Principal Crystal Guyton of India Hook doesn’t let the grass grow under her feet! In our opening Executive Session we heard that she was excited to recommend to the Supt. and Board that Mr. Kevin Hood, an former Rock Hill District educator who has been working in York, come on board as the new Assistant principal at India Hook. Welcome, Mr. Kevin Hood!
Below are my notes from the meeting. Other items received less conversation, and several of these will be receive votes at the Aug. 25 meeting.
3 Superintendentʹs Goals (Ref. Policy CBC) Kelly Pew
To me the most interesting part of the Public part of the meeting was the Superintendent’s preliminary recommendations for goals this year.
1. Her first goal is academic, as is the board’s first goal. She works toward:
- improving the graduation rate
- increasing end-of-course test scores (especially in history)
- achieving appropriate reading scores for all levels with special attention to lower levels and third grade
- working on elementary science and math learning
- meeting and surpassing national MAP scores compared to other states
Her second goal concerns teacher training. This will help academics, and was recommended as a necessary improvement by our accreditation agency, AdvancEd. The schools already using the recommended “Personal Learning Community” plan are already having more academic success.
Her third goal is financial, and the hope is that next year’s budget request will be balanced. The unpredictability of state funding makes this difficult, but the board has asked Dr. Pew to make cuts to balance the budget. The Instruction Department is doing an analysis of the many programs in place to find out which are producing good academic results. The Finance Department is doing a cost analysis of the same programs. District programming will be prioritized for success and productive programs will be given high priority in next year’s budget. We have been moving toward budgeting based on justifiable program and cost data, and the 2015-16 budget will be the first to prioritize programming funding based on program success.
4 Budget Priorities for 2015‐2016 (Ref. Policy DB) Jim Vining
Mr. Vining reported that the policy on budget process will begin to be used. This is a real victory for citizen participation, as the process requires much more input from the community and board. To accommodate the increased participation, the budget process is beginning now, although the finance department and superintendent have already begun studying next year’s budget.
6 AdvancED Committee Update (Section B Policies) (Ref. Policy BG, BGC/BGD) Jim Vining
The purpose of public schools is to support the entire community, even those with no children in school and unrelated to the schools in any way. Good educational institutions are absolutely critical to community economic health, and the strength of the institutions cannot be reliant on individuals in each school building, but must come from the board and administration at the community level. During the last four years the Rock Hill School Board has been able to bring about a gradual shift toward district-wide adherence to board policy. Only by policy compliance will our schools support the entire community, rather than just the community of parents and employees gathered at each school. A policy committee has reviewed and recommended updating which will increase citizen input into board decisions, improve board governance of the district and its schools, and clarify Dr. Pew’s managerial authority.
8 Policy/Admin. Rule EFE, EFE‐R ‐ Competitive Food Sales/Vending Machines (Ref. Policies BG, BGC/BGD) Luanne Kokolis
Several things concern me about district implementation of student health policies.
- no parents or school based personnel are involved in those policy discussions except through the District Wellness Committee
- that Wellness has received little support from the administration
- there has been little effort to encourage people to comply
- little education for parents and school administrators as to how this policy will help our schools and state
Student health policies have been proven to save state and school money while increasing academic performance, and I am glad we are implementing this policy. I look forward to the academic progress and lower taxes which will ultimately be its result. I hope the district administration can find a way to help principals make up the lost income from selling junk food.