Inside Schools

A quick news break for employees

Recent KCSD Honors

Congratulations to Teri Davis from Midway Elementary for being recognized by Classworks as an October winner in its monthly use contest.

Camden High English teacher Rebecca Rundlett has been selected for participation in the SC State Department of Education's Foundations in School Leadership.

North Central High's Athletic Department received the South Carolina High School League Sportsmanship award, which is annually given to sports programs that consistently show outstanding sportsmanship, ethics and integrity on and off the field of play by both players and coaches. NCHS was also honored for being one of only a handful of schools that went the entire 2013-14 school year without a single ejection of a coach or a player.

Golden Apple Award honorees for October:

The Kershaw County Teacher Forum’s Golden Apple program honors employees who are doing outstanding jobs.

Golden Apple Award honorees for Oct. 2014:

ATEC: Katie Gilson & Jody Stevens
Baron DeKalb Elementary: Elizabeth Jones & Mildred Fletcher

Bethune Elementary: Cynthia Pollard & Judy McFarland
Blaney Elementary: Sandra Haga & Monica Lloyd
Camden Elementary: Darlene Cantey & Debbie Bowers
Camden High: Laura Horton & Mary Kathryn Shores
Camden Middle: Jennifer Catoe & Marcia Geddings

Continuous Learning Center: Greta VanDeCarr
Doby’s Mill Elementary: Lorrie Welch & Angela Mixon
Jackson: Melanie Barnes & Betsy Horton
Lugoff Elementary: Rhonda Wilson & Debbie Garner
Lugoff-Elgin High: Kevin Knoerr & Danny Pharr
Midway Elementary: Monica West & Daphne Clyburn

Mt. Pisgah Elementary: Melissa Gandy & Stephanie Worley
North Central High: Cynthia Hingle & Robin Cole
North Central Middle: Jodie Kahler & Stephanie Roberts
Pine Tree Hill Elementary: Randy Self & Melissa Miles
Stover Middle: Catherine Williford & Phillip Farmer
Wateree Elementary: Melisa Blankenship & Carol Bethea

Greta VanDeCarr (CLC) and Phillip Farmer (Stover Middle) were the winners of the district drawing to receive $20 gift certificates from Fatz Café.

Q and A with Dr. Morgan and Staff

Questions for this column are questions of general interest submitted each month in Superintendent's Cabinet meetings.

With the new testing and standards, are we going to provide coaches at the middle school level to help with teacher support? Elementary schools have reading coaches, but middle schools are affected by all of the changes. The state provided funding for the elementary reading coaches, but none for reading coaches at other levels. This is something that the school board can consider for the 2015-16 budget.

I would be interested to know why we have a district minimum of 60 for our grades. I am concerned that this is affecting the students' work ethic and motivation. KCSD students receiving a failing nine weeks grade receive a “60” while teachers have the ability to post the actual grade earned in the comments section of the students’ report cards. The philosophy behind this is simple: a student who earns a “35” during the first nine weeks realizes that he/she will have a difficult time ever passing the class and will likely “give up,” perhaps losing a year of education. The student is also likely to cause classroom disruptions and later even drop out of school. In addition, an extremely low failing grade may be the result of issues involving home life or medical conditions that are beyond the student’s control. A 60 is still an F, 10 points below the lowest passing grade.

How are we going to honor the 504 and IEP's that state the student should have extended time on tests when the test is timed? If you are referring to new tests (e.g. ACT Aspire), the South Carolina Department of Education is in discussion with the testing contractor to determine the types of appropriate accommodations and/or modifications that will be available to students with disabilities. KCSD will know more as information becomes available from the Office of Assessment and the Offices of Special Education Services at the South Carolina State Department of Education.

What testing program will we use in May 2015? What typing program has the district adopted if students as young as 3rd grade have to type their writing for the state test? The state has taken the initial steps to adopt the ACT Aspire test series for grades 3-8 in English Language Arts (ELA) and math. SCPASS science and social studies tests will be administered in grades 4-8. There is a challenge to the state’s awarding of the testing bid to ACT so until that is resolved, we will not know what test will be administered. If Aspire is ultimately adopted, it will be administered for the first time in the spring. Several typing resources have been shared with administrators and school test coordinators (STCs) to help students prepare for the online test administrations. See your principal or STC for more information.

Please explain how teacher pay will be calculated with a figure; the pie chart that was sent out earlier by the school district does not contain a figure. The pie chart that has been disseminated refers to teacher evaluation; at this time, pay is not tied to evaluation.

Will there be a pay increase for working Saturday Detention? The school board can consider this for the 2015-16 budget.

Why is cheating a level 1 offense? Why do we not have an Honor Code? With the technology that our students have available to them, cheating has become commonplace. A districtwide committee of administrators and teachers developed the Student Code of Conduct, which is reviewed annually. Students are expected to refrain from cheating, just like an Honor Code standard. If a teacher is having problems with rampant cheating, he/she should work with the school’s principal to resolve the issue.

Why does board policy allow an employee to take sick leave for parents, siblings, a spouse and dependent children, but not independent children? This Board policy is written to cover situations where the employee is most likely to be the primary caregiver. As an added benefit, employees have personal days that can be used. In addition, the school board authorizes the superintendent to review situations with extenuating circumstances.

Kershaw County School District

Nestled in the heart of the Palmetto State, KCSD is home to over 10,300 students and more than 1,200 employees.