January 10, 2023, Board Meeting — My Thoughts
Recognition and Awards
National Merit Scholarship Semi-Finalists
(4:39 mark in video)
We began with a much-deserved recognition of our National Merit Scholarship semi-finalists.
SCSBA Award to 100 Black Men
(16:20 mark in video)
Then there was a presentation of an award from the South Carolina School Boards Association to 100 Black Men of Greater Columbia in recognition of this group’s dedication to public education, its partnership with Richland One, and its direct work in support of our students. I have known folks involved with 100 Black Men, and this award was well-deserved.
Dual Enrollment Presentation
(39:14 mark in video)
There was a presentation about Richland One’s dual enrollment program. The short version of this program is that it provides an opportunity for some high school students to take college courses before they graduate. While this option has existed for a number of years, there has been a steady expansion of this program over the last several years. These courses can be a great fit for some students. I have certainly seen quite a few students thrive in the dual enrollment program.
Several students provided descriptions of their experiences in dual enrollment classes. It’s always great to hear directly from students; I think these are worth watching.
Superintendent, District, and Board “Goals”
(1:42:16 minute mark in the video)
We were presented with a list of 11 “goals.” See below. I encourage everyone to watch this discussion.
I’ll be brief. These are not goals. For starters a goal has to be measurable. These 11 items are really plans or actions that we will take in support of our goals. As I said at the meeting, I don’t have a problem with any of these as actions we are going to take. But I believe we should be more precise in our framing of what they are. Otherwise, I am afraid that (1) our folks in schools will think we don’t understand the difference between plans and goals (and teachers and administrators have to set goals all the time), and (2) in the future we will use these as if they are actual goals. Indeed, during the superintendent’s prior evaluation, these same “goals” were listed as just that.
Goals are the things we talked about during our December 16th work session. For example, the district stated that it has a goal that in 2024, 90% of students will be either college or career ready when they graduate. I realize that folks may have concerns about whether that’s a realistic goal (I share those concerns), but it is an actual goal.
Whatever these are, they aren’t goals, and we shouldn’t pretend otherwise or use them this way. We need to set and agree upon measurable–and realistic–goals by which we can measure progress.