Mission Critical: First North Charleston community meeting planned for April 9

All parents and North Charleston community members are invited to attend the first of three meetings between April and June to express your views on what is wanted and needed for your public schools.

This is not a “district meeting” but an opportunity for an independent voice directly to the Charleston County School District Board – invited and encouraged by the Board and its “Mission Critical” actions planning.

There will not be any speeches or panel discussions. You will have the opportunity to see how North Charleston schools are performing for your children and further discuss in small groups, with trusted community leaders, what should come next.

When: 6 to 7:45 p.m. on Tuesday, April 9

Where: North Charleston High School (1087 East Montague Avenue)

Co-Facilitators: Thetyka Robinson and John Read, Tri-County Cradle to Career Collaborative

We look forward to this experience and what will be created together.

** Refreshments will be provided. **



Post & Courier hosting ‘Minimally Adequate’ education forum on April 1

The Post and Courier is hosting a “Minimally Adequate” education forum from 4:30 to 6 p.m. on Monday, April 1 at Trident Technical College, Building 970, in North Charleston.

Panelists at the forum include:

  • Gerrita Postlewait | Superintendent of Charleston County School District
  • Sherri Snipes-Williams | CEO of Charleston Promise Neighborhood
  • Tina Wirth | Senior Vice President of Talent Advancement, Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce
  • Natasha Akery | Teacher at Military Magnet Academy

Tickets are free at: https://tickets.postandcourier.com/e/fixscschools/tickets​

Kindergarten Readiness Network members take a Data Walk

Special thanks to all Kindergarten Readiness Network members who joined us for a Data Walk! Members spent time at six stations reviewing and discussing early childhood facility locations, capacity and ratings; Kindergarten Readiness Assessment (KRA) results broken down by test domains, school, race and poverty level; and food deserts.


Riley Institute accepting submissions for Dick and Tunky Riley WhatWorksSC Award

Do you know a school or community-based program that is truly making a difference for our students?

The Riley Institute at Furman University is accepting submissions for the annual Dick and Tunky Riley WhatWorksSC Award, given each fall to a program that is making a difference for our public school students and has data to support its success.

Submissions are open March 4, 2019 – April 30, 2019 for this year’s award.  To be considered for the award programs must:

  • have been in existence for one year;
  • have a design grounded in sound national research; and
  • have a comprehensive evaluation that shows convincing evidence of success and the relevance and effectiveness of the program.

A confidential, non-partisan selection committee consisting of representatives from the South Carolina State Board of Education, a major South Carolina-based corporation, a South Carolina institution of higher education, and a representative from a highly-regarded national education program will judge the entries.

The winner and finalists of the will be announced and celebrated at the annual WhatWorksSC Awards luncheon on November 12, 2019 in Columbia. The winner will receive a $10,000 cash award, with a $1,000 award going to each of the two finalists.

Past and future winners and finalists will be featured on SCETV’s KnowItAll.org website and in the Riley Institute’s WhatWorksSC Clearinghouse.

Past winners include:

2018 Farm to Belly (Bradshaw Institute, Prisma Health)

2017 Make Summer Count (Public Education Partners)

2016 Healing Species Violence Prevention Compassion Education Program

2015 Teacher Cadet Program (Center for Educator Recruitment, Retention and Advancement-CERRA)

2014 Center of Excellence to Prepare Teachers of Children of Poverty (Francis Marion University)

2013 Chester Park Elementary School of Inquiry Project-Based Learning Initiative (with Winthrop University)

2012 Reading Recovery Training Center (Clemson University)

2011 South Carolina Teaching Fellows (Center for Educator Recruitment, Retention and Advancement-CERRA)

Details: https://riley.furman.edu/whatworkssc-clearinghouse-application

Communications professional joins TCCC staff

Amanda Kowal

Amanda Kowal

Tri-County Cradle to Career Collaborative has expanded its staff by hiring Amanda Kowal as Communications and Administration Associate, a part-time position that reports to the Director of Communications and Operations.

Kowal has more than 20 years of experience in marketing, communications, meeting planning and administration with non-profit organizations. Her most recent position was in marketing and communications for AnMed Health Medical System in Anderson.

At TCCC, Kowal will assist in drafting communications to partners, donors and the general public as well as planning and coordinating meetings and events.

“TCCC is growing and taking on many new initiatives in our work to support the success of every child. Amanda’s ample experience in non-profit communications will help us meet our goals and move forward,” Ashley Heffernan, TCCC’s Director of Communications and Operations, said. “I believe she will be a valuable asset to the TCCC team.”

Kowal earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, LA. She has also worked for the Georgia Obstetrical and Gynecological Society in Atlanta and the American Speech-Language Hearing Association in Rockville, MD, as well as other organizations.

Letter: Reform education funding laws

Special thanks to The Post & Courier for publishing TCCC CEO John C. Read’s letter to the editor, titled “Reform education funding laws.”

“All of the reports and studies are explicit: The vestiges of racial biases pervade the existing system and must be eliminated before every child can succeed,” Read said.

Click here to read the letter.

TCCC recommends changes to innovative schools, teacher salary, early childhood

Note: A previous version of this press release included an error in the teacher pay recommendation. The mistake has been corrected, and TCCC sincerely regrets the error.

Tri-County Cradle to Career Collaborative announced the first of what will likely be a series of actions needed to support the reformation of public education in the tri-county region and across the state. Education attainment in the region has shown almost no progress over the past six years, and TCCC has expanded its advocacy work to press for change.

These first three actions are the result of deliberations by TCCC’s staff and Board of Directors, as well as ongoing consultation with various community groups.

1. We believe that to reform public education from within, local school boards should be permitted, supported and encouraged to create more than one innovative school per district. Legislative language should be included that directs this flexibility toward innovative models serving high-poverty areas and with community representatives at the decision table.

For example, districts are limited to one such innovative school under the terms of the School of Choice Law. In the tri-county region, only the Charleston County School District has created an innovative school.

2. We believe an increase in teacher pay to the Southeast region market average is the first step in improving teacher recruitment and retention. A 5% salary increase is required immediately, followed by a 15% increase over time to move toward the national average. Salary increases should be fully funded by the state.

The teacher shortage in schools and in the teacher-training pipeline has reached crisis proportions, and there is no doubt that pay is a critical factor. If the tri-county region is unable to assure a pipeline of qualified teachers, there is no possible way to close workforce gaps in other occupations.

3. We believe that focused attention by the state on early childhood development and education is a necessary step in support of education attainment for all. We support the reorganization of state agencies to place programs supporting early childhood in a single department.

The state of South Carolina has early childhood support programs spread across multiple departments, making coordination and alignment of these initiatives impossible. Reorganization is the first step toward increasing evidence-based programs, especially for children and families at risk.

“We strongly encourage our state lawmakers to make these necessary changes and to make education reform a meaningful priority,” said Laura Varn, a member of the TCCC Board of Directors and chair of the Board’s Advocacy Subcommittee. “It’s time we stand up for our teachers and our children as an investment in our future.”

Additional recommendations on more complex system-reform issues are likely, especially solutions intended to address inequity.

“The Post & Courier’s ‘Minimally Adequate’ series has set the stage for real reform to take place in South Carolina public education, and we cannot afford to squander the opportunity,” TCCC CEO John C. Read said. “These recommendations are first steps in the systems-change process. We intend to make additional policy and legislative recommendations, in partnership with grassroots community groups in the tri-county region, to the point of disruption.”

“The Teachers Voice for Change” event planned for Feb. 28

The College of Charleston’s School of Education, Health, and Human Performance is hosting an event at 5:30 p.m. on Feb. 28 at the Rita Liddy Hollings Science Center, Room 101, for teachers to share their vision for the future of education.

Town hall scheduled in North Charleston for Feb. 11

A North Charleston Area Town Hall Meeting has been scheduled for 6:30-8 p.m. on February 11 at 4441 Durant Avenue to discuss closing the gap in the school district.

Rally for reform planned for Monday, Feb. 11

Regional school boards will hold a rally for reform at 6 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 11 at Lightsey Chapel at Charleston Southern University (9200 University Blvd., North Charleston).

Come together for a public meeting with legislators, teachers, community members and parents to learn more about education reform in South Carolina. The event will feature:

  • In-depth discussion about the need for education reform
  • Individuals sharing real-life experiences
  • Questions and answers

The event is sponsored by the South Carolina School Board Association’s Region 1 (Beaufort, Colleton, Dorchester Two, Dorchester Four and Jasper) including Berkeley and Charleston.