District One leading the way on digital learning rollout


By David Meade

By David Meade

Anderson School District One Board of Trustees heard from the Director of the Anderson County Alternative School who praised District One for their support of the program. The program is a collaborative effort of all five Anderson school districts.

Director Randolph Dillingham thanked the board for the support of Superintendent David Havird, Robbie Binnicker and the District One staff. “You have obviously established an incredible culture of excellence in District One,” Dillingham told the board.

Dillingham said Dr. Brian Keith, District One Director of Special Services has been very helpful in providing for special education needs.

“Thank you for allowing the District One staff to assist us,” he said. “You have staff members who do not forget the kids over at the alternative school.”

Dillingham presented a plaque of recognition and thanks to the board.

Superintendent Havird said, “We try to treat the Alternative School like any other school in Distrit One.”

District One Finance Director Travis Thomas reported 99.6 percent of the revenue budgeted for 2014-15 had come in and 94 percent of expenditures had gone out. He said there is one more payroll and some other expenses billed not reflected on the end of the budget year report for June.

Assistant Superintendent of Instruction Jane Harrison asked the board for consensus to proceed with a locally designed social studies type class for Wren High School. The minority studies class will be considered an elective for students, Harrison said. Content for the course was spearheaded by Wren Principal Nicole Boseman with input from teachers, students and the Riley Institute at Furman University.

Harrison also reported that District One had presented information on the Digital Rollout to other schools and received a lot of interest. She said due to visitors wanting to see what District One did with the rollout and is doing with classroomn instruction, the district will coordinate a one day visitors conference “institute” for others schools to have a half day of training and half day in classrooms with teachers using what they have learned.

Harrison said other districts are struggling with how to bring the digital instruction into their schools, some on district basis and others one school at a time.

She also recognized the Palmetto AFJROTC unit for recent awards and scholarship totals for the three district high schools.

Graduates at Wren High earned a total of $4,647,780 in scholarships, Palmetto High graduates $5,673,002 and Powdersville High graduates $2,848,000.

She also reported on the summer school program which has 59 students in the high school program, 22 in the 21st Century program and 18-22 in the Read to Succeed program.

Havird said the digital rollout of 8000 Ipads in grades 3-12, along with the policies and applications was “one of the most challenging and complex things we’ve ever done. Our teachers and staff deserve a lot of credit.”

Havird said the digital rollout and what students were doing in the classroom exceeded his expectations and will lead to higher expectations during the second year.

“It far exceeded my expectations of what they (students) would do and learn. There was a lot of time taken to choose the right applications. Our expectations are high for next year because we learned and have done it the hard way. The teachers worked through the process and are preparing students for the 21st century.”

Havird said the district mainly used free applications the first year but are looking into purchasing some applications based on student and teacher recommendations.

Board members heard a presentation by Dr. Darrell Barringer on the AdvanceEd accreditation program which the district will go through March 20-23, 2016.

Schools are required to go through the evaluation and accreditation process every five years. The evaluation is based on five standards and a performance based protocol which are used to accredit schools worldwide.

Standards include purpose and direction, governance and leadership, teaching and assessing for learning, resources and support systems and using results for continuous improvement.

After internal and external reviews, schools will be scored on in four categories including Index of Education Quality, Teaching and Learning Impact, Leadership Capacity and Resource Utilization. The scores will show how District One schools compare with scores of schools on a national and international basis.

The evaluation process will include all 14 District One schools and the Anderson District One & Two Career and Technology Center.

Havird reported the Ragsdale Road sidewalk improvement project has been approved. The $250,000 project will require 20 percent District match of $50,000 and is being coordinated through Anderson County. The Safe Routes to School project includes extending sidewalks and safety to neighborhoods near Powdersville High School. Phase 2 will include sidewalks along Anderson Road extending to Dolly Cooper park.

Havird reported work on the Powdersville practice field is going well and should be completed by the third week of July. The Palmetto High practice field project has also been completed he said.

Havird reported the District was saving money going through the state required procurement process even though it was more time consuming. The district saved considerable money on Ipad cases, janitorial services and work cost of sod for the Palmetto practice field.

The board went into executive session to discuss personnel and a contract.

Personnel approvals will be in next week’s Journal.