The Charleston School District (CCSD) is diverse and complex. It requires strong leadership to support 80 schools and programs. As a school board member with educator experience, I’m committed to working with the Superintendent and other Board Members to address challenges.
As your School Board Member for District 9, I will represent James Island, Folly Beach, parts of the Charleston Peninsula and Johns Island, Kiawah, and Seabrook. District 9 has some of the best schools in the county.
I’m committed to working with these schools’ principals, staff, school improvement councils, families, and Constituent Boards (3, 9, & 20) to advocate for the programs and resources necessary to achieve excellence.
I chose “Expect Excellence” as my campaign slogan because I believe that every student deserves a quality education and that our schools should provide one. It’s my expectation that ALL Charleston students are able to attend public schools with qualified teachers and well-resourced classrooms.
As your representative, my responsibility will be to establish policy and:
• Select and evaluate the Superintendent.
• Support and appreciate the work of educators and staff within the District.
• Ensure strategic plans and budgets improve student achievement.
• Establish policies that improve the work of all District schools.
•Maintain open communication and transparency.
• Approve curricula and monitor program evaluations.
• Set the school calendar.
• Value parent engagement and community support.
• Advocate for excellent schools for all students.
There will always be competing pressures and demands on the CCSD School Board. I am committed to doing the right things for the right reasons and always in the best interest of our students.
My educational beliefs and principles will guide my decision-making. They are:
Classrooms should be led by teachers who know best practices for teaching and learning and are well-prepared for the challenges students bring to the classroom. It’s important for teachers to be adequately paid, have reasonable class sizes, and be respected as professionals. Struggling students in reading and math need the expertise of interventionists. Students with disabilities need expert teachers and educational opportunities. Teachers’ professional decisions about curriculum, teaching methods, and teaching materials should be valued.
Schools should offer a full and rich curriculum for all children; it includes language arts, mathematics, science, social studies, fine arts, technology, physical education, athletics, and foreign languages. The student-centered curriculum and its instruction should encourage creativity and critical thinking. Children should have many ways to learn and demonstrate their learning through projects and activities related to the curriculum. Our neighborhood schools should be adequately staffed with resources to achieve excellence. Early childhood education is critical for students and essential to closing the achievement gap for under-resourced children. Middle and high school students need access to college-career opportunities and apprenticeships to promote their future careers. Assessment of students should be formative and ongoing to inform teaching and learning. Too many high-stakes standardized tests take away instructional time and often unfairly measure students' and schools’ accomplishments. Teachers and schools should be evaluated by professionals, not unreliable test scores. Care must also be taken to keep students’ information confidential.
Schools should have the resources to develop each student’s potential and interests. Teachers should not have to use their personal finances for supplies. Equitable funding for schools is needed to help those students with the greatest needs including those with disabilities. Helping schools that are struggling is better than closing them. Schools should have adequate staffing, guidance counselors, nurses, librarians, mental health services, and social workers, and access to psychologists as needed. Many schools need wrap-around services for children such as tutoring, health clinics, and after-school programs. Some schools need services for English Language Learners, GED preparation, and job training. Schools must be safe places for teaching and learning. Positive discipline policies, such as restorative practices, can promote positive school climates, build relationships and respect for others, and reduce the need for suspensions, school-based arrests, and expulsions. Students with social, emotional, and behavioral support remain interested in school and they achieve.
Principals should set high expectations for their schools and lead them collaboratively with school leadership teams, parent involvement, and school improvement councils. Their leadership should reflect an understanding that a community school model informs the strategic plans that meet the needs of a diverse student body, its family, and its community. The Superintendent as the chief educational leader for the district must ensure that its central staff has expertise in research-based curriculum and instruction, formative assessment, program evaluation, student services, and professional learning communities. On the administrative side, expertise is needed for fiscal responsibilities, transportation, food services, and facilities. Developing leadership within the system sustains and strengthens it. The District should empower schools to collaborate with each other within feeder patterns, constituent districts, and across the school district. The vision and goals in the strategic plans should reflect responsiveness to the schools’ needs. Providing resources and support to schools helps School Improvement Councils develop five-year plans. The district needs to resist efforts to privatize schools or use third-party operators.
Parents, guardians, and teachers working together help children learn and meet their educational goals; their engagement in decisions about their children is critical. Parents should also be encouraged to be involved in activities and events at the school. When parents and teachers work together, classrooms thrive and students achieve. Parent-teacher communication is important. Schools can use a variety of methods, including digital tools to connect families with the teachers and school. Schools can encourage parent leadership and involvement with the PTA and School Improvement Councils. Some schools find having a parent advocate on staff is helpful to families.
Public schools are the pillars of our neighborhoods and our society. Let’s expect excellence from our public schools and provide the support they, our teachers, and students need to achieve.