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School Board Focus on SAT Scores, Challanged on Technology
By Anne Waits
web posted October 11, 2012
JOHNSTON – The regularly scheduled
Edgefield County School Board meeting Tuesday night focused primarily
on SAT scores, extension of a Youth Employment Services Grant and the
first reading of Policy JH-Student Attendance, Absences and Excuses.
During the public comments portion of the meeting, Jim Jackson, a
concerned citizen, gave a brief presentation on the importance of
technology in the schools.
"Our schools score 4 - 5 points lower on college entrance exams," he
said. "Why? Because Edgefield County is still using 'chisel and stone.'
Talk about 'race to the top,' we're racing to the bottom."
He said that the equipment used in the automotive section of the Career
Center was used when his father was young. He used various items to
demonstrate his points, including information flashed on a screen.
"Edgefield County students are at a disadvantage when they graduate,"
he said. "Some cannot get a job due to lack of current technology. Some
would claim that it is racism. Race has nothing to do with it. We need
to leave our personal agendas and personal politics out of it."
Jackson placed an IPAD on the table in front of him and said every
student needs to have one of these. "You can go to the App store and
download FREE Apps for Math, Spanish, just about any subject," he said.
He mentioned that a recent article stated Greenville Schools have a
goal to be 95 percent bookless by 2015.
"We should use the resources available to school districts," he said.
"People, we need to wake up."
James Courtney, director of operations and facilities, stated he had
received a request from the National Guard to use Strom Thurmond High
School for a banquet honoring 200 members of the 122nd Engineer
Battalion (Forward Support Company and Headquarters Support Company),
who will be deployed to Afghanistan in January. The request was
approved by the board.
Two trips were approved simultaneously: Vernell Goodwin of Douglas
Elementary School was given permission to take students to Greenville
Oct. 19-21 to compete in the Bocce State Special Olympics Tournament
and William Smith of Merriwether Middle School was given permission to
take students to Washington, D.C. on April 3-6.
The Sept, 25 minutes and the Sept. 10 Discipline Hearing minutes were
Under instructional services, Assistant Superintendent Donna Strom gave
the SAT scores for 2012.
"The composite score was 1,471, which was above the state average of
1,422," she said. "But we're disappointed that the composite score had
dropped from 2011."
Strom said the composite ACT score for Strom Thurmond High School is
19.2, which dropped from 19.3 in 2011. There were 57 taking the SAT
exam in 2012 and 51 in 2011.
More information can be found on the state website at www.ed.sc.gov.
School Board members were asked to vote for a one-year extension of the
Vocational Rehabilitation Youth Employment Services Grant.
"We had a five-year grant that ended," Strom said. "The program offers
career assessments, occupational exploration and participation in
meaningful work experience for students with physical or emotional
Margaret Alewine, Vocational Rehabilitation director of planning, was
present and commented, "These services are critical--not only in
preparing for jobs, but in keeping them in school through a partnership
of this manner."
The students do not have to be special education students, she said.
Once the students are identified, the counselor works with them. They
receive a small stipend for the work they do.
Board member Carroll Wates commented that from his experience the
program is a good one and helpful to students.
To keep the program would involve $20,000 in stipends and $20,000 in
counselor's pay for the School District. Vocational Rehabilitation pays
two-thirds of the counselor's salary.
The Board voted in favor of the extension, with the exception of Board
member Chris Hoffman who felt it was too much money involved for the
small number of students it seems to help.
Strom presented the end of course results, which are: Algebra I - 81.3;
Biology - 78.6; English I - 53.7; and U.S. History - 33.8.
The School Board approved Policy JH-Student Attendance, Absences and
Excuses on the first reading, after much discussion.
Under state law, a student can miss only 10 days per year. After that,
they are at the mercy of the principal who will determine if an excuse
Board Chairman Brad Covar and Board member William Herrin wanted to
know how many children are asking for extra days and in the past how
many have been allowed.
Strom Thurmond Principal Jill Jett said that in the past, four days
"That policy had grown to be abused," she said. "But this year, we have
cut the number in half and steps have been taken to change that and
bring it in compliance with state law."
Courtney announce that a pre-bid conference on the stadium project
including the bleachers and field house will be held with interested
contractors this Thursday at 2 p.m. at the School District Office.
Under the Office of Superintendent, Greg Anderson announced that
Congressman Jeff Duncan had been on campus Tuesday and gave a talk
which was sponsored by the Student Council. He also announced that
Vickie Butler, director of adult education, had informed him that as of
2014 those wishing to get their GED would have to do so on the
computer. He further commented that the NJROTC had won several awards
recently and complimented the Band on the awards they won last week.
They will compete with Blythwood High School this Saturday.
In regards to the fight that broke out following the pep rally that
involved seven students, Chairman Covar said that he wants the public
to know the administration is handling it in an appropriate manner and
that even though he considers it an isolated event, this behavior will
not be tolerated.
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Edgefield Daily and/or parent company ECL and
cannot be reproduced,
redistributed without expressed written permission.
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