Reflections on the past four years

September 2014. After four years on the Board I have a strong sense of a job not quite done. I have felt privileged to represent Rock Hill Seat 4 on the Board of Trustees since 2010. One of the valuable things I learned right away is that a school board is a true experience in democracy. We are seven people who all believe strongly in the importance of public schools. We are seven people who all have difference ways of expressing our passion for public schools. We must cooperate and compromise in order to be successful.

My greatest surprise in joining the Board was the lack of a specific Board goal that focused on the primary importance of student learning in all schools. We did not get reports on student progress. As a former principal I knew that evidence of progress in academic achievement is our bottom line indicator of success. Just as businesses must monitor their profits so must schools monitor the academic success of students – our profits.

I was very pleased two years ago when the Board made student academic progress the number one goal for Rock Hill Schools. Our Board is now asking frequently, “How will this proposal affect student learning?

Last year the Chairman of the Board established an Academic Improvement Committee. I was happy to chair that group and we met at regular intervals with the Administration examining different measures related to District 3’s academic progress. These reports were then presented for discussion by the Board.

Rock Hill Schools were evaluated in mid-spring 2014 by AdvanceEd, the national agency maintaining accreditation for public schools. We received overall good scores but several directives for improvement. One directive zeroed in on the District’s academics. It noted with commendation schools in Rock Hill Schools with academic excellence and strongly recommended that all schools must adopt the strategies that had helped the higher performing schools excel. We now have a Superintendent who supports and has already begun the process of ensuring that we have successful initiatives that lead to academic success.

Dr. Pew is also focused on the goal that our graduates are college, tech school, or job ready. Rock Hill is located geographically between two of the wealthiest and most successful school districts in our state. If Rock Hill is to be an equal economic player in York County we must step up our academic program. If we are to attract the economic investments to grow our city we must raise student achievement.

I have the experiences which prepare me to be an effective supporter of school administration efforts and of the Board’s primary focus on increasing student achievement. I also have the executive experience to know that increasing achievement is more a matter of effective school organization and teacher collaboration than it is a matter of more funds. Because of these experiences and skills, I want to serve on the Board for four more years.

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