District One readying for Common Core standards

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By David Meade

During their regular monthly meeting Tuesday, the Anderson School District One Board of Trustees were updated on the finances related to the nutrition program, the budget and how the District is preparing for the new common core standards that are being implemented statewide and nationally.

Superintendent David Havird reported that the District’s School Activities Funds “are in great shape financially to start the school year.” The funds are supplemented with District funds he said.

Havird reported that the Food Service program has approximately $400,000 in CDs and the balance is a reflection of how well the program is doing. Havird said the program has been able to upgrade equipment and had no price increase for meals last year.

Finance Director Steve Uldrick reported that the District has sports insurance available for student-athletes and similar accident coverage available for students at a very low cost of only $2 per student.

Uldrick said the District has received a thirteenth month payment from the state which allows for a $275 per teacher reimbursement for supplies. The payment is issued on a Visa Card, he said.

Superintendent Havird told the board that they had made a great decision in allowing the Career and Technology Center to use the old Pelzer Elementary School building for their adult education program.

Havid said he attended the adult-ed graduation. “It was very exciting to see students that I knew and others get their GED or Diploma. The excitement and to hear what they had to do. It was remarkable to see 140-150 students, ages 17 to 65 or 70 go through graduation.”

Assistant Superintendent Jane Harrison gave a very informative instruction report covering Common Core Standards and how Anderson District One has implemented programs to prepare teachers and students for it.

Common Core sets very clear educational standards to promote equity and to make sure all students are well prepared to comptete.

Harrison said the standards are not Federal Standards but came as a collaboration of teachers, educators and business people.

Harrison said the program is designed to have every student ready for college or the work place when they graduate. According to Harrison, many students across the nation at the college level were having to take remediation classes.

“It came from teachers asking for more rigorous standards,” she said.

The Common Core standards focus on ELA, reading, writing, speaking and listening, Harrison said, and to make sure students can read. It also focuses on math skills, making math more conceptual “as it applies to the real world.”

“I am very proud of our teachers to have them ready,” Harrison said.

The District has been working on preparing for the new standards for eighteen to twenty-four months.

“Our teachers have received it well,” she said. “it is definitely going to be different, but we know it is coming.”

The District has also prepared information packets about the standards “to help parents understand what we are trying to do,” Havird said.

He said the state has fully adopted the Common Core standards and will implement testing for students in 2014-15.

Harrison said the program was fully implememented in the Kindergarten, Grade 1 and 2 in District One last year.

Assistant Superintendent Robbie Binnicker reported that the Student Nutritional Program served 1.3 million meals and was able to provide $196,000 back to the General Fund.

He said the six cents per meal Federal reimbursement was a big part of the increase the program saw and that the District had reapplied and been approved for the reimbursement this year.

The program is based on forty percent of students participating in the Free and Reduced Breakfast and Lunch program. “Every one of our schools qualify,” he said.

The meal program will see increases for adults with adult breakfast going from $1.80 to $2 and adult lunch from $3.35 to $3.45. The increase is required by the Federal program.

All reduced breakfasts for students will remain at $1. Reduced lunch at schools will remain the same – $2.05 for elementary and $2.20 for high schools.

Three board members were recognized by the School Board Association for their participation in professional development and leadership training.

Dr. Doug Atkins was recognized for reaching level five after five years on the board and Mike Wilson was recognized for his first year on the board. Brenda Ellison was not present. Each board member was presented a certificate and pin.

The board also approved new personnel.