PICKENS COUNTY — The board and administration for the School District of Pickens County recently on the campus of Tri-County Technical College for a retreat to discuss the future directions of the school district, its staff and students.
As part of the gathering, a board meeting was held following the introduction of new members to Pickens County Council, along with a board retreat which is held annually.
The regular meeting of SDPC’s board led to the discussion of and vote for changes to the 2016-2017 school calendar, all in the second semester and dealing solely with in-service days and professional development days as the district attempts to create more instruction time before the beginning of mandatory testing.
By a vote of 4-1 the measure passed, and a revised second semester will have days out of the classroom moved to the end of the year. As a result graduation will be held a week earlier than originally intended. A revised schedule will be made available to parents.
Changes to the development of the instructional calendar by SDPC also passed first reading by a 4-1 vote.
Where before there had been an equal number of parents/legal guardians in ratio to SDPC personnel making calendar suggestions, the change will eliminate the membership of parents/legal guardians. A calendar will be developed, presented to the board, then delivered for community input before being voted on by the SDPC board.
The board also discussed personnel leaves, absences and accumulated vacation in terms of policy and how much is paid for those days upon retirement or separation. It was tabled until financial numbers were available.
The second portion of the July 27 meeting was a retreat for SDPC administration and board members to develop the plans for the future. According to Dr. Danny Merck. superintendent of SDPC, seven areas will be discussed by leadership as they do each year at this time during similar retreats.
“The organization leadership meets like this for AdvancEd requirements to solidify our vision and create a plan to make it happen. We come together to discuss our goals and direction of the district in seven areas and the decisions to be made for the upcoming school year,” Merck said. “This is where we all come together and help formulate our goals as a team. It was from meetings similar to this where we got the vision on competitive pay and hiring the best. Before that retreat and goal setting discussions we (SDPC) were 50th in the state in pay and now we are number 25.”
The seven areas to be discussed are general fund budget five year outlook, accountability/innovation, reading, math, graduation rate/at risk, technology, college/career, organizational chart/capital needs update, and career training and technology.
Merck feels, with only weeks to go, SDPC is ready for 2016-2017 except for the loss of a key member of the SDPC family unexpectedly.
“Losing Marion Lawson so suddenly and unexpectedly definitely set us back, being the man he was he will be missed,” Merck said. “Cliff Alexander is filling in and he will do a great job for us.”
Alexander is the interim Assistant Superintendent of Education for SDPC and is also the principal of Six Mile Elementary.
Reach D. C. Moody at 864-855-0355.