Maps of Ginny’s District

Below are links to various maps of Ginny’s Rock Hill Schools district, which is technically called Seat Two of Rock Hill School District Three in York County.

Ginny’s district with main roads marked. If you live in the colored area, you can vote for Ginny at the locations listed. If you don’t live in this area, tell your friends in the area to vote for Ginny.

Middle School attendance zones in Ginny’s district. Ginny will be on your ballot if you live in the area bounded by red.  Students in your neighborhood may go to Dutchman Creek, Rawlinson Road, Saluda Trail, or Sullivan for sixth, seventh and eighth grades.

High School attendance zones in Ginny’s District. Ginny will be on your ballot if you live in the area bounded by red.  Students in your neighborhood may go to high school at Northwestern, Rock Hill High, or South Pointe.

Elementary School Zones in Ginny’s District. Ginny will be on your ballot if you live in the area bounded by red.  Students in your neighborhood may go to elementary school at Ebinport, Finley Road, India Hook, Mount Gallant, Old Pointe, Richmond Drive, Sunset Park, York Road or one of the Rock Hill Elementary Schools of Choice.

All of Rock Hill Schools Voting zones. If you live in either the gray or yellow area in Seat Two (bounded by red) Ginny will be on your ballot.

Map of Ginny’s zone with precincts and voting locations. If you live in the area marked yellow, Ginny will be on your ballot.

 

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Visit a school – It’s fun!

SchoolVisitDid you attend school in Rock Hill? Do your children or children of friends attend school here? Are you out of school and just interested to see what the school down the street is like? State law requires School Board Trustees to visit schools, and though you can make an appointment and visit any schools, one way the district makes it easier for all of us is by organizing public visits to each school. Last year’s visits were fun, interesting, and educational, and I hope you can join us for a visit or two. No need to make a reservation, but do bring a government issued ID to fulfill our safety rules. The legal requirement for Trustee visits, from the South Carolina Code of Laws, is below, and below that you can view and print this year’s schedule. Thanks to Superintendent Kelly Pew and all our Principals for organizing these visits for the public to the Rock Hill Schools with their staff members.

SECTION 59-19-90. General powers and duties of school trustees. The board of trustees shall also . . . (6) Visit schools. Visit the public schools within its district from time to time and at least once in every school term and take care that they are conducted according to law and with the utmost efficiency;

 

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“The South Pointe Way”

South Pointe SealThe South Carolina Code of Laws, Section 59-29-10, requires that public schools teach “morals and good behavior.” In Rock Hill Schools, Principal Al Leonard at South Pointe High and his staff are fulfilling that requirement through “The South Pointe Way.” The weekly email newsletter “Stallion Stampede” included the “School-Wide Expectations” below. Thanks, South Pointe leadership! http://ginnymoe.net/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/THE+SOUTH+POINTE+WAY+BANNERS+FOR+SCHOOL+WIDE+EXPECTATIONS+pdf+version.pdf

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Reading in Rock Hill Schools

starwars_reading_legoHere is an answer I gave to a question about Rock Hill Schools reading interventions.

Hello,

I wanted to get back to you about the Rock Hill Schools and reading which were discussed on Sunday at our NAACP meeting. I asked about this at our board meeting and some of it is from the meeting report on my website and other district discussions.

This year each Elementary School has a full time teacher assigned to give extra reading help instead of assigned to a class. The state paid for a Reading Coach in each Title I school (those schools with the highest number of children whose lunches are subsidized), to support new laws passed. In all the other Elementary Schools, the state paid for a half-time Reading Coach, and the district pays the other half of the salary. The Coaches give teachers professional training so that they continue to improve in teaching reading to all students. The other half of their work-time these reading teachers are working with students on reading, and are using the Reading Recovery program, which is pretty intensive intervention and proven to have results.

The schools with the most need for volunteers to help with reading would probably be the Title I elementary schools, however with over 50% of the students in Rock Hill receiving subsidized meals, all schools have low income and at-risk children attending. Title I schools identified in 2013-14 were Belleview Elementary, The Palmetto School at Children’s Attention Home, Ebenezer Elementary, Finley Road Elementary, Independence Elementary, Northside Elementary School of the Arts, Oakdale Elementary, and Rosewood Elementary.

All elementary schools had a summer reading program of some sort, and some of the middle schools did also. In middle schools and high school there are instructional coaches who help students at risk of falling behind, and often they are helping particularly with reading. The students in the upper levels who do not read well are there because there is so much risk of them dropping out if they are held back a couple of times, and teachers have not had the help in the classroom to bring them along and keep with their class when they fall behind. If a twelve year old still cannot read third grade literature, it is very difficult to help them in a class full of nine-year-olds unless the teacher has extra help. it is hoped that these extra reading coaches and reading recovery teachers will give some extra help.

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8-25-14 School Board Business Meeting report

RH3 logoSeveral items produced substantial discussion before the formal votes, and comments are summarized below.

Lease renewal for HeadStart

The Headstart is housed in a Rock Hill School District facility. The rent is $1 per year, and Headstart takes care of utilities and some maintenance. Outside maintenance of the property costs the district about $50,000 per year, but saves district funds which would be spent on underprepared kindergarten students who would need special teaching without the Headstart program. The board voted to extend the expiring rental agreement for six months. I have requested a discussion about longterm usage of the building. The Board’s first responsibility is to the district, but I would hate to lose Headstart, which gives many students a better academic start than they would have without the program.

Issuance of General Obligation Bonds to cover Capital items previously approved

In order to gain better rates, some of the financing will be handled differently than originally planned, so the board needed to vote to approve the details of the changes. The administration has recommended that the board approve bonds but wait to issue them until rates are very favorable, and the board has sensibly voted to do that, to save the district money. It is a sound financial plan, but it has caused funding for some capital items to be so late that the items cannot be used in the year they are funded. They are capital purchases, so they will be used in future years, but I was assured that there is a mechanism in place to allow purchases of approved capital items prior to issuance of bonds.

The opening of school report was more detailed than I remember in the past, and I appreciate receiving the administration’s information.. Formal student numbers are reported to the state for day 15 of the school year, but the four day report give us an idea.

  • The district has 17,627 students right now, up by 74 from the end of last year
  • 171 employees were hired since April

Of those 171

  • 126 are new certified people (teachers), among them 43 brand new teachers, which is down from 57 last year
  • 7 are administrators
  • 38 are non-certified (support personnel)

The 2014-15 budget included $1,300,000 for new special education personnel, and the board was worried that finding them after such late approval was going to be a problem, so Ms. Partlow made an extra report on special education hiring. She hopes all spotswill soon be filled, but the administration does not want to fill them unless they are confidant the applicant will work out.

  • 2 of the 3 new psychologist positions have been filled
  • All 6 resource teachers have been hired
  • Both speech therapists have been hired
  • Both new American sign language interpreters have been hired

Dr. Jaworowski’s report on new assignments of Reading Coaches and Reading Recovery Teachers is summarized below.

Each Elementary School has a Full Time teacher assigned to give extra reading help this year. The state paid for a Reading Coach in each Title I school (those schools with the highest number of children whose lunches are subsidized), to support new laws passed. In all the other Elementary Schools, the state paid for a half-time Reading Coach, and the district hired them full-time and pays the other half of the salary. The Coaches give teachers professional training so that they continue to improve in teaching reading. The other time the reading teachers are working with students on reading. This should help Rock Hill students to reach on-level reading scores by third grade, which is a new state requirement for passing to fourth grade.

Not passing students on unless they can read sounds obvious, but creates its own set of problems. Students who fail twice usually eventually drop out, so it is risky to hold a student back. In addition, it is difficult to help a nine-year-old who can’t yet read and is repeatedly held back in class of six-year-olds, so without extra help in the classroom, those who fall behind eventually get passed to the next grade, creating a need for yet more extra help in upper grades. The new state law requiring third grade reading improvements came with some new funding for new reading coaches, but not enough, however we hope at least that funding continues beyond a couple of years. There is little point in holding back K-3 students unless they are getting some extra help from more teachers specializing in reading.

Finally, after a L-O-N-G executive session, the board voted to notify the City of Rock Hill that the Rock Hill School Board objects to the TIF extension pending receipt of further information from the city. In theory, the TIF is a great idea, but it is a responsibility of the School Board to check all the details and make sure the school district is protected in all eventualities. We need some more information from the city on certain matters. You can see a one minute video and read more about the TIF under the menu item above. Though it seems dull to most people, it will change some of the district’s funding for the next twenty-five years, and affect the district beyond that time, so it is a very important issue. The public hearing on the TIF is in City Council Chambers during their regularly scheduled meeting on Sept. 8, when the board will be in a regularly scheduled Work Session.

 

 

 

 

 

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Textile Corridor TIF video 2014

The Rock Hill School Board will soon vote on extending the Textile Corridor TIF. For a short explanation watch the video or read the video text below. For more detail, see menu items under the TIF tab above.

The Rock Hill Schools have been part of a Tax Increment Financing plan for ten years. Due to the recession and fires, the bleachery area has not produced much tax revenue during that time. If the TIF is extended, the area would be improved and development would occur, producing more tax dollars helping people to live, work, play, and go to school. Rock Hill Schools, York County, and the City of Rock Hill can extend an agreement to share taxes to make improvements. For 25 years the county and schools would continue to receive their current taxes, the city would the extra taxes generated to make more improvements, and after 25 years the schools and county would again receive all their taxes. Tax Increment Financing is a way to get more county, schools, and city revenues without raising the general tax burden on everyone. For more information and detail, see my website and search TIF.

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8-25-14 School Board Business Meeting

RH3 logoThe Rock Hill School Board will meet for a Business Meeting this Monday. My comments follow and the Agenda is below them, with a link to the full Board Information packet. Board meetings start whenever possible with a student led opening, and then usually proceed directly to recognitions of accomplishment within the district. These are always gratifying, but this week’s opening is particularly pleasing, as the first people to be congratulated are students who made a perfect score on state PASS tests. Watch them and all the other high-achieving students, teachers, and employees in the Rock Hill Schools on TV(Cable 114, or 18) at 6:00 P.M. on Tuesday and Thursday.

The Consent Action Agenda consists of routine matters, and if any board member wants to discuss an item it is moved to Action Agenda, but several of the issues in the Consent Minutes deserve a little explanation.

  • Despite some concerns, Teacher Training Late Start Days have been approved; the dates are Sept. 10, Oct. 8, Nov. 12, Feb. 11, Mar. 11, Apr. 22; Dr. Pew will monitor them closely to make sure teachers find them useful, and report back to the board. The District Calendar here has been updated to reflect the Late Start Dates.
  • The board did NOT approve expansion of iPad/iRock, despite phraseology of the agendas and minutes which always implies approval of everything submitted. Some people are happy, some people are sad. You can read the board discussion before the vote here.
  • An unbalanced budget for 2014-15 was approved, and and as mentioned before on this site, $3 Million in increased expenditures  is projected, about half due to state underfunding of the state mandated teacher salary increas, and about half due to previously neglected need for increased personnel in Special Education. The Board agreed to fund half the increase through a maximum tax millage increase (not 1% of our budget), and asked Superintendent Pew to reduce expenses to cover the other half of the increase. The 2014-15 Budget presentation can be viewed on the district website here.

Most of the Action Items are Board Policy changes, and most of these are in response to advice from AdvancEd, our accrediting agency. During my four years on the Rock Hill School Board, almost all the problems between the board and administration have been  due to not following policy. I am delighted that the first policies presented for vote are those governing the Board itself, and the relationship of the board and its members to the administrators and schools. These policies clarify and update old policies, and thanks are due to the committee which met and is submitting them. Board Chair Jim Vining and Superintendent Kelly Pew are to be commended.

Policies are supposed to reflect the wishes of the community and govern everything that happens in the Rock Hill School District. Our board policies, which cover students, teachers, other employees, administration, and myriad other issues, can all be found on the district website here. The board is beginning of a process of updating and increased enforcement of all board policies. Policies being presented Monday, with changes marked, are included in the board packet linked below, beginning on page 30.

Other action items include board votes on

  • a policy requiring more healthy foods in the schools
  • a lease renewal for HeadStart
  • a lease renewal for Boys and Girls Clubs of York County
  • issuance of General Obligation Bonds to cover Capital items previously approved

To close the public part of the meeting, the board will receive a Back-To-School report. These are usually accompanied by a video, so we all look forward to the report. You can see it on the televised Board Meeting mentioned above.

See the Agenda below, and access the full Board information Packet here.

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8-11-14 Post-Meeting Notes

RH3 logoPrincipal 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.

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Running for Office

A video about my re-election bid for the Rock Hill School Board, Seat Two.

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8-11-14 Work Session pre-meeting notes

In keeping with Board goals of self-improvement, Rock Hill School Board agendas now include references to board policy wherever possible, as you can see below. Thanks to Superintendent Pew and her staff and Jim Vining for the work entailed. It will make us more effective board and our district a better one for employees and students.

Several routine items will be covered, but my comments below are about items which I expect will draw more protracted discussion. The Agenda is below the comments, with a link to the full board information packet.

3 Superintendentʹs Goals (Ref. Policy CBC) Kelly Pew
Our new Superintendent has asked for ideas from board members, has visited and surveyed all schools, has compiled lists of all programming, and is making the first report of her superintendency on goals. I look forward excitedly to her presentation!

4 Budget Priorities for 2015‐2016 (Ref. Policy DB) Jim Vining
This is another exciting presentation! In 1999 the board adopted a policy which says in part

Planning the budget document is a continuous process. Planning involves long-term thought, study, and deliberation by the superintendent, board, administrative staff, faculty and citizens of the district.

The policy is still in place, but during my four years on this board, we have not been able to get enough support for it to be followed. It will be a great day for public education in Rock Hill when we really do collaboratively develop a budget with long-term goals in mind, and discussing the 2015-16 budget now is a great beginning.

6 AdvancED Committee Update (Section B Policies) (Ref. Policy BG, BGC/BGD) Jim Vining
Our policy committee has been meeting and Mr. Vining will present some governance policies to be discussed. In my four years on the board, many problems could have been avoided had policy been followed. The board is addressing this by reviewing and revising policies with the help of the South Carolina School Board Association, and insisting that policy be followed by everyone in the district, so this is a very important discussion.

7 Administrative Rule JE‐R ‐ Student Attendance (Ref. Policies BG, BGC/BGD, JE) Luanne Kokolis
Amazingly, the Rock Hill Schools have had no consistency from school to school on attendance reporting. Thank goodness the administration is presenting an administrative rule to cover this, as it affects everything in the schools, including funding and academic reports.

8 Policy/Admin. Rule EFE, EFE‐R ‐ Competitive Food Sales/Vending Machines (Ref. Policies BG, BGC/BGD) Luanne Kokolis
The Rock Hill School Board has a goal of better student academic achievement as well as fiscal responsibility. Better health has been proven to increase performance, and better student health, including exercise and healthy eating habits, has been proven to increase academic achievement. This proposed policy is one in a series responding to state and federal laws intended to reduce the current American childhood obesity epidemic and related health problems. This policy will require more healthy snacks in school, especially in vending machines, and vending profits are used by principals to fund school projects beyond the budget. This will be a difficult problem for principals, but improving student health will have a positive long term fiscal impact on state medical costs, ultimately lowering taxes, and will improve student academic achievement.

The Agenda is below and the full Board Information Packet can be viewed or downloaded here.

 

 

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