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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Jane Sharp to run for re-election

 

Jane Sharp

Dr. Jane Sharp

Dr. Jane Sharp has announced her intention to run for another four year term on the Rock Hill School Board. The first sentence of Dr. Sharp’s announcement of her re-election bid here is

When I first ran for the Rock Hill Three Board of Trustees in 2010 I promised to be “a strong voice for children”.

and indeed she has been a very strong voice for children. Every single time any issue has been introduced, her constant refrain has referred us to the students, their academic progress, their welfare, and their needs. She has brought a principal’s understanding to board deliberations, zealously analyzed state and district data, enthusiastically attended school events, and thoroughly researched issues under discussion. All of us on the board have learned from her. Dr. Sharp is the Trustee for Seat Four on the Rock Hill School Board, an area reaching from the corner of Oakland Avenue and the Dave Lyle railroad tracks in the south to Sand Island in the north, and bounded by the Catawba River, Mt. Gallant Road and Hwy 121 (Cherry Road) on the east and ending at the airport on the west. You can see each board member’s area on the map below.

Rock Hill Schools Board of Trustees Voting Zones

Rock Hill Schools Board of Trustees Voting Zones

 

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Custodians as Caretakers

Associate Superintendent Anthony Cox reminds us that our custodians are frontline caretakers, part of the instructional team our students need. Today at Dutchman Creek Middle School over 80 Rock Hill Schools and Budd Group caretakers met for annual training, and I was able to eat lunch with them and attend a session. Organized and conducted by Director of Custodial Services Michael L. Cox, and planned and introduced by Superintendent Kelly Pew and Tony Cox, the event covered new procedures as well as reviewing details of existing cleaning and safety practices. The caretaker theme this year is “Better, Faster, Safer, and Cheaper” and that was demonstrated in classes and presentations. Thanks to Rock Hill Schools caretaker partners, The Budd Group and Interstate Solutions, for their participation and support, and to Michael Cox for his leadership of this important group of employees. The letter from Associate Superintendent Cox (no relation to Michael Cox) to employees is below, as well as a schedule for the day.

RH3-Cust

Cust

 

 

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What area of the district does Ginny represent?

The area I represent is determined by residence, not by school attendance zones, so if you live in my voting area I will be on your ballot, but your children do not necessarily go to schools in my area. And your children may attend schools in my area, but I may not be on your ballot. It seems complicated, but I have noticed that our school board members work together and the mix of voters who do or do not live in each Trustee’s area is part of the reason. We all have to represent constituents and schools from each other’s voting areas, and frankly, most of our constituents don’t know whose area they are in until they walk in the voting booth and see the names on the ballot. As a Trustee on the Rock Hill School Board, I have to think about all students in all schools.

As you can see in the maps below, most students in my area attend Northwestern High, but some of my constituents attend South Pointe and Rock Hill High. My area includes Rawlinson Road and Dutchman Creek and the residences of most of the students who attend those schools, however many of my middle schools constituents attend Saluda Trail, and a few attend Sullivan. I am sad to say none of them attend Castle Heights, because I love that school as much as the other middle schools! With so many Elementary Schools, and so many of them being Schools of Choice, it is not surprising that only three are primarily my constituents: Old Pointe, Mount Gallant and York Road. Yet many students zoned for India Hook and Finley Road are in my area, and even some zoned for Ebinport, Richmond Drive, Northside, and Sunset Park. I will also be on the ballot of many who send their children to Choice schools. In addition I represent those people who attend private and charter schools who live in my area, and the Rock Hill School Board has worked in cooperation with those schools.

Below are maps of my areas of the Rock Hill School District Three attendance zones. A map of the entire Rock Hill School District Three is included, with all School Board member’s areas marked, and finally a map with all precincts in my area and voting locations. Each has my voting area outlined in red. If you live in the area surrounded by red, you are in my area and I hope you will let me know your ideas, read the material on this site, call or email with questions, find out about the schools, help me in my re-election bid, and vote for me. Thanks for considering doing so!

Ginny's District and Elementary Attendance Zones

Ginny’s District and Elementary Attendance Zones

Ginny's District and Middle School Attendance Zones

Ginny’s District and Middle School Attendance Zones

Ginny's District and High School Attendance Zones

Ginny’s District and High School Attendance Zones

Rock Hill Schools Board of Trustees Voting Zones

Rock Hill Schools Board of Trustees Voting Zones

Ginny's District and Voting Precincts

Ginny’s District and Voting Precincts

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Ginny Moe files paperwork in re-election bid

Joshua and Ginny

Joshua Dantzler and Ginny Moe

As previously posted, I am running for the office I currently hold on the Rock Hill School Board, which is Seat Two, essentially the Northwest part of Rock Hill School District Three. Joshua Dantzler, a tenth grade student at South Pointe High in Rock Hill, has agreed to help me in my re-election bid. Yesterday we went to the York County Voter Registration and Elections office and filed my paperwork to become a candidate on the November ballot. Thanks, Joshua, for your ideas and help!

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US Wins World Youth Fly Fishing championship 

christopher-smithWho knew? Dapper, tech-savvy, well-spoken Rock Hill Schools Director of Staff Development Chris Smith is also an award winning fly fisherman and coach of the World Championship US Youth Fly Fishing team! Chris organizes district staff training, which has included the Student Engagement Conference, training in response to new state laws, and the parent and teacher iRock presentations. He has also become the project manager for iRock, the iPad initiative of the district, and frequently presents plans and results to the Rock Hill School Board.

Well do I remember my grandfather teaching me to fish, and watching him climbing trees to get my line untangled from branches when I began to cast. First I had a bamboo pole with worms, but I was pretty excited to graduate to a rod and reel, subsequently spending hours practicing casting downhill in the street in front of our house, and eventually learning to cast from the bank, a boat dock, a fishing pier and finally in a boat! Fly fishing was something for really advanced anglers (read: grownups), and that idea was probably promoted because all the extra line loose at the reel and the fancy casting techniques are susceptible to so many more tangles. But what an exciting occupation, and you could even tie your own flies!

Fishing has a long history, having been mentioned in writings in ancient Greece, Rome and Egypt, and books solely on fishing appeared in English as early as the fifteenth century. Probably the best known early book about fishing is “The Compleat Angler” by Izaak Walton, still in print but also available as a free digital download at Project Gutenberg. First published in 1653, the book includes a section on fly fishing taken from “The Art of Angling” by Thomas Barker. I once gave a copy of Walton’s book to my father, an avid fisherman. It is filled with both instructions on fishing and poetry, two things my father loved. For you musicians out there, the forearm and wrist action used in fly fishing is much like that of handbell players.

Since 2008, the United States has had a youth fly fishing team, and the team has won world championships three of the last four years, including this year. Below is the announcement about the win from the district office with a link to the Youth Fly Fishing website, and a team photo at the awards presentation.

Chris Smith Coaches International Champions

The United States Youth Fly Fishing Team won the 2014 World Fly Fishing championship in the Norway Sacz district of Poland July 27-August 1. Team USA took Team Gold and claimed five of the top seven individual positions. Assistant Coach Chris Smith, from Rock Hill Schools, is next to Head Coach Paul Bourcq in the attached photo.

Fly Fishing Medal Stand 2014

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Rock Hill School Thanks Community Volunteers

Schools in Rock Hill benefit from time, energy, and funds donated by many volunteers and organizations. This week the Rock Hill School District had a luncheon to thank volunteers of the year. Each school was asked to invited to recognize groups, individuals, and organizations, and some schools and the District Office nominated more than one. CN2 anchors Lucas McFadden and Laurabree Monday served as announcers (a job which they practice daily and at which they excel!) and the entire event was organized by Serena H. Williams, Coordinator of Community Services. Thanks to the Rock hill Community for all you do for our district! The list of community volunteers is below.

CommVol2014

 

 

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From Ginny Moe to my fellow citizens of Rock Hill

for-GM-electionServing on the Board of Trustees for the Rock Hill Schools for the last four years has been an honor. The schools are surrounded by a loving and supportive community, and as a board member I, too, have felt supported. The City of Rock Hill, the Rock Hill Schools Foundation, and many other generous individuals, churches, service organizations, and businesses in the area consistently help our schools and district by giving time, money, leadership, and encouragement.

Board members have devoted long hours to meeting together and listening to constituents, and our work is beginning to bear fruit. Board goals of Academic Progress, Training for the Future, and Communication are appearing in school and district improvement plans. We worked together to hire a superintendent who believes in our goals and who will give our students the education they need to succeed in the workforce or higher education. Transparency in district business affairs and governance is higher now than I have observed it to be at any time in the 18 years I have lived in Rock Hill. Efficiency and clarity of board governance and superintendent management is becoming a reality.

Work must continue to ensure that our schools are an reflection of the Rock Hill community. New initiatives, such as increased hiring for exceptional student education, iRock, Back the Pack, schools of choice, STEM schools, language immersion, energy management, and safety measures have been undertaken and must be implemented carefully to be successful. Programs must be prioritized, and funding must be allocated to those which produce results, as a matter of educational and fiscal responsibility, and for the sake of the employees. Board work now centered on policy must be continued, and employees must understand the importance that following policy plays in establishing community standards in the schools.

I have taken the trust of my constituents seriously. While you may have disagreed with some of my votes, I hope we have continued to communicate and work together to find a middle way to benefit the community and our students. I want to continue to find ways to work together, and so today I announce my intention to seek re-election to Seat Two on the Board of Trustees of the Rock Hill Schools. I hope the people of my district will support me with their votes in November so that I can continue the good work we have begun as we address current and future challenges.

Respectfully,

Ginny Moe

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