The State of District 56
State of the District: Fiscal responsibility, school safety and wellness are initiatives
A school district where your child can learn to speak Chinese, where your son can play football in a renovated stadium, and your daughter take steps to becoming an engineer exists right here in Clinton’s back yard.
Laurens County School District 56 Superintendent Dr. David O’Shields outlined these initiatives, and more, in Friday morning’s State of the District breakfast for stakeholders at Clinton High School.
Government, health, business, child welfare and education representatives attended along with private citizens and school board members. O’Shields said the district has 4 major initiatives:
-- 1. Improve current facilities and uphold the security of all students and staff;
-- 2. Incorporate real-world experiences within classrooms to promote employment and to further education for the 21st century learner;
-- 3. Create technology-centered classrooms and integrate technology on a regular basis; and
-- 4. Create a culture of trust, teamwork, and respect among all stakeholders.
O’Shields said it is more important than ever for D56 to communicate its message because it has competition. Thornwell will open a charter school in the fall, and already has early childhood education (First Steps) on its campus in Clinton. The superintendent said D56 has started every day elementary after-school programs and twice-a-week middle and high school after-school programs because “the day cares got it right; our parents work, too.”
The 10 other initiatives for the Laurens County School District 56 are:
-- School report card ratings: 3 average, 1 good, 1 CSI (needs improvement);
-- New Gear-Up grant starting with 7th graders;
-- New art teacher at Eastside Elementary;
-- 4K now has physical education, art and music;
-- After-school programs available at all locations;
-- Crisis Interventionist hired at Clinton Middle;
-- Kindergarten Readiness Assessment scores improved 20% from last year;
-- Expanded Chinese program at Clinton Middle;
-- Small group tutoring offered at all Title I schools; and
-- New branding and logo.
O’Shields said, “This is a time to talk about us. Not just the district - the greater community. Often people move to a place - because it’s competitive where people choose to live, and driving for many people will be an option - and we want you to know what is going on here.”
The superintendent said for five consecutive years, the district has not asked for any millage increase, in concert with its sister district, District 55 Laurens. The district has devoted itself to being as healthy and heath-minded as it can, O’Shields said. All schools have received the Blue Cross Blue Shield Wellness Inspired School Environment Award, one of two districts in the state that as all of its schools as wellness inspired environments. All classes are taught by certified teachers, O’Shields said, and to enhance safety, for two years, D56 has conducted emergency management preparedness exercises, and tours of facilities by first responders.
“This isn’t just about us, it’s about US, the capital us, because of your involvement, you engagement in helping us become better than it has been, but not as good as it will be,” O’Shields said.
Laurens County School District 56 serves over 3,000 students in 6 school facilities.
District 56: #TheExperienceMatters