According to this press release (pdf), Julie Hershey of Greer is Mark Sanford's latest appointee to the Education Oversight Committee, the group charged with supervising our public schools.
But the press release neglected to mention one thing.
Ms. Hershey is a signatory of a pledge against these very same schools, according to the website of the "Alliance of Separation of School and State," the California-based group that champions the above oath. She's been a signatory since at least as far back as 2004, according to an archived version of the site.
If this scenario – the governor appointing an anti-public school oath signatory from Greer to the Education Oversight Committee – sounds familiar, there's a reason.
What the heck is going on here?

Monday, July 14, 2008

Mark Sanford Bamboozled

Speaking on live Television is not easy. When you watch this clip, does SC Beauty Queen come to mind?

Howard Rich Talks About Education

This video is about 7 minutes and is an interview with Howard Rich talking about education. There has been so much talk about him trying to run the state government is SC, I thought it would be good for you to hear him speak. You'll find he is no monster.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Dutchman Creek Leaving No Child Behind

Please help Dutchman Creek help students with needs. Go to: to vote.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Is New York Money Good For SC?

The information below comes from the blog SC Barbecue. This district includes part of the Fort Mill School District. What do you think about almost 50% of a candidate's funds coming from out of state?

Long: 40% of primary funding from Rich & friends

Optometrist Deborah Long, the Republican nominee to replace Mick Mulvaney, seems to share Mick's affinity for Howard Rich's voucher cash.

According to disclosures filed Tuesday with the State Ethics Commission, Long got 40% of her primary campaign funding from the libertarian millionaire and his associates.

Voters in District 45 didn't know this, though, because the vast majority of this cash came during the blind spot (optometry pun!) between her last public disclosure and the June 10th election.

Of course, hindsight is 20/20.

Deborah Long, House District 45
$1,000 6/02/2008 188 Claremont LLC 73 Spring Street Rm 408 NYC
$1,000 6/02/2008 332 E 11 LLC, 73 Spring Street Rm 408 NYC
$1,000 6/02/2008 The Stonecreek Group (Kevin Spillane) Sacramento, CA
$1,000 6/02/2008 4220 Broadway Inc., 73 Spring St. Rm. 408 NYC
$1,000 6/02/2008 405 49 Associates, 73 Spring St. Rm. 408 NYC
$1,000 6/02/2008 123 Lasalle Inc., 73 Spring St. Rm. 408 NYC
$1,000 6/02/2008 Joseph D Stilwell, 26 Broadway, 23rd Floor NYC
$1,000 6/02/2008 Yvonne Rich, 2111 West Road 1, Mountain Home, AR
$1,000 6/02/2008 4220 Broadway LLC, 73 Spring St. Rm. 408 NYC
$1,000 5/19/2008 Bradford Mgmt of NY, 73 Spring St. NYC
$1,000 5/18/2008 123 LaSalle Associates, 73 Spring St. NYC
$1,000 5/18/2008 Alan J. Pomerantz, 767 Fifth Ave., NYC

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Mildred Douglas on WRHI's Straight Talk

Hear Rock Hill School District Trustee Mildred Douglas address budget and
funding issues on WRHI's Straight Talk. Click the link below to listen.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Norwood Running For Re-election to Rock Hill School Board


For Immediate Release:

From:  Bob Norwood, Chairman, Rock Hill School Board

I would like to announce that I am planning to run for re-election to the Rock Hill School Board in 2008.  I have made this decision for several reasons which include:

    1. To provide continuity for our school district at a time of transition in both district office and building level leadership.
    2. To continue to push for programs that target our underperforming students, increase our overall student achievement and decrease our drop out rate.
    3. To promote programs that better prepare our students for life after high school.
    4. To help meet the budget challenges ahead due to Act 388.
    5. To continue to advocate for public education in general and specifically in Rock Hill Schools.

In addition, I still have a keen personal interest in improving the Rock Hill Schools since I still have a child in our district. 


Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Winthrop Freshmen Donate Books

ROCK HILL, S.C. Incoming freshmen brought more than a suitcase when they attended Orientation sessions at Winthrop University during June.

Each student was asked to bring a book to donate to children fed at the York County Summer Feeding Program. More than 300,000 children in York County will be given a meal during the summer and are normally on free or reduced lunch during the school year.

The university’s incoming freshmen attended one of four sessions held in June.

The book collection effort is a collaboration between Winthrop, and The Early Learning Partnership and the York County Summer Feeding Program.

Organizers said that for many children, this may their first book they have ever owned. This is also a good way to engage students in community service from the first day they are on campus.

Last year, Orientation students donated 3,216 books.

The Early Learning Partnership is a nonprofit corporation designed to support the health and academic readiness of young children in York County.

The Early Learning Partnership of York County is joining with the Dolly Parton Imagination Library to provide a free book each month to all York County children (under 5 years of age). Be on the look out for information on how you can help make this happen.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Family-Friendly Standards 2008-2009

A Guide for Parents and Families
Each guide shares important information about the South Carolina Academic Standards. These standards outline state requirements for your child's learning program and what students across the state should be able to do in certain subjects.

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