South Carolina Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman met with Greenwood teachers at the Genesis Education Center on Thursday. She addressed teacher concerns and commented on some pressing matters that District 50 is facing, including the district’s calendar proposal, which would shorten summer break and instead implement two-week remediation breaks after every nine weeks.
Q: I’m sure you’ve heard about District 50’s proposal to change the county’s schools’ schedule. What’s your opinion on the matter?
A: I think we got a number of districts in South Carolina that are looking at that. I just met with the superintendents across the state this morning and we’re encouraging them to be innovative. I think just changing the calendar is not enough, there needs to be a purpose in doing that. There should be some plan where this is going to help kids, that’s the bottom line, and if it helps students then I’m all for it.
Q: What are your thoughts on consolidation, and is there anywhere in Greenwood that’s done a good job at consolidating?
A: I think consolidation of school districts is an issue that local communities need to face. I’m very interested in running efficient districts and I know that once you get below about 1,500 students per district it gets very difficult to financially fund an administrative team, and you need that support. I know Ware Shoals does it very well here in Greenwood County but around the state that’s not always the case. Too much money is spent on administration and not enough money in the classroom to give opportunities for students. I am encouraging communities to discuss it, it’s left up to them.
Q: There’s been an emphasis on remediation in Greenwood, and the district’s proposal focuses heavily on remediation time for students. What are your general thoughts concerning remediation in schools?
A: It’s proven that students forget things, the longer the break the more they forget. It’s very important, that’s why we have reading camps and activities for students, particularly those that are lower scoring. That extra support helps them just maintain progress because without some type of remediation going on they’re generally going to go backwards. If we can maintain where they are, or even better, make progress, remediation does really pay off.
Q: What are your general thoughts on District 50 and the current state of Greenwood’s education?
A: I think you got some great leadership here in Greenwood, I love Greenwood! There’s just so much potential here, and the community’s always been very supportive of the schools. The families have to participate, so I’m really proud of what you do here in Greenwood. I think that we can always be seeking how can we better serve (or) how can we better meet the needs of every individual student, and I know your administrators here are looking at that so it’s a good place to be.