By Bill Evans
The summer break is coming to a close too quickly for many of our students and teachers. Here are some reminders about the start of school and some things to look for during the upcoming year.
We have a new principal at Coosa Elementary, Mr. Charles Del Forge. He comes to us with a good bit of experience from North Carolina, where he served as principal in several elementary schools. Although he has no previous experience with “The Leader in Me Program”, he has already been working with it and sees its strengths. He is personable and knowledgeable and is looking forward to meeting staff, parents and students.
Please pay close attention to the new attendance zones, they become official this year. There were changes that impacted both Coosa Elementary and Lady’s Island Elementary. Bus routes may also be changing, so please watch for information in the media or mailings from school. If you are new to the area, please get your child registered as quickly as possible, and don’t forget your immunizations!
For high school students, this is the time to pick up schedules, get books, reserve a parking space (if you qualify) and get other valuable information for the start of the school year.
During the upcoming school year, the school board will be focusing on several key new initiatives:
• The School Choice Program: During the last year, each school spent considerable time identifying a theme or instructional approach that it will be using now or in the future. Staffs have been involved with professional development throughout the summer and will continue into the fall. In January or February of 2015, the school district will host a series of community showcases around the county, giving parents and students the opportunity to view and learn more about each school’s option of choice. In February and March, parents and students will have the opportunity to make choices outside their traditional attendance zone. Please pay special attention to the dates and process for this significant change coming to our district. We are continuing to work on transportation options to support this new program of choice.
• Expanding Early Childhood: This will be the first of a three year initiative to expand early childhood opportunities for 4-year-old students. It will be a gradual expansion of our existing programs so that we might involve more students in pre-kindergarten experiences and instruction. The district will start by getting all existing programs to a full day, and then over the next two years open additional classroom space to accommodate more students.
• New Career and Technology Education (CATE) Programs: The district will begin this year improving and expanding the offerings in our CATE program. These are programs specifically designed to develop technical skills in our middle and high school students that could lead to additional training through TCL or immediate job placement through internships and cooperatives. Eventually, every high school will have several CATE focused offerings, with specific centers developed at Battery Creek High and the new high school to be built in Bluffton. These programs will be open to transfer opportunities for students from other schools within the district.
The beginning of a new school year is always exciting for students and parents. While there is still time for a trip to the beach or the mountains or a visit to relatives, please begin to prepare for the start of school. Parents, I strongly encourage you, where possible, to get involved with your child’s schooling; join the PTO or Booster Club, become a member of the School Improvement Council (SIC), or at least attend meetings to find out more about what is going on at school. All evidence clearly points to stronger student performance when parents are part of their education. Make sure you set aside a place and time at home to do school work; have your child, if they are struggling with any of their work, take advantage of the tutors at school.
Now, more than ever before, a strong education is an essential foundation to later success and a satisfying lifestyle. Make sure your high school student is looking beyond graduation to at least two years of instruction. The district’s new Building a Better Beaufort B3 Program, developed in conjunction with the Technical College of the Lowcountry, opens the possibility for any Beaufort County graduate to attend two years at TCL tuition free.
Please enjoy the rest of your summer and I wish the very best to you all for the new school year.
Editor’s Note: Mr. Bill Evans is the School Board Representative for District 2 and Chair of the Beaufort County School Board of Education. He can be reached at 843-301-6858 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. This article was sent courtesy of the Lady’s Island Business Professionals Association.
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School Board Chairman Bill Evans