School opening very smooth

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By David Meade

Anderson School District One had a “very smooth opening” and students were using new technology and learning on the first day of school. Superintendent David Havird told Board members Tuesday that on the seventh day of school, the District had enrollment of 9438 students, eighty more than last year.

Havird said that was about the number his staff had predicted however one surprise was the enrollment at Palmetto High School. Havird said the school had 960 students and may have reached the 1000 student mark if 50 to 60 students they were expecting had enrolled.

Many of those were families that moved out of the District and some enrolled in home schooling, according to Havird.

Havird said overall the district was up about 78 to 80 students and may be at 90 by the end of this week.

Responding to a question from a board member about student/teacher ratios in the District, Havird said the average is 23-25 students per teacher.

Cedar Grove Elementary has one of the lowest ratios with 20-22 students per teacher while Spearman Elementary has a ratio of 26-28 per teacher. Palmetto Elementary has a ratio of 25-26 to 1, he said.

At the start of their meeting, the Board was shown a video with photos of teachers and students on the opening day of school and teacher of the year candidates.

Assistant Superintendent Jane Harrison said the video reflected unique things each school did to make opening day fun and exciting. “The students faces showed they love that,” she said.

“Teachers and staff were very productive and efficient on the first day of school,” Havird said. “We had instruction taking place on the first day. Our teachers did a wonderful job. It was a very smooth opening.”

Havird said the District’s safety plan was implemented and there was positive feedback from parents on the presence of resource officers at the elementary schools on the first day of school.

“We have a continued focus on safety,” he said.

The Board approved second reading on a new 90 page procurement policy required when the District reached the $75 million budget threshold. At that point school district must follow the State procurement code which had additional requirements.

Havird said the requirements are very necessary when you have a large districts and are very thorough. The new policy also requires an audit every three years, Havird said.

Assistant Superintendent Harrison reported that PASS scores show that District students met or were exemplerary in PASS testing. She said the District is also working to improve graduation and drop-out prevention by focusing on K through 12 instead of waiting until students reach high school.

She said by keeping students involved and engaged, motivated and providing relevant learning, “the District has a better chance of keeping those kids with us.”

Harrison also reported that elementary students are using new IPADS.

Havird said the District continues to focus on having and using cutting edge technology and is forming a technology committee which will assess hardware and software.

“You can’t talk about instruction and improvement without talking about technology,” he said.

Assistant Suprintendent Robbie Binnicker reported that the online payment for the nutritional program is a great convenience for parents and students.

He explained there is a $1.95 convenience charge to put money into an account. There is also an option for a premium service which emails parents when a balance gets low. The service has other features and there is a one time fee of $10.

The fee covers multiple students in a family and activates the service for their entire school career in District One.