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Sunday, July 31, 2011

Rock Hill School Board To Have Work Session on Aug. 1

The Rock Hill School Board will hold an extra work session in August, meeting on the first and second Monday. Topics for the meeting this Monday (August 1) are:


Matt Damon's Message To Teachers

From Diary of a Public School Teacher:

Matt Damon’s Speech to Teachers’ Rally

31JUL
I  flew overnight from Vancouver to be with you today. I landed in New York a few hours ago and caught a flight down here because I needed to tell you all in person that I think you’re awesome.
I was raised by a teacher. My mother is a professor of early childhood education. And from the time I went to kindergarten through my senior year in high school, I went to public schools. I wouldn’t trade that education and experience for anything.
I had incredible teachers. As I look at my life today, the things I value most about myself — my imagination, my love of acting, my passion for writing, my love of learning, my curiosity — all come from how I was parented and taught.
And none of these qualities that I’ve just mentioned — none of these qualities that I prize so deeply, that have brought me so much joy, that have brought me so much professional success — none of these qualities that make me who I am … can be tested.
I said before that I had incredible teachers. And that’s true. But it’s more than that. My teachers were EMPOWERED to teach me. Their time wasn’t taken up with a bunch of test prep — this silly drill and kill nonsense that any serious person knows doesn’t promote real learning. No, my teachers were free to approach me and every other kid in that classroom like an individual puzzle. They took so much care in figuring out who we were and how to best make the lessons resonate with each of us. They were empowered to unlock our potential. They were allowed to be teachers.
Now don’t get me wrong. I did have a brush with standardized tests at one point. I remember because my mom went to the principal’s office and said, ‘My kid ain’t taking that. It’s stupid, it won’t tell you anything and it’ll just make him nervous.’ That was in the ’70s when you could talk like that.
I shudder to think that these tests are being used today to control where funding goes.
I don’t know where I would be today if my teachers’ job security was based on how I performed on some standardized test. If their very survival as teachers was based on whether I actually fell in love with the process of learning but rather if I could fill in the right bubble on a test. If they had to spend most of their time desperately drilling us and less time encouraging creativity and original ideas; less time knowing who we were, seeing our strengths and helping us realize our talents.
I honestly don’t know where I’d be today if that was the type of education I had. I sure as hell wouldn’t be here. I do know that.
This has been a horrible decade for teachers. I can’t imagine how demoralized you must feel. But I came here today to deliver an important message to you: As I get older, I appreciate more and more the teachers that I had growing up. And I’m not alone. There are millions of people just like me.
So the next time you’re feeling down, or exhausted, or unappreciated, or at the end of your rope; the next time you turn on the TV and see yourself called “overpaid;” the next time you encounter some simple-minded, punitive policy that’s been driven into your life by some corporate reformer who has literally never taught anyone anything. … Please know that there are millions of us behind you. You have an army of regular people standing right behind you, and our appreciation for what you do is so deeply felt. We love you, we thank you and we will always have your back.

View his speech below:

Education Funding


Saturday, July 30, 2011

Friday, July 29, 2011

The Common Good


"imagine a situation where police protection or the fire department only responded to those who had resources to pay for those protections.

A commitment to the common good recognizes that the community as a whole benefits from these kinds of services for which everyone contributes a part.

It only takes a slight expansion of our imaginations to understand how other issues of the common good require a common commitment.

Public education is a good place to start. Those committed to the common good are not just interested in having their own children receive a quality education, but are equally interested in all children knowing how to read, do math and understand history. The whole community benefits from an educated citizenry." From Ethics DailyClick here to read the full post.

Teacher Satisfaction Highest in 25 Years

A Tampa Bay newspaper is reporting on a just released survey which shows teacher satisfaction is at a 25 year high. You can read their online report by clicking here.

The report is from the  National Center for Education Information and can be downloaded by clicking here.

There is a lot of information in the report. Some example graphs:







Types of Teachers


Thursday, July 28, 2011

Teaching


A Cup Of Coffee

I know I have a lot of vices. One of them is to have a cup of coffee and read the morning paper before any real conversation. A couple of days ago, I was out getting my paper, the sky was just showing light, and Charlie, one of my neighbors, was walking by. After the usual greetings, he said he had something he wanted to talk about but didn't have the time. But then he stopped and started talking, walked a few steps, stopped and talked some more, which turned in to a ten minute discussion. It was all about the road improvements the school district is making at Ebinport Elementary School.

What I heard was that we were wasting "his" tax dollars. He didn't want to pay taxes for road improvements and for buses. His solution: "we should not have improved the road, instead, we should have made everyone ride the bus and since we were now improving the roads, we should stop letting people ride buses."

That's an interesting argument. I must admit that I have often questioned school bus procedures which seem to have not changed much in a long time. Do we really need buses the same way they have been used for years? But then, if everybody had to ride the bus,  our roads would be safer, not to mention a huge fuel savings. Could we really make everyone ride the bus? One of the arguments for improving the roads, beside the safety improvement, was to stop parents from parking in neighboring roads to drop off and pick up their children. Anyway, it can be an interesting discussion.

And this has not been the only discussion I've had about the Ebinport project. One of my more educated friends wanted to know how many teachers had to lose their job so the roads could be built. A good question because during the budget process we kept talking about having no money and then he drives by and sees all this money being spent. Which is one of the more complicated things to explain.

To most people, money is money. But to the school district, there is Operations Money to be spent on mostly salaries and then there is Capital Money to be spent on new projects and major maintenance. The budget process talks about Operations Money and the Ebinport project is using Capital Money. Capital Money cannot be spent on Operations, but Operations money can sometimes be spent on Capital related expenses. It does get complicated.

Now for the Ebinport Project. First the bad news, most of the grass is now gone. Replaced by paved roads and parking. The picture below shows some of the new road to be used for student pick up and drop off. Hopefully, all the cars will now have room on the site and will not back up onto Ebinport Road.
A neat thing they did is in the picture below. The old Ebinport sign was in the way of the new road. They cut out the concrete portion with Ebinport embedded and moved it to the sidewalk in front of the school.
The picture below shows the entrance to the school from India Hook Road is now gone. 
The picture below shows one of the neighborhood roads where parents park to drop off and pick up students.

The picture below shows the new bus entrance to the school. It will also be used by staff to get to their new parking area. A small area of grass was saved for the Ebinport football team.

Part of the project included water retaining ponds (pic below) for water runoff control. The school had none previously.
Yet to be built, but planned, are right and left turn lanes on Ebinport Road (pic below). Hopefully this will improve traffic flow.




Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Concussion In Sports

The University of Michigan has an online course to learn about concussions. You will be required to register but the information could save a life. Click here for the link.

A Teachers Worth


School Issues On WRHI

The school board has taken a position to support the renewal of pennies for progress. Improving  roads in Rock County is a good thing for our children. For sure, if we don't approve this, the orange barrels you see will go away and our traffic issues will get much worse over time. Three county commissioners talk about the merits on the radio.

Straight Talk: 07/25/11 Britt Blackwell, Chad Williams & Bump Roddey

Monday, July  25th
County Councilmen William “Bump” Roddey, Chad Williams and Chairman, Britt Blackwell
Pennies for Progress

Palmetto Mornings: 07/25/11 Bob Norwood

Rock Hill School Board chairman Bob Norwood discusses the situation surrounding the hiring of Northwestern High School Athletic Director Lauren West.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Sunday, July 24, 2011

What To Share?


Online Professional Development

From Mrs. Pripp's blog:

Ask the Children - My Presentation for Reform Symposium 2011

I am thrilled to be invited back to present at the upcoming Reform Symposium - a free virtual conference for all people interested in education.  My first presentation on Friday July 29th 5:30 PM CST will be with the wonderful Matt Raydiscussing our New York - Wisconsin connection between our classrooms and hopefully inspiring others to reach out and create connections.  The second time I present is all by myself on Saturday July 30th 7 PM CST where I share how to set up meaningful student blogging with students.  Please join me for this wonderful opportunity to learn!


Written By Shelly Terrell


In a few days, nearly 8000 educators from over 40 different countries are expected to attend a free 3 day virtual conference, The Reform Symposium, #RSCON3. This free award-nominated e-conference is going to take place on July 29-31st, 2011. Participants can attend this online conference from the comfort of their homes or anywhere that has Internet access. This amazing conference provides educators new or currently active on social networks the opportunity to connect with educators and professionals in the field of education worldwide. With over 12 Keynotes, 80 presenters, and 3 keynote panel discussions you are bound to be inspired!

- View the schedule to plan which presentations you will attend!
- Download the flyer to share with your school!
- Watch this Youtube video of January 2011's conference!
- See if your school will count this as continuing education credit!
- Consider hosting a viewing party!

We would like to thank the incredible organizers- Shelly Terrell, Kelly Tenkely, Chris Rogers, Lisa Dabbs, Melissa Tran, Clive Elsmore, Mark Barnes, Ian Chia, Cecilia Lemos, Jerry Blumengarten, and Kyle Pace- and Steve Hargadon of Classroom 2.0 and The Future of Education online communities for making this incredible conference possible.

We hope you can join us for this incredible professional development experience!

The Super Book of Web Tools For Educators

I found this link on a Twitter post, The Super Book of Web Tools for Educators. Turns out I've been following some of the authors on the web for awhile. One statement in the book really strikes home for me, "the best teaching is always built upon relationships......No matter what technology comes into our classrooms, nothing will ever replace a good teacher. Nothing."  


The book is a great resource. No matter your technology level, you should take a look. Click here to see the book.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Friday, July 22, 2011

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Back to Basics, Back to School


Rock Hill Schools will host a "Back to Basics, Back to School" supply and shoe event in partnership with the York County Christian Chamber & Samaritans Feet International on Saturday August 6, 2011.  The event will be held at the FlexibleLearning Center located at 1234 Flint Street Ext. from 8 am - 12 noon.

Students in need are invited to attend to receive a new pair of socks, shoes, and a drawstring bag with donated supplies provided by the Office Depot Foundation. The presentation of shoes includes an opportunity for children to have their feet washed, they are invited to hear a story of hope & encouragement for their new school year.  Some of you may recall volunteering for this event in the Summer of 2008. 

We are in great need of caring volunteers to serve at this event to share affirmation, love, hope, and encouragement with our children as they start their new school year.  Volunteers may register at www.yorkchristianchamber.org, more event information is located there as well. 

In addition to volunteers, there is also a great need for donations.  The cost to sponsor a student in need is $10 per child for brand new shoes, socks, and supplies.  Donations may be made online at www.yorkchristianchamber.org or in person at the District Office located at 660 N Anderson Road, Rock Hill.

Please share this with anyone who you think may be interested in participating.  Thank you!!!

Serena H. Williams
Coordinator of Community Services
660 N. Anderson Road
direct line:    803-981-1006
fax number:  803-981-5786

Behave


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2011 Rock Hill School District Football Schedules

Click here to view and/or print out a schedule of all the Rock Hill Schools 2011 varsity football schedules.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Sites For Your Math Genius

From the Noodle blog site:

Children who are gifted in math may not be properly challenged by class work. Here are 5 free resources to stop your budding math geniuses from getting bored and keep them on their toes.

This entertaining and altruistic website donates 10 grains of rice for every question corrrectly answered on the site. So far, Freerice.com has donated 91 billion grains of rice through the World Food Programme.  

This British site offers math problems and instruction for all levels.

Khan Academy offers online classes for free in all manner of subjects and at all different levels of difficulty.

Project Euler offers a number of challenging math/computer programming problems for students looking to translate their math skills into other realms and try new ways of thinking about math problems.

The Math Dude offers tips, podcasts, and mini-lessons on math for all different levels and interests.

For more tips, click here to check out articles from the Math Insider.

Middle School Survivor


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Pie Charts


The Williams and Fudge Story

Some of you are aware of the contributions Williams & Fudge makes to the Rock Hill Schools through donations of time and resources. WRHI's Straight Talk interviewed founder and CEO of Williams and Fudge, Gary Williams, on their 25th Anniversary. An interesting story if you have not heard it:

Monday, July 18th
Gary Williams, Williams & Fudge
Celebrating 25 years in Business

Monday, July 18, 2011

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Where We Are Headed


We Get Comments

I usually do not read comments on  newpaper posts because so many of them are anonymous. People can get pretty brash when they think no one will know who they are. Therefore, I was quite surprised to find the comments below posted to facebook when Wcbl Rock Hill  listed  the Superintendent's evaluation. On facebook, you'll get a lot more information  than at the paper web site. My thanks to Russ and Jane for some positve comments. As for Grace and Taft, well, it just points out how we can be doing a better job communicating. So much of what they believe is not true, and it's our responsibility (the board's) to get the message out. Oh, and say a prayer for the teachers who deal with this every day of the school year. See the comments (items in red are close to "pants on fire". for example; I'm not aware of "pet" projects; we are not losing money everyday; we are not increasing discretionary funds for principals; everyone in the schools is feeling the impact of revenue reductions; we paid Evergreen $30,000 - about a first year teachers salary - and are budgeting in excess of $500,000 savings for next year by following their recommendations (and saving at least 10 positions); the turf on district three was an expense (which I did not support) but it was considerably less than $1 million and the turf which was removed was used at Sullivan Middle School saving some money; children were not short changed 5 days of school and in fact, Rock Hill Schools went more days than most of the school districts in the up state; everyone in the district had salary reductions - administrators, including the superintendent, had a higher reduction than teachers and; no football coach in the district is making anywhere near $165,000 - salary scales can be found online):

Grace S. G.  will not comment
Taft I will......that's a damn joke!!!
Grace S. G.  My word exactly, LMBO!! The school board must have been on drugs. Need to get all those members drinking too much Kool-Aid out of there for the future of the children.
Taft  How is it the budget is in the garbage and she is spending money on things that do not matter and she still gets an excellent rating?
Taft  
I mean really. The school board has their little pet projects that are taken care of so they make sure she stays where she is. I should run for office with the school board and shed some logic on these people. we are losing money everyday and instead of losing teachers we increase the discretionary funds of the principals, refuse to lower the pay of the football coaches, and higher staff positions. the only people feeling the pain of the budget shortfalls are children. I bet Lynn Moody's nice house isn't going unpaid for, but she has absolutely no problem laying off special ed teachers. Anyone else trying to wrap your head around this? We pay someone to come in ad do a case study of how we can save money and pay these people the equivalent of 4 teachers' annual salaries. We put astroturf on the football field and paid over a million for it. How many teachers could have been saved with that money?

Russ  
I work very closely with the Rock Hill School employees in my job. I am amazed at the wonderful things they are able to do with so little money and continuing budget cuts. I see first hand how dedicated and talented the employees are from the top down. I see them working daily miracles as they teach our children. They are able to do this inspite of how little support they get from many parents and how many times the budget is cut again. I'm afraid I would have to give the superintendent an Excellent rating unless there is one that is higher than Excellent. She is quite an Excellent Leader!

Taft  
Miracles.....Is that why my son has to take off 5 days a year and his teacher does to? When is the last time Lynn Moody took a pay cut? She needs to be replaced. the teachers are the ones that deserve all of the credit for shaping our children. Lynn Moody is nothing more than a figure head. I have met and talked with her. I have also seen companies that are higher priced and do lower quality work land contracts because no one will research them. If she is so great, explain the new turf at the stadium. Explain why her salary hasn't been touched but teachers are getting laid off and having to take unpaid days off. Explain why programs for special ed are getting cut but sports are going strong. The public has a lot of questions and no answers. The entire school board is a joke. Understanding budget cuts, they are taking money from the wrong places. Why is Ebinport Elementary getting a new parking lot? What is that costing?

Jane  I think Dr. Moody does a good job with the big picture… which is what gets the Kudos.
Taft What is the big picture??? The children are the only picture and by forcing days off she is hindering education. make cuts elsewhere and let the kids learn.
Jane  Five days off does not hinder learning. Do I agree that trimming administration is a better option? Yes! I was saying that the overall look...compared to other districts is ok.
Taft  How does it not hinder learning? Less days being taught by nature learns the amount of learning. if you cut all administrative part by 10% how much will that free up? Furthermore by cutting the bonus for national certification to stop better qualified teachers from coming to the district
Jane  You are assuming that learning only occurs at school.
Taft  No its up to the parents as well but when I past school taxes and the head person lives the high life and my sons teacher is forced to takes days off without pay then thats garbage. when the district is payinga football coach 165k a year and then whines about budget cuts that is wrong.
Jane  I agree. hiring a "green" coordinator or what ever title is wrong too.
Grace S. G.  
I hear too many horror stories from parents in my neck of the woods. A lot of folks I know if they could and could "afford it" and I have a lot of friends who already do home school, parocheol (sorry about spelling), private, etc., just to get away from the public school system. Just to get away from what the government is trying to do. If you can imagine also what the teachers are allowed to teach and what they are allowed not too teach, it is pretty sad, not just hear, all over the country. But I will admit, our county does waste too much.

Grace S. G.  I will admit to one thing.....................​.be glad we are not in Charlotte with Peter Gorman.
Angie My son is not in school anymore. Not so long ago I was having to pay $20 a session for makeup school that was MANDATORY, because the students NEEDED those hours that they were missing. Apparently now 5 days out of school is not such a big deal, as long as it bennefits the right people huh?!
Grace S. G.  Isn't that what we pay taxes for? I need to attend a meeting or go on the internet or something and figure out what our taxes from our vehicles, etc. that goes towards school pays for.
Jane  I am paying for school this summer for my child because the system failed. Unfortunately individual teacher Ability And Want to meet my child's needs is poor.
Taft  No there are a lot of things that you can attribute to that. Lack of studying, poor teaching, or even those 5 days he didnt get to go learn. You say the system failed but you are defending the very system you are saying has failed.
Jane  No I am not defending the system! I am saying Dr. Moody is doing well at the overall picture...specifics...rela​ted to my kids...no. Big picture as related to other disricts....looks great.

Changing The Classroom

I have mentioned Khan Academy before. Wired Magazine has a very good article on how some classrooms are using the Khan system to improve education. It's an interesting read which you can find by clicking here.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Rock Hill School Board Releases Statement on Superintendent's Evaluation


PUBLIC STATEMENT

In evaluating the Superintendent's 2010-11 performance, the Board acknowledges and appreciates Dr. Moody's continued extraordinary effort and dedication and awards an overall rating of excellent.

The Board and the Superintendent recognize that the District continues to face formidable challenges in the future—the necessity of improved academic achievement by all students in the face of the severe financial limitations facing our nation and state, as well as the need to continue to justify to our community the benefits and costs of an outstanding 21st century school system.

The Board and Superintendent will announce publicly the District's goals and objectives for the 2011-12 school year in the near future.

In light of the excellent evaluation and the Board's desire to maintain the continuity of quality leadership, the Board has extended the Superintendent's contract for an additional year or until 2016.

As with all of the District's dedicated and hardworking employees, the Board wishes it could award additional compensation for a job well done, but just as the District's teachers and other employees have received no pay increase, Dr. Moody will not receive an increase in pay next year.



______________________________
Bob Norwood, Board Chair

July 15, 2011  

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Should Principals Be Tech Savy?

Should Principals be Technology Savy? If they are to be instructional leaders, could they fill that role if they were not? That's a discussion in the Powerful Learning Practice blog. I'll let you go there and check out some of the references they mention.

My sister-in-law's Principal just retired. The Tryon Daily Bulletin had an article about his retirement and professional career. They didn't mention his technology skills, but did have a lot of other fine comments:

TES Principal Williams retires

Published 9:17am Friday, July 1, 2011
Holden, Isabella, Malakhi and Sydney… outgoing Tryon Elementary School (TES) Principal Walker Williams knows each student’s first name as they are etched on his heart.
Walker Williams
Walker made his retirement from TES official at the Polk County Board of Education meeting June 27. His last day was Thursday, June 30.
“I am thankful and feel blessed to have had this opportunity,” Williams told BOE members. “The students have been a joy in my life and the faculty and staff have been a great group to work with over my years at the school. I know the future will be bright for the school and I leave with much love in my heart for the students past and present.”
Teacher Ann Sellers said there would never be another like 78-year-old Williams.
“He was always on top of things and always wanted what was best for the kids,” said Sellers, who began her own teaching career under Williams 24 years ago. “He was in the cafeteria, he was in car lines, he was listening to the buses – he was Tryon Elementary.”
Teacher Pam Vining recalled how Williams’ face would light up when he saw the kids walking into school each morning or when he greeted those who ate breakfast at school.
“It makes his day to see those kids walk into that school. He really wants the best for these kids and wants them to get a good education,” Vining said. “He was just a beloved principal and principals like that don’t come around a lot.”
Though he often arrived at school at 6 a.m., wouldn’t leave until after 6 p.m. and showed up regularly on the weekends for community programs, Williams remained quiet about his accomplishments.
“He never wanted credit given to him, he always wanted his teachers to stand out and he wanted people to know the teachers and students were doing the work,” Vining said.
Sellers said Williams was one of the first people to say that after-school programs were important, long before everyone else caught on. She said Williams pulled that program together for TES even when they had to use nothing but local funds to support it.
Williams also initiated a program to take fifth-graders on college tours so they would become exposed to college environments and see that it was something that could be in their future, Vining said.
“He runs a really good school and we have really good test scores but the reason we have really good tests scores is because everyone works as a team,” Sellers said. “He trusts every teacher to do what they should do but if you need something you can ask him.”
Under Williams, TES has been named a School of Excellence every year since the award was established in 1999.
“He’s very effective, but he doesn’t toot his own horn,” Sellers said. “Even the way he announced his retirement, was just the way he was. He made an all-call, ‘This is Walker Williams, Tryon Elementary; it’s official, I’m retired.’ That’s all he said.”
Vining said she wishes Williams good health in retirement and she said she hopes he can find something to keep him occupied and happy.
“To me, for the kids of Tryon Elementary School, he’s just given so many years to us and we’re just thankful for what he’s given to us,” Vining said. “I’m letting him leave with a lot of grateful thoughts. He’s given just about his whole life to Tryon Elementary.”
Williams served a total of 45 years in public education in both South Carolina and North Carolina. Twenty of those total years were spent at Tryon Elementary.
“Mr. Williams will be greatly missed by Polk County Schools and Tryon Elementary School in particular. He has always had high expectations for himself, his teachers and his students,” said Superintendent Bill Miller. “I believe his contributions to public education are far reaching and I will miss him and his unwavering love for students.”

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