Dr. Cook's Focused Five
- Safe and Secure Environments
- Recruitment and Retention
- Student Achievement
- Organizational Culture and Effectiveness
- Communication with All Stakeholders
Safety and security in our schools and on buses is an issue at the forefront of everyone’s mind, and one that can impact student performance and teacher satisfaction. Improvement in this critical area is very broad. The board would ultimately like to see a reduction in the number of disciplinary actions. The board also realizes two areas that have significant impact on safety and security and the number of disciplinary actions:
ACES Scores & Resilience Training - School teachers and administrators should become increasingly aware of the children suffering the chronic stress of “adverse childhood experience.” They should also receive more training in the methods of building “resilience” in these children because the board believes this will support a corresponding reduction in the number of disciplinary actions.
Students dealing with mental health issues – The board would like the Superintendent to develop a strategy to more quickly identify students dealing with mental health issues and move more quickly to get them the help that they need. This too may improve the number of disciplinary actions and create a more safe and secure environment.
Recruiting the best teachers and principals and retaining this talent is a critical component of students’ academic performance. The board realizes some of the natural forces that will make it difficult to reduce the turnover rate in this school year. These include the opening of a new school in Fort Mill and a new charter school in Rock Hill, each that will likely lure away some of our teachers. That said, the board would like to see incremental reductions in the turnover rate over the next 3 to 4 years, and the board would like to see a material improvement in the teacher climate surveys. Note: The board would like the data to measure the turnover rate not inclusive of retirement, health problems, involuntary terminations, and teachers that may be relocating with their family to another area.
Although the State of SC imposes some expectations for student academic performance based on test scoring, the ultimate objective of the school system is the student’s success once they leave school. Some go to a 2-year or 4-year college, some graduate and go directly to work, and some drop out of school. The board would like the superintendent to develop a reliable way to measure and report (1) those continuing with their college education, (2) those finding employment directly out of high school, and (3) those graduating but without a job.
We understand it is the role of the school system to help prepare the students for college or for employment. We would like the Superintendent to build relationships with local business leaders to better understand the basic work skills and soft skills needed by those who will go directly into the work force. To really be successful this may include working intern opportunities.