Page 1


Vol. 32

South Carolina Association of School Administrators


Fall 2015

My Sidewalks on Scott Foresman Reading Street: Intensive Reading Intervention is an intensive reading intervention program that accelerates the reading development of struggling students.

Words Their Way: Word Study in Action Developmental Model is the assessment driven, student-centered, researchbased approach to word study.

We are delighted to announce the release of SuccessMaker v8 – Maximize your instructional impact by: Empowering Educators with Actionable Data, New SC ELA and Math College and Career Readiness Standards Embedded at point of use to track and monitor student progress, Personal Tutor for Every Student, Java Free – HTL5 Device Agnostic, and Brand New Pricing!

Pearson’s iLit is a comprehensive literacy solution designed to produce two or more years of reading growth in a single year for grades 4-10.

QuickReads® is a reading fluency program, based on research, that develops fluency and comprehension in students who struggle to make the leap from merely reading words to reading and comprehending meaning.

For more information, contact: 803-606-5933 803-627-4728 703-431-4997 All Rights Reserved. E0615-001 817-219-3571 828-230-2388

SCASA STAFF Beth Phibbs Executive Director Hannah Pittman Associate Director Jay Welch Director of Finance and Technology Jonathan Rauh Director of Governmental Affairs $SULO*ULIĂ€Q Coordinator of Member Recognition and Student Services





Celebrate! Teachers Leading Teachers • By Sarah Catto and Diane Ross


How to Get Your School Firing on all Cylinders • By Erik Lowry, Ph.D.


Celebrating the Joys of School Nursing • By Dr. Sonia Cunningham Leverette


The Power of General Music Education • By David V. Mastran, Sc.D.

Dr. George Ward President-Elect


Second Grade Engineers Tackle Environmental Challenge • %\'DQD6+XWWR0(G1%&7DQG9LFNL-7UDXà HU3K'

Dr. Christina Melton Past President


Growing Professional Development Facilitators: A Grassroots Approach! • By Jessica Bower, Dr. Robin Cox, Deborah Gascon, Sara Kearns, Caitlin McKenzie, Dr. Sally Somerall


Celebrating: The “Why Notâ€? Attitude • By Dr. Andrew B. Hooker


A Whole Lot of “Tinkeringâ€? Going On! • By Angie Rye, Cherlyn Anderson, and Samantha Trotterr


Beyond the 401(K) • By Tommy Suggs


Celebrating our STEM Journey• By Jeannie Pressley, Trevor Ivey, Jenaii Edwards, Stephanie Barrineau, Cherlyn Anderson, and Lori Smith


Celebrating the Work of Educators and Others Who Serve America • By Chris Shealy


Media Center 2.0 • By Dr. Kathleen Corley

Jessica Morgan Coordinator of Membership, Managing Editor

SCASA BOARD Dr. Scott Turner President

Dr. Russell Booker Dr. David Mathis Mr. Clark Cooper Mr. Ozzie Ahl Mr. Steve Garrett Ms. Judy Beard Ms. Ingrid Dukes Mr. Norris Williams Mrs. Virginia “Ginger� Catoe Dr. Charlene Stokes Mr. Phillip Jackson Mrs. Sandy Andrews Mrs. Nancy O. Verburg Dr. Jesse Washington Mr. Bill Briggman Dr. Arlene Bakutes Mrs. Katina Davis Dr. Terry Pruitt Ms. Tara Dean Dr. Chris Burkett Mr. Chuck Saylors


The Palmetto Administrator is published semi-annually by the South Carolina Association of School Administrators, 121 Westpark Blvd., Columbia, SC 29210, (803) 798-8380


A Message From the Executive Director • By Beth Phibbs


A Message From The President • By Scott Turner

Send address changes to Advertising information and contributors’ information are available online.


2015-16 SCASA Division Presidents


2015 SCASA Member Retirees


Celebrating South Carolina's Finest Schools


SCASA Annual Award Winners





Publication Policy: Articles should be written in an informal, conversational style, where treatment of the topic is interesting, insightful and based on the writer’s experience. The editor encourages the use of charts, photos and other artwork. To be considered for publication, articles should be submitted electronically, preferably in MSWord, using one-inch margins. The cover page should show the author’s name, position and complete contact information. The article’s working title and a one or two sentence summary should appear on the title page. Submit article proposals or completed articles for consideration to the Managing Editor, Jessica Morgan, Articles submitted to Palmetto Administrator may be edited for style, content, and space before publication. Articles may not be reproduced without consent of the publisher.





appy 2015-2016 school year, although it is hard to believe that we are already two months into the year! As we continue our theme of CELEBRATION, I hope you are taking the time to celebrate all of the great things happening in your schools and districts throughout the state. Jon Gordon, one of our speakers at i3, challenged us to select a word for the year and to focus on it in everything we do. Our word for the year is “leadership,” as a main goal of our association is to cultivate and develop great leaders. I hope you will take the Jon Gordon challenge and select a word for your focus this year.

We have numerous events and leadership development opportunities to offer you this year. At the Superintendents’ Symposium, we launched SCASA’s Center for Executive Education Leadership (CEEL). CEEL will be offering leadership development opportunities for aspiring leaders, assistant principals, school principals, and transformational district leaders. We will begin with the assistant principal cohort in October and the aspiring leaders cohort in February. We will also offer assessments and executive coaching as part of our CEEL model. Additional information about CEEL is on the back cover of this magazine. I hope you will take advantage of these wonderful opportunities. As always, thank you for your membership and for all that you do to help educate the children of South Carolina. As we embark on “taking the lead” in South Carolina, let us remember a lesson taught by the late President John F. Kennedy, “If not us, who? If not now, when?”

The Power of Individualized Learning in the Palm of Your Hand 9LVLWUHWKLQNȴUVWFRPWROHDUQPRUH

To learn more, contact Tammy Graham . 803.319.4031 7DPP\*UDKDP#UHWKLQNȴUVWFRP



SCASA members, get with our programs When it comes to paying tribute to your class acts, Horace Mann believes in the three R’s — reach, recognize and reward. We offer recognition programs to help you reach and reward deserving teachers, employees and students: Achievement/Attendance Program • Crystal Apple Award • Outstanding School Employee Program

Donny Brown• 864-979-3584


Take the Lead By Scott Turner, Ed. D.


s leaders of education across our state, we must embrace the CHANGE which is the one constant in our profession. We are all aware of the varied and complex issues we as leaders of education face in our state. These issues range from funding mechanisms, equity, implementation of strategies and programs that ensure students are college and career ready, increasing efficiency in the delivery of education, infrastructure issues, instructional technology, effective use of data, and many others. We must tailor our leadership to meet the needs of rural, urban, suburban, as well as, areas with varying levels of poverty. Leadership is not an innate quality, but one that is nurtured and developed. We must work to ensure our state’s educational leaders continue to learn and develop 21st century skill sets. SCASA is the organization within



our state where educational leaders may access leadership development opportunities to enhance these necessary skills. We must all work to continue our professional growth as leaders, and know that SCASA will continue to provide innovative leadership development opportunities and support to any educator seeking to fill a position of leadership. Many say that being a leader is lonely. I believe if you feel that way then you aren’t leading effectively. You should be surrounded by teams in an environment of mutual respect and mutual trust. Effective positive leadership is the key to success within any endeavor. We all have the capacity to Take the Lead and bring about positive change for our schools and districts. As a leader, you are the key to bringing about the effective change that our students and families deserve. I extend the challenge to all of our members to "take the lead" and resolve to keep our focus on the children we serve. CELEBRATE public education in South Carolina! #TakeTheLead @STSpart5

We can change the future. Do you know a student, 16-19 years of age, whose home or community environment impedes their school progress? The state-certiďŹ ed teachers and award-winning JROTC program at Wil Lou Gray Opportunity School can help them move beyond life’s obstacles by focusing on academics, leadership and career planning. 5V[L]LY`[LLUPZHJHUKPKH[LMVYV\Y^LLRWYVNYHT,HJOT\Z[Ă„YZ[ be a legal resident of South Carolina and the United States and then be at risk of: • being held back in their grade in school, • dropping out of school, or • not making a successful transition from school to career. Wil Lou Gray is a Palmetto Gold School and a state agency, so for the students selected, room and board, books and tuition are provided at no cost.




Presidents District Superintendents D

Secondary S P Principals’ D Division

Dr. David Mathis D

Katrina Singletary K

Superintendents’ S Division D

Saluda S a County Schools

M Middle Level Principals’ P Division D P Principals and assistant principals a of middle schools o

Judy Beard J Whittemore Park Middle School W Horry County Schools H

Principals P r and assistant principals a o of high schools

Newberry County Schools N

Career & Technology C Education E Administrators’ A Division D District and school-level D lleaders e of career and ttechnology e education

Ernest Poag E N Nation Ford High School York District 4 Y

Adult Education A Division D State, district and school S llevel e directors of adult e education

Sharon Teigue S Sumter County Schools S

E Education Deans’ D Division

Education E Specialists’ Division S Directors of special ed, D guidance, ttechnology, e business, information, etc. b

Dr. George Ward D LLaurens a District 55

Personnel Division P

H Higher education deans and professors a

State and district S llevel e personnel/HR administrators a

Dr. Chris Burkett D

Dr. Jesse Washington D

Columbia College C

Elementary E Principals’ Division P Principals P r and assistant principals of a elementary schools e

Ginger Catoe G

Doby's Mill Elementary School D Kershaw County Schools K

Orangeburg District 5 O

I Instructional Leaders’ Division D A Assistant and Deputy Superintendents for S Instruction and other In district instructional d leaders le

Dr. Terry Pruitt D Spartanburg S p District 7




Charles Bagwell

Arcadia Elementary School


John Banning

Carolina High School & Academy

Assistant Principal

Nancy Brantley

East North Street Academy


Jan Bratcher

Anderson School District 2

Title I & Public Relations Director

Wayne Brazell

SC Public Charter School


Matt Brown

York School District 1

Asst Superintendent of Operations & Admin Services

Angela Brown

Richland School District 1

Grants Monitoring Administrator

Keith Callicutt

Florence School District 3


Dale Campbell

Spartanburg School District 2


Lucretia Carter

Westview Primary School


Shirley Chapman

Robert Cashion Elementary School


Kenda Cook

Griggs Road Elementary


Lee D'Andrea

Anderson School District 4


Gwendolyn Dixon-Coe

Marlboro County Schools

CATE Director

Cynthia Downs

Newberry County Schools

Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum & Instruction

Priscilla Drake

Whale Branch Early College High School


Maria Duncan

York School District 1

Director of Human Resources

Elizabeth Everitt

Aiken County Public School District


John Feeney

Sumter County School District


Chester Floyd

Lexington School District 3


Rosia Gardner

Greenville County Schools


Beverly Gardner-Grate

Georgetown County Schools


Herbert Gould

Marlboro County Schools

Director of Adult Education

Angela Grice

Easterling Primary School





Deb Hargrove

Dorchester School District 2

Coordinator of Title Programs

Fay Hartis

Pine Tree Hill Elementary

Assistant Principal

Venus Holland

Lexington School District 2






Mildred Huey

York School District 1

Director of Instruction & Assessment

Janice Keller

Goucher Elementary


Anne Martin

Pelham Road Elementary

Assisstant Principal

Alex Martin

Greenville County Schools

Coordinator of Career Awareness

Wallace Meggs

Laurens School District 55

Director of Technology

Ann Miller

Bonds Career Center

MSAP Coordinator

Marelyn Murdaugh

Hampton School District 1

Director of Special Services

Arlene O'Dell

Greenwood District 51

Director of Student Support

Heidi Pendergrass

Easley High School

Assistant Principal

Angela Prioleau

Cainhoy Elementary/Middle School

Assistant Principal

Jim Ray

Spartanburg School District 3





Joan Sagona

Sumter County School District

Assistant Superintendent for Instruction

Doris Santanello

Child Development Centers


Russell Scott

Hickory Tavern School


Beth Selander

Seaside Elementary School


Elizabeth Sima

Spartanburg School District 5


Mary Sloan

Travelers Rest High School

Assisstant Principal

Denise Randall Smith

Lady's Island Elementary School

Assistant Principal

Patricia Snider

Gettys Middle School

Assisstant Principal

Belinda Snow

Spartanburg School District 5

Director of Elementary Education

Robert Sullivan

Florence School District 2


Cassandra Tominack

Berea Middle School

Assisstant Principal

Brenda Turner

Orangeburg Consolidated School District 4


Bill Utsey

Greenville County Schools

Director of Athletics

Janet Vaughan

Hammond Hill Elementary School


Wanda Whatley

SC Public Charter School

Teacher Evaluation Coordinator

Juanita Wilson

Florence School District 3

Director of Exceptional Children


Celebrate! Teachers Leading Teachers Sarah Catto and Diane Ross


pple stores around the world offer free, handson, technical support workshops for Apple products at their “Genius Bars.” At Goodwin Elementary, a portion of our teachers’ professional development follows a similar model, but with a twist Edmodo that builds their capacity for leading adult learners Uploading/sharing documents (Dropbox/Box/Showbie/AirDrop) while extending their tech-savvy capabilities. Goodwin Elementary is on a journey to Augmented Reality (Aurasma) transform traditional classrooms to student-centered, personalized learning environments. Personalized Annotators/How to Edit Digital Documents (Notability/Google Docs) Learning is built upon the foundations of a masteryStudent Response Systems (Socrative/Padlet) based system and a learner-centered environment. In a mastery-based system, students progress through Recording Audio/Video directions (Audioboo/ScreenChomp/EDUcreations/Show Me/ProShow) curriculum by proving mastery on each standard. In a learner-centered environment, the education is Creation Apps (Book Creator/Strip Designer/Prezi/Popplet/ individualized and differentiated to meet learners QR codes “where they are” in the learning continuum. To help us achieve this reality for all students, we are also a Goodwin Survey Results 2013-2014 1:1 iPad school, where each student has an iPad to use in the classroom. These iPads are used as tools A major complaint of many teachers is that most of their to help teachers create the kind of personalized learning professional development does not meet their needs or is not environment where students are offered opportunities for relevant to their teaching. Utilizing the data in this manner choice about what is learned, when it is learned, and how it helped us narrow our focus to the highest priority of the is learned. As teachers began to explore apps that would best teachers in the area of technology. meet their students’ needs, we realized we needed a timeFinding Teacher Geniuses efficient, focused, and engaging professional development model to support teachers’ use of these apps. The “App One of the most important components of this Genius Bar” model emerged. professional development model is the idea that teachers facilitate the sessions, instead of an educational technology Using Teacher Input consultant or coach. Teachers as facilitators can address In the world of Apple, their “geniuses” are store team realistic questions their colleagues may encounter in the members who focus on technical support for Apple products classroom because they may have faced the same issues in for Apple users who come to those support sessions. In the their own classroom that very same week. Also, learning world of Goodwin, our teachers are the “geniuses” and lead from a peer lends itself to a more relaxed and less formal monthly professional development sessions around the use of tone to a professional development session, which is the iPad apps in the classroom. kind of atmosphere we want. Finally, the more teachers At the end of the school year, teachers complete a survey facilitate professional development, the more we can build asking them to prioritize their professional development self-sufficiency within the staff instead of looking to outside needs in a variety of areas, including technology. When presenters. This can lead to increased confidence among PD analyzing the results, we noted a large majority of teachers facilitators and improved collegiality among teachers. (72%) wanted to learn more about apps to help them digitally To find teacher volunteers for an App Genius Bar, upload and share documents with their students. Therefore, we begin by noting which teachers are using which apps our first App Genius Bar of the following school year in their classrooms. Our apps that are used for digitally addressed that need. sharing and uploading documents to students include Edmodo and Showbie, while other teachers may utilize the


AirDrop function of the iPad or online access to a Weebly website. Each one of these document-sharing methods could be a session for our App Genius Bar. We invite teachers to volunteer and facilitate one of the sessions for the App Genius Bar.

How Is an App Genius Bar Organized? The tone of an App Genius Bar is relaxed and informal, but still follows an organized routine. A week before the scheduled professional development, all teachers receive a Choice Menu that describes the different apps that will be explored and who will be the teacher facilitator. Teachers can choose as many or as few sessions as they like, and they come to the App Genius Bar knowing their choices beforehand to save time.

App Genius Bar Choice Menu

In a 45 minute App Genius Bar, there are 3 fifteenminute rotations. Teachers rotate to their first, second, and third choices every 15 minutes; however, some teachers choose to stay at one of their choices for a second rotation to have even more time to “play” and learn more about that app. Since teachers are choosing to attend the App Genius Bar in their after school time, we do provide snacks and drinks as yet another way to make this professional development enjoyable and fun. We believe this kind of professional development serves a variety of purposes. It extends the tech-savvy capabilities of our teachers while building their capacity to facilitate professional development. It is an engaging, focused, and data-driven form of professional development that is relevant to teachers’ needs. We’re proud to have geniuses on staff at Goodwin Elementary!


Sarah Catto

Diane Ross


How to Get Your School Firing on all Cylinders Erik Lowry, Ph.D.

How do you create a school culture where everyone is committed to excellence? Buy In


s a former school principal, I focused a lot of energy on trying to have staff “buy in” to a particular philosophy or idea. The reason for this was simple. If everyone was consistently working toward the same common goal, then we would have a much better chance of achieving that goal. For example, one year we wanted to reduce the opportunities for bullying in our middle school. To start, we agreed that this was important. This had to be our goal, not simply my goal. While this sounds simple enough, there are lots of aspects to consider before achieving this level of teamwork. A level where everyone is firing on all cylinders. We all had to do our part. We started by identifying the times and locations where this could happen. We called these locations “hot spots”. Generally, bullying would occur between classes and during breaks, such as lunch. So we split ourselves up into teams where we ensured we were visible and “covered” those areas with staff members. This required staff to cover these areas while giving up about 5 minutes of our planning times. We all know how precious and limited that time is. I am happy to say that we were very successful and I use this as an example because it took all of us working together. We had to “buy in” and support each other toward this common goal. We had to “Fire on All Cylinders”.

Critical Mass Let’s think about this notion of “Firing on All Cylinders”. What does this mean for a school staff? According to Harvey (2013), “Drawing on detailed case studies and large-scale quantitative analysis, the research shows that most school variables, considered separately, have at most small effects on learning. The real payoff comes


when individual variables combine to reach critical mass” (p.5.). I contend that this “critical mass” is referring to “Firing on All Cylinders.” Back to my situation. I was the principal of a middle school with 900 students and about 90 faculty and staff. Is it really possible to have all 90 faculty and staff firing on all cylinders? Individually, that is not possible. For an individual to be “firing on all cylinders”, requires a person to be physically, mentally, and emotionally healthy. With the sheer number of staff we had, there was always someone who was hurting or lacking in one of these areas. So how did we succeed in our goal? We worked as a team and the “team” was “firing on all cylinders”.

Perfection Take football for example. Does everyone on the team have to be healthy for the team to succeed? That would be optimal of course, but there are examples where teams have had multiple injured players, yet they still won. Why is this? I offer to you that real “teams” work as a unit toward a common goal. They pick up the work load when others are hurt. They step in and help, even when it is not their responsibility. Why do real teams do this? Because they have one common goal. That goal is simple. They want to win and will do whatever they can to help each other toward

that common goal. The key word here is “common”. This common goal allows the team to bond together like a family. Families, by their very nature, care about each other and make sacrifices for each other. How often have you heard of a great team refer to themselves as a family? Vince Lombardi, legendary Head Coach of the Green Bay Packers is quoted as saying, “Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence” (Entis, 2015, p.2). Key word here is “WE”! So, we have established that you don’t have to have everyone on your staff healthy and happy, but you do have to have an atmosphere that strives for excellence and cares about one another above themselves. Does your school have this atmosphere? How does a school leader accomplish this? Let’s take a look at what effective leaders do.

during that time? If it is expected that every person arrive to school on time, should the leader of that school also arrive on time? Of course. Unfortunately, I have seen instances where something this simple can ruin the culture of a school. School leaders are often the ones who enforce the rules of the school. Shouldn’t they also follow them? Of course they should.

Effective Leaders Lead by Example

Gentle Boldness

“The best way to establish a standard is by modeling the expected behavior yourself. Showcase excellence. When your actions have the potential to affect everyone around you and the bottom line, don’t dabble in mediocrity” (MariamaAuthur, 2014, p.1). This one is not complicated, right? After all, if you want staff or students to support an idea or plan, you have to be willing to follow that idea and plan right? If there is an idea to have everyone in the building read at a certain time of day, should the leader of the school also read

According to Forbes (n.d.), Lao –Tzu is quoted as saying, “Be gentle and you can be bold; be frugal and you can be liberal; avoid putting yourself before others and you can become a leader among men” (p.1.). When I think about leading with humility, I think about teacher leadership. Leading with humility means that you understand that you are a part of a team. Some people in your building are better at certain aspects of your school than you are. Be humble enough to embrace this idea. Empower your staff to become


leaders in your building. Think like you are all rowing in a boat. You help set up the boat and ensure there are ores and rowers in place, but then you find your ore and row alongside them. Let others lead the way and give them a chance to shine. Remember, the goal is to make the school productive and a great place for students to learn. It takes everyone to make that happen.

Showtime Webster (n.d.) defines Genuine as “actual, real or true, sincere and honest” (p.1). The point here is simple. If you want to establish an atmosphere of comradery, you must genuinely care about people in your school. Staff and students can tell when you do not care about them. The students are especially good at this. I was recently in a school and talked with some students about what it was like at their school. Their first question back to me was, why are you here visiting? I was on an accreditation visit, so I told them that schools occasionally ask outside people check on them from time to time to see how things are going from an outside perspective. One of the students responded with, “oh, so that is why my principal was in the hallway during class change today.” He noted that he never sees his principal. Students can tell when there teachers and administrators are being fake and putting on a show. My children have told me over the years that principals need to be in the classroom more so they can see what is going on. When we continue this discussion, one of them usually says, “it does not matter, the teacher always starts teaching when someone comes in.” Moral of this story, always do your best and you will not have to put on a show. Do what is right when no one is looking.

new ideas. You remember the definition of insanity don’t you? Doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. Lead your school to greatness by allowing it to “Fire on all Cylinders”.

References Entis, L. (2015, January 27). 10 Inspirational Quotes on Leadership From the NFL’s Greatest Coaches. Retrieved February 10, 2015, from article/242262 Gauraw, K. (2013, August 29). John Maxwell Categories. Retrieved February 10, 2015, from category/resources/quotes/john-maxwell genuine. (n.d.). Merriam-Webster. Retrieved February 1, 2014, from genuine Harvey, J. (2013, January 1). The School Principal as Leader: Guiding Schools to Better Teaching and Learning. Retrieved February 10, 2015, from http://www. effective-principal-leadership/Pages/The-School-Principalas-Leader-Guiding-Schools-to-Better-Teaching-andLearning.aspx Mariama-Authur, K. (2014, September 15). 6 Key Tips for Leading by Example. Retrieved February 10, 2015, from Thoughts on The Business of Life. (n.d.). Retrieved February 10, 2015, from quotes/5874/

About the Author Associate Professor of Education Francis Marion University PO Box 100547 Florence, SC 29505 843-661-1523 (phone) 843-661-4647 (Fax)

Insanity “Leaders become great, not because of their power, but because of their ability to empower others” (Gauraw, 2013, p.1). Be willing to get your hands dirty. Be willing to lead and be led. Effective leaders realize this. Be humble enough to get out of the way and let others succeed. Be honest with yourself and with your staff/students. They will appreciate your genuine spirit and respect you for it. Be bold and adventurous. Be willing to try new things and encourage


Erik Lowry, Ph.D.

Prior to FMU, I served as an Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources, a Middle School Principal, Assistant Principal, a Middle Level Math teacher and an Elementary Teacher.

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Celebrating the Joys of School Nursing Dr. Sonia Cunningham Leverette

“Someone call 9-1-1!! Ms. Candy has fallen downstairs and needs help!”


s soon as the call hit the emergency radio airwaves, district office employees headed to the basement. Many were relieved to see the district nurse performing CPR on Ms. Candy. Some ran to secure wet towels, some helped hold Ms. Candy in place, some watched for EMS, while others stood and watched Ms. Candy be resuscitated. At one point, it was apparent to all that Ms. Candy no longer had a heartbeat; she was completely unresponsive. Within fifteen minutes, the EMS appeared and the EMTs worked with Ms. Candy for several minutes before leaving the scene. Coworkers alerted Ms. Candy’s supervisor and family members, and the district nurse followed the EMS to the hospital. The traumatized onlookers returned to their offices, hoping to receive good news about Ms. Candy’s condition as soon as possible. This wasn’t the first time the district nurse was able to save a life, and it wouldn’t be the last. There’s a saying that goes “Save a life, you’re a hero. Save many lives, you’re a nurse.” As the supervisor of the nurses in the district, the district nurse can readily defend the need for every nurse in the district. But she’s not alone. Any employee or student can attest to the fact that whether someone needs medication or is experiencing extreme random symptoms, the assurance of knowing a nurse is nearby is calming.

Minor injuries, twisted ankles, scrapes, headaches, rashes, cramps and chapped lips used to be the norm in health rooms, but today the health issues are severely more complex. Diabetes, hypertension, asthma, cancer, pregnancy,


allergies, seizures, heart failure and HIV are commonplace. Not only must the school nurse of today be extremely compassionate, she must be well-versed in treating a vast array of conditions. When possible, savvy nurses know to set aside food and snacks for impoverished students frequenting their health rooms with empty tummies. They know the signs and symptoms of students with sexually transmitted diseases who just aren’t comfortable articulating their issue without them saying and how to discreetly retrieve help for them. As mandated reporters, nurses have a relationship with the Department of Social Services so they can report abuse or neglect. While field trips may be fun and a time to “get away” for some nurses, the conscientious nurse stays behind to administer medication to her other students.

Why be a School Nurse? Entering school nursing may not be an easy decision for most nurses, especially when financial considerations are made. School nurses make up to fifty-percent less than nurses employed at hospitals or within other healthcare settings. That nurses are compassionate individuals is an understatement, but those who work in the schools have answered a special calling. They truly are there for the students. While summer, spring and winter breaks are nice perks, the greatest joy for these individuals are the relationships they develop with the children. One nurse shared that she entered college to become a teacher. After realizing her calling was in the medical profession, she switched her major to nursing. Now, she can have the best of both worlds by serving as a school nurse. For over twenty-five years, she has enjoyed caring for thousands and thousands of students.

Salaries But what about the pay? The highest nursing salary may end where a teachers’ salary schedule begins. Compromising lower pay for fewer work hours, summers and holidays can be more than a notion. Few professionals, whether they hold a bachelors or associates degree, earn $20,000 in a professional capacity, even with 190-day contracts. Whether we hire registered nurses or licensed practical nurses, school nurses strive to provide optimal health care within their scope of practice and therefore, allow professional health interventions for students’ medical conditions.

Valuing the Position

An important component of school nursing is preventative care, which includes flu shots, hearing and vision screenings and immunizations. Often, these clinics are held within the schools to maintain good student and employee attendance. When infectious diseases, such as pertussis and meningitis, and lice outbreaks occur, parents of non-infected students must be notified as soon as possible. Coaches have even requested that nurses assist with drugtesting, sobriety testing and the administering of IV’s to dehydrated athletes.

Time Magazine featured nurses on its cover in 1938 when many changes began. Before then, “almost any girl could be a nurse.” But laws to protect patients changed the job into a profession. That’s exactly who nurses are, welleducated professionals deserving honor for answering a call to serve humankind. Time’s photo essay served as a salute to a “group of people responsible not only for the well-being of individual patients, but also the public health of a city and a nation. Their duty, after all, was ‘to secure the health of future generations.’” In conclusion, districts have tough decisions to make regarding the hiring, retaining, compensating and evaluating of school nurses. One sure fact is that given today’s health care demands, school nurses are not optional. So, let’s hire them, respect them, appreciate them, treat them as professionals and pay them as professionals and not as paraprofessionals. Hopefully, your district celebrated your nurses on May 6th, and if you are reading this, thank a nurse for the elementary vision screening you had years ago.



Nurses are at-risk of mono, TB, HIV, chicken pox, rubella, hepatitis B, bites from students, you name it. At any time, they may be sprayed with vomit or other bodily fluids. They must be proactive in protecting students and other employees who encounter exposures by documenting, scheduling appointments and paying the bills for required medical treatment.

(2015, May 5). Retrieved from national-nurses-week/

Preventative Care

Medicaid Billing Documentation, regardless as to the setting a nurse works in, is a non-negotiable, and strict adherence to company policy is a must. But sometimes, the interpretation of the policy is a monster. And don’t forget having to bill Medicaid, attend IEP and 504 meetings, and write healthcare, emergency and safety plans.

About the Author Assistant Superintendent for Student Services Dr. Sonia Cunningham Leverette joined Anderson School District Five in 2004 as Director of Personnel Services. She holds a Bachelor of Arts and Masters of Education from Clemson University, both in Secondary Education (English), and a Doctorate in Educational Leadership from Dr. Sonia South Carolina State University. Dr. Leverette Cunningham serves as an adjunct professor for Anderson Leverette University’s College of Education. She has been a member of SCASA since 2001 and currently serves on the Innovation Conference Committee.


The Power of General Music Education How Fine Arts Strengthen Students and Core Curricula Across the Board David V. Mastran, Sc.D.


ost non-music educators don’t fully appreciate the power of an education in General Music for K-8 graders. Historically, it is often the first subject cut from school budgets. I’d like to encourage administrators across the country to consider an alternate thesis: that in times of tight budgets, General Music should be the last subject – not the first – to be cut from grades K-8. In fact, if there could only be one subject taught in elementary and middle schools, I believe the subject should be General Music. Why is music so important? Why is it so pervasive throughout our human history? How can an emphasis on music impact a school beyond a single classroom?

Every Culture on Every Continent

The Sound of our Feelings

All people, in every single nationality, use music to communicate emotions more effectively. There are English and Irish folk songs, German beer drinking songs, Latin music (including Salsa, Rumba, Samba) Japanese Taiko drumming, Native American flute and drum songs, Indian sitars, Russian folk songs, and saber dances, African percussion rhythms, American Pop songs … music exists in every place you can imagine. Every part of the world has its rhythms, scales, melodies, and songs. There is something unique about the power of music that makes it pervasive throughout the human species.

How would we communicate our emotions without music? Music is said to be the sound of our feelings. In terms of emotional development, music puts us in touch with our feelings. Whether the feelings are of love, excitement, triumph, awe, sorrow, tension, humor, anticipation, fear, patriotism, or some other emotion, music moves us. What would the movies be like without music? I dare say few would go. Why are Broadway musicals and operas so powerful? What about radio – where would it be without music? What about our churches and synagogues? And what about national and state anthems for arousing patriotism or college fight songs? What would Christmas be like without music? How about advertising? Music can be found in almost all non-print advertising. Music is one of our most important ways of communicating emotions, and people act on emotions. Proficiency in music supports other emotions such as self-esteem, pride in performance, and pride in the ability to do something creative. It also provides discipline in terms of the rigors of music making. Music provides afterschool activities to keep young people out of trouble. Math doesn’t do that, nor does any other subject, except perhaps for Physical Education. But music is much more. Music plays a significant role not only in our emotional expression and development, but

And All Throughout History The Greek chorus goes way back – 2,500 years. Wandering minstrels with four string instruments sang Homeric epics. King David of Israel sang psalms while playing the lyre. Medieval monks chanted prayers. Music is a defining factor for historical eras such as the Renaissance, Baroque, Classical, Impressionist, Post Impressionist, and Modern periods. Everyone has heard of Bach, Beethoven, and Brahms. Even today we have Pop, Rap, Jazz, Heavy Metal, Rock, Blues, Disco, Cajun, Latin, Folk, Country, Reggae, and many more musical styles. Some of our most famous celebrities are conductors, songwriters, singers, and musicians.


also in our spiritual, intellectual, and even our physical development. Music gives us spiritual depth. From the monasteries in central Europe and Negro spirituals in the cotton fields long ago, to hymns today in churches and our holiday songs, music has carried us to richer lives. Music provides hope in the form of a song.

Cross-Curricular Connections Music also helps us develop intellectually. General Music curricula in grades K-8 can easily be tailored to have strong cross-curricular connections with Math, English, Science, Technology, History, World Cultures/Geography, Social and Life Skills, and even Physical Education. Let’s see how. • Math – Music reinforces mathematics in such basic skills as counting, understanding of abstract symbols, and even set theory. Through music, math is given context. There is a real and compelling reason to learn to count beats in a measure. There is a real need to look at an abstract symbol and know what it means. Fractions like quarter notes and eight notes are critical in music. • English – Lyrics in music are poetry set to a melody. We learn to express ourselves better in song. Children learn to read the English language through music, especially by singing. Highlighting words in lyrics reinforces reading and spelling. Vocabulary is enhanced through music. • Science – Music reinforces science in understanding our anatomy: how we breathe, hear, and make sound. Music teaches us the nature of sound waves, including frequency and amplitude. We learn how sound is made and pitch is changed by different instrument families. Music teaches us about sound amplification and acoustics, and even more. • Technology – Music is full of technology from electronic keyboards to apps for playing the drums, guitar, ukulele, or keyboards … you name it. There are interactive musical games for kids to play. Composing a piece of music is like writing a computer program. Technology is where young people are and enjoy being.

We can learn about other peoples by studying their musical heritage. We learn the geography of where people live. • Life and Social Skills – Playing music in groups, singing in canons and rounds, and moving together in rhythms all develop our skills in cooperation and teamwork. Critical thinking and learning to provide constructive performance feedback to others is also stressed in General Music. As young people advance through middle school, they go into band and chorus and learn even more about working with others. • Physical Education – Movement to music and dance provides physical exercise to students. Tempos can be varied for slow or fast movement. Songs can be choreographed and exercise any part of the body. Music propels movement. Interestingly, music also carries special significance to students with special needs. Children with Autism, for example, respond to music when they may not respond to anything else. Even children with hearing impairments can often respond to music. And to the visually impaired, music is especially important. Unbelievably, music doesn’t require all our senses or cognitive ability to be therapeutic.

Music is All-Encompassing Music exists everywhere in our society and is integral to our way of living. Music covers our emotional, spiritual, cognitive, and physical development. Music touches almost every subject taught in grades K-8. No other subject comes close. These are the reasons I believe General Music should be one of the last subjects cut from schools instead of the first. It’s time we took advantage of the power of a General Music Education and made stronger connections to the other subjects in the K-8 grades.

About the Author Chief Executive Officer, 1706 Grand Vista Ave, Nashville TN 37212 Dr.

• History – Music reinforces history in understanding the lives of the great composers and their historic eras. The history of musical instruments is also a fascinating study, culminating in the electronic music we hear today. • World Culture/Geography – As mentioned, music exists in every culture in every part of the world. Folk songs exist in all cultures.

CEO and Co-Creator of in Nashville, TN, where his team is revolutionizing general music education with Seriously Fun tools for teaching and learning.

David V. Mastran, Sc.D.


Second Grade Engineers Tackle Environmental Challenge Dana S. Hutto, M.Ed., NBCT and Vicki J. Traufler, Ph.D.


he Plains All American Pipelines oil spill that devastated the coast of Santa Barbara, California in May 2015 got our attention. It is the responsibility of all citizens to become educated and involved in taking care of our environment. Students at Davis Early Childhood Center for Technology know that in order to understand the world we live in, it is imperative that we foster engineering and technological literacy for all students, even at an early age. Fortunately, children are born engineers – they are fascinated with building, with taking things apart, and with how things work. In a recent Engineering is Elementary unit from the Boston Museum of Science completed by second graders, they explored the field of environmental engineering as they designed a process to clean an oil spill in a model river. Through problem based learning, the students discovered how pollution can negatively affect organisms and the environment and how engineers must consider both short and long-term effects of pollutants within the ecosystem. The students were introduced to the world of environmental engineering through the book, Tehya’s Pollution Solution, by Engineering is Elementary. The students then received a letter from the mayor of the fictional town of Greentown. In the letter, the students were asked to help determine why plants were dying and animals were getting sick. The students were given data from soil and water tests from three years ago and asked to complete new soil and water tests for the town to help determine what was happening to the plants and animals. They conducted pH tests of soil and water at different sites and compared their results to the historical data from the same sites. After performing the tests, the students drew conclusions about pollutant sources. During the next lesson, students were introduced to the design process for cleaning up an oil spill to minimize the impact of the oil spill on an ecosystem. To help


understand how all organisms in an ecosystem are impacted by pollutants, students created a large scale food web illustrating the interconnection of the river, sun, and various animals and insects. The students worked in collaborative groups to test the effectiveness of different materials and tools for containing an oil spill and for removing oil from the surface of water. The students then came together as a class and created a chart evaluating each material based on how well it contained or removed oil from the water.

In the initial stages of the engineering design process, students began to ask, imagine, and plan a process to clean up the oil spill in the model river. They evaluated and reviewed what they had learned throughout the unit to help them with this challenge. Working within a constraining budget, the students selected which materials they would use in their process and in what order they would use them. Collaborative groups implemented, tested, and analyzed their designs to see how much oil still remained in the river and how that remaining oil could impact the river ecosystem. After the students analyzed their processes to determine their strengths and weaknesses, they improved their processes to make them more successful.

As a culminating activity, an environmental engineer visited the second graders. Students explained their designs to the engineer. He explained how their processes were very similar to the real world processes used by environmental engineers. He was quite impressed with the level of critical thinking and problem solving by the second grade students.

About the Authors Instructional Facilitator 2305 Frink Street Cayce, SC 29033 (803)739-4080 Dana S. Hutto, M.Ed, NBCT just began her third year as a coach at Davis Early Childhood Center for Technology in South Carolina and was formally a Kindergarten teacher for 20 years.

This problem based learning challenge demonstrates how meaningful and relevant learning can be. Who knows, one of these students may be the next environmental engineer that helps our world to be a cleaner place to live and enjoy.

Dana S. Hutto, M.Ed., NBCT Principal 2305 Frink Street Cayce, SC 29033 (803)739-4080


Vicki J. Traufler, Ph.D. is currently the Principal for Davis Early Childhood Center for Technology in South Carolina and has served in education for 31 years.

Engineering is Elementary: Cleaning an Oil Spill. National Center for Technological Literacy. Boston Museum of Science, Boston, MA 2009-2011. Photographs by Amy Tribble

Vicki J. Traufler, Ph.D.


Growing Professional Development Facilitators: A Grassroots Approach! Jessica Bower, Dr. Robin Cox, Deborah Gascon, Sara Kearns, Caitlin McKenzie, Dr. Sally Somerall

“I have to tell you, I’m so excited about our professional development days, I wake up the morning before and think, Man! Tomorrow is our PD day! Yes!” said no teacher, ever.


ntil now. In March 2015, a middle school teacher stopped our Professional Development Coordinator in the front office of his school and said just that. It was a crowning moment of a year-long journey by the members of School District Five of Lexington and Richland Counties’ Office of Instruction to start from scratch and build a professional development model that would engage, excite, and inspire teachers. At its core was the solution to the most persistent complaint: There’s never enough time to delve deeper for understanding!

History of PD in D5 Like many districts across the nation, District Five (D5) struggled for years trying to balance the needs of content coordinators to train teachers on timely content-related material with the needs of teachers to choose relevant, highinterest professional development topics. State legislators hand down mandates that must be addressed; districts search for ways to implement the mandates through specific, often non-related, trainings. The end result is a fractured professional development model that can appear, especially to teachers, to have the feel of “jumping on the newest bandwagon.” D5 is no exception. Over the past 15 years, we have tried models such as offering four 90-minute sessions on a PD day with no choice, then a model with limited choice, and then another model with open choice. There’s never enough time to delve deeper for understanding! We have tried offering multiple content-specific PD sessions in


the mornings and then allowing teachers to meet together in the afternoons to reflect on their learning. The disconnect seemed to be the sheer number of sessions upon which to reflect. There’s never enough time to delve deeper for understanding! We have tried focusing on one specific area—technology—with sessions and booths and speakers filling every moment of the day. There’s never enough time to delve deeper for understanding! We just could not seem to hit the mark with our teachers—they were disengaged and disgruntled. What were we missing?

Shift in Leadership After a shift in leadership in District Five several years ago, the culture of professional development began to shift as well. Dr. Stephen Hefner, Superintendent, created a laser focus on five district initiatives: Data Teams, Response to Intervention (RtI), State Adopted Standards, Positive Behavioral Intervention and Supports (PBIS), and Instructional Technology. In December 2013, our team of coordinators was challenged by Dr. Christina Melton, Chief Instructional Officer, to “build a better mousetrap” for PD. Gathering during the few days before winter break, we tossed around a few ideas; then, tossed around a few more ideas. Finally, we hit the spark. There’s never enough time to delve deeper for understanding! One piece of chart paper turned into two, then five, then a dozen. Over the next month, we revisited and revised the plan as we collaborated with leadership groups, administrators, and teachers for session ideas and feedback. The final plan, dubbed #LeaD5, was unveiled in spring 2014 and teachers cautiously began registering for sessions they recognized as their ideas. At that point, all we could do was be patient. It would be a year before we would know if that little spark had set off a firestorm.

Selecting Facilitators With registration well under way for our 2014–2015 Professional Development Days in August, October, and February, we turned our attention to a pressing question: Who is going to facilitate those 100+ sessions? With a staff of 14 coordinators, we fell short of being able to effectively lead PD. In early January 2014, when our full team of coordinators convened after the winter break, it quickly became apparent that our phenomenal new “mousetrap”

would need extra hands to carry it if we planned to be successful. From the beginning, Dr. Melton’s non-negotiable was that we include only our five district initiatives as we developed sessions with teacher input. In turn, the team’s non-negotiables were that 1) we have qualified facilitators with a proven record of working well with adults; 2) we provide purposeful, sustained training and support to develop the facilitators; and, 3) we provide meaningful incentives. We knew our model would not work without these three underpinnings and, fortunately, our leaders agreed with us. We knew from our first planning meeting that we wanted to use our own teachers to lead the new professional development model. There was never even discussion of hiring outside talent; we have so much talent within our district, we recognized that the hard part would be to have to pick. For fairness and consistency, we created a job posting, a formal application to send out to all teachers, and a scoring rubric to use on the submitted applications (see Figure 2). The rubric represented core qualities we believed were critical in a Professional Development (PD) Facilitator. We received almost 100 applications! When the application window closed, we blocked out an afternoon for our team to calibrate our scoring with three applications.

After we were confident we could score with reliability, we scored the remaining applications. All applications were blind scored by two separate coordinators. If the scores varied more than two points, a third coordinator reviewed the application. Scores were tallied and we began assigning the new PD facilitators with their preferred sessions. In all, based on teachers’ requests for sessions, we hired 36 PD facilitators to launch our 2014–2015 #LeaD5 model. The congratulation letters went out along with contracts for those who accepted the position. We then turned our focus on planning for the 3-day PD facilitator training in late July. It was a long couple of summer months as we developed our training, knowing that the facilitators would make or break our plan.

A New Purpose “We listened!” exclaimed Dr. Melton to the audience of 36 newly hired PD facilitators. Coordinators kicked off the training by sharing the history of previous professional development models in our district and the teacher feedback from those models, describing their process for creating a new vision of what was possible for PD, and explaining the new PD model. The district instructional team envisioned a new role for teachers within the district. Teachers would

Figure 2.


become facilitators in order to build capacity within the district and generate professional conversations that sustained teachers all year long. PD facilitators would support a cohort of teachers focused around one topic of interest in connection with one of our five district initiatives. Instead of attending PD sessions in a conference format—sometimes attending four different 90 minute workshops in one day—the new PD model provided teachers opportunities for a multi-year PD focus. Teachers would spend four hours for three days a year across the next three years focused on sustained conversations and choice. The district selected from its own core of 1200+ educators those PD facilitators with demonstrated foundational expertise in communication, content, and leadership characteristics. Using the expertise of teachers that coordinators already believed existed within the district, the new purpose was to create capacity within the ranks for generating professional conversations that would extend beyond the boundaries of the professional development days and create a culture of professional learning across grade levels and schools. Cohorts included a variety of teachers representing a range of grade levels and content areas; therefore, it was crucial that PD facilitators be able to provide space, time, and conditions for teachers to co-construct knowledge across the sessions. This alleviated the need for PD facilitators to be “the expert” and deliver a packaged PD. It was essential that facilitators understand their role in engaging teachers to contribute to the learning within the cohort. We were poised to shift from a transmission model of PD to a more participatory, constructivist model so that teachers’ needs were met on multiple levels.

Professional Reading At the same time the district mined expertise within our own teachers, Dr. Melton advocated for creating a culture of professional reading among teachers. While PD facilitators were positioned to lead cohorts in which they would share knowledge across our local district, we did not want to convey a model of a looking inward at our instructional practices. One coordinator shared, “PD is not something that is done TO you; PD is something in which you participate.” Professional reading provided opportunities to look beyond our school district and consider academic research and writing within our field. We wanted teachers to become active seekers of varied perspectives in educational literature. We believed professional reading could lead to engaging conversations that generated new understandings and knowledge in our cohorts. PD facilitators read professional articles during the initial threeday training and incorporated professional reading in their


agendas throughout the year. To honor time constraints and the range of participants’ experiences and interests, PD facilitators selected relevant and engaging articles.

Community Building Ultimately, the PD facilitator training was developed as a mirror of what their own sessions would look like, feel like, and sound like. These expectations were similar to characteristics of effective classrooms. A shared belief among the instructional team was that community building leads to more effective professional learning. PD facilitators represented teachers from 21 elementary, middle, secondary, and alternative schools. Instructional team members protected time and led engagements to help adults get to know one another and negotiate norms for spending time together in professional learning. The engagements and games were intentionally active and included movement and humor to help PD facilitators get to know people from across the district. Facilitators shrieked with laughter during the “When the Flood Waters Rise” and celebrated each other while learning to “Juggle Scarves.” Throughout the training, PD facilitators completed personality and communication style surveys and reflected on the results with each other in terms of how this information informed and influenced their roles as leaders. Several teachers shared comments like, “I’ve never really thought of myself that way.” Over three days, new relationships, both personal and professional, grew from this time devoted to growing together. PD facilitators developed norms for what they needed in order to do their best work together (see sidebar for a Final Copy of the list of the norms the PD facilitators published). Through several rounds of writing, talking, and revisions, PD facilitators agreed to five norms as the foundation for how they would treat each other and their work together. PD facilitators participated in the ways in which they would then use to build community within their own cohorts.

Attention to Instructional Models (DI, Gradual Release, PLC’s) It was important that our professional development model follow the instructional models we believe to be most effective in PD settings and classrooms. For our teachers, we believe in the research regarding professional learning communities, particularly the definition that it is “a group of people sharing and critically interrogating their practice in an ongoing, reflective, collaborative, inclusive, learningoriented, growth promoting way” (Mitchell & Sackney, 2000; Toole & Louis, 2002). As a district, we encourage teachers to use the instructional models of direct instruction (Adams & Engelmann, 1996; Hattie, 2009) and the gradual release of

Figure 1.

responsibility (Pearson & Gallagher, 1983). As we designed our PD facilitator training, we worked with these models in mind. Our ultimate goal was for PD facilitators to use these models to plan their individual sessions. In order to ensure that they had a thorough understanding of these instructional models, we did two things: We provided explicit instruction on the direct instruction model and we planned all initial training sessions so they included all components of the direct instruction model (see Figure 1). The second day of our training focused on explaining the direct instruction model, as defined by John Hattie (Adams & Engelmann, 1996; Hattie, 2009) We went through the seven steps, providing engagements to help PD facilitators become familiar with each. Within the direct instruction model, we implemented gradual release of responsibility. We began by explaining and modeling the steps of direct instruction, providing time for collaborative work to more fully define the steps, and finally allowing for individual practice. Each day of our training began with communication of clear learning targets such as “I can articulate the purpose of the new PD plan in D5” and “I can apply the Direct Instruction model

to my PD session,” and we used exit slips to provide closure at the end of each session. We further modeled our expected instructional practices by using the data from each day’s exit slips to plan and modify future training sessions.

Accountability/Feedback Since we were implementing an entirely new PD model in our district, it was of the utmost importance that we provide an effective means for teachers to provide feedback that would allow us to plan and change our model to meet the needs of the educators we serve. It also mattered to us that the tool we used to gather feedback was seen as valid and reliable by all facilitators since the data from the feedback would serve as key information to planning future PD sessions. After two days of training, the PD facilitators made a list of the goals of our new model and what they believed to be the most important aspects of sessions. As a group, we decided it was important to know the role of professional literature in sessions, the shifts in teacher thinking, the applicability of the PD to classrooms, and the support needed


for teacher growth. Once we identified these key areas, we collaborated to reach consensus on a feedback survey that included both selected-response and open-ended questions. Because we knew that teacher feedback was highly-valuable, there was time set aside at the end of each PD session during the year for teachers to complete the survey.

Planning The third day of our PD facilitator training was devoted to planning our initial August professional development sessions. To ensure consistency across sessions, we set up the following non-negotiables: all cohorts would create norms; all PD facilitators would use the our electronic attendance system; and, all cohorts would include in the session the purpose and focus for the day, closure, a professional article and an exit learning survey. PD facilitators were then given the freedom to design the rest of their session within the framework of direct instruction. Providing time to plan during the final day of the training was especially successful because it allowed for planning with other PD facilitators in the same focus area and it provided time to plan with coordinators. Providing facilitators time to plan together allowed them to share ideas and resources, particularly professional literature. It was also helpful because as facilitators came up with questions or identified resources they would need, the member of the district instructional staff assigned to their session was available to them instantly. There was no need to e-mail/call or try and set up an appointment. It allowed facilitators to leave the training feeling prepared and confident for their first sessions in August.

'HEULHÀQJDQG&HOHEUDWLQJ7RJHWKHU An essential component of the facilitator experience was to celebrate the successes of the professional development days as well as reflect on the feedback collected after each day. Three debriefing/training meetings were held after school in October, January, and March. Our agenda for the meetings was simple: We would share our appreciation with the PD facilitators, analyze the feedback data, and intentionally plan the next professional development day. Prior to each debriefing/training meeting, a professional article and a spreadsheet of all of the responses to the exit learning survey was shared with the PD facilitators, who were asked to review the responses and post positive reflections and suggestions for improvement on our Google Site. To create a celebratory mood and make each meeting unique, we planned themed agendas; one meeting revolved around football lingo and another was Hollywood style and


PD facilitators walked in on a red carpet, complete with flashing cameras, oversized sunglasses, and applause (there’s an APP for that!). The instructional staff showed their appreciation for PD facilitators by handing out gift bags with lanyards, note pads, and pins—all branded with the #LeaD5 logo. And, of course, there was food. After a celebration and icebreaker activity, we reviewed the norms our group had established and then discussed the professional reading— modeling and reinforcing the value and importance of this practice. For each debrief/training meeting, we scaffolded strategies to review the collected data. We started each discussion in small groups so that everyone had a chance for input and we then moved to sharing our thoughts with the group as a whole, each time we changed the way we reflected on the data after analyzing it. In October, we focused on data and then participated in goal setting for the next professional development day based on participants’ responses. In January, we discussed the role we play as PD facilitators and how that affects participants. We reviewed the data as the teachers in our district review data for the data team process, again, reinforcing that what the district asks teachers to do, everyone does and that all of the district’s separate initiatives converge. While we looked at the data, just as we do when we analyze data about our students, we thought about the participants’ needs. We wanted to ensure that all concerns and needs were met or addressed. And, most importantly, we wanted to go to the next PD session and validate participants’ reflections by showing we reviewed the comments and made changes based on expressed needs so that educators would be productive and successful during their professional development sessions. This honest response to the data built trust and respect amongst the PD facilitators and participants and helped foster the sense of community we worked to establish and maintain.

Looking Back, Looking Ahead As we reviewed our first year and planned this article, we realized that we were not able to provide all of the details of our PD model. We chose to focus on PD facilitators because, of all the decisions we made, we felt the PD facilitators were the essential piece to the phenomenal success we experienced. Our trained PD facilitators led, problem-solved, engaged, communicated, and responded to teachers’ needs and interests. When we asked them what made this possible, their response was quite simply that there was a shared vision for the model, they had training that demonstrated the model, and they were consistently supported along the way.

As we look forward, we uncovered happy problems which lead to new questions. We did not anticipate teachers wanting more time for professional conversations with colleagues within their cohort. Given our current approved calendar and juggling all of the school and district needs, how do we revise our calendar to devote more time to this PD model? We also did not anticipate that the conversations would be so fulfilling that some teachers felt their needs were met in Year One and now these teachers are asking to join other conversations in progress. How do we successfully integrate new participants into an on-going conversation? We also thought some facilitators would choose not to serve again. But, 98% of PD facilitators want to return. We estimate that we only need about 6 additional PD facilitators for the new school year. How do we continue to build capacity within our district while growing our model in such tiny increments? New questions will continue to emerge, as would be expected in a responsive PD model. The questions are embraced, because we’ve seen the power of a spark. We will tweak the mousetrap so that our middle school teacher continues to mark his calendar with enthusiasm—no longer enduring PD; rather, excitedly anticipating the learning possibilities and opportunities.

References Adams, G.L., & Engelmann, S. (1996). Research on direct instruction: 20 years beyond DISTAR. Seattle, WA: Educational Achievement Systems. Hattie, J.A. (2009). Visible learning: A synthesis of over 800 meta-analyses relating to achievement. New York, NY: Routledge. Mitchell, C. & Sackney, L. (2000). Profound improvement: Building capacity for a learning community. Lisse, The Netherlands: Swets & Zeitlinger. Pearson, P.D. & Gallagher, M.C. (1983). The instruction of reading comprehension. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 8(3), 317–344. Teachingtips/directinstruction.html (n.d.) Retrieved June 4, 2015 from Toole, J.C. & Louis, K.S. (2002). The role of professional learning communities in international education. In K. Leithwood & P. Hallinger (eds), Second international handbook of educational leadership and administration. Dordrecht: Kluwer.

About the Authors 11661 Broad River Road Chapin, SC 29063 (803) 476-8000 Jessica teaches 7th grade English Language Arts and also serves as co-department chair. She has seven years in the classroom and is currently pursuing her Masters in Language and Literacy. Jessica C. Bower

1020 Dutch Fork Road Irmo, SC 29063 (803) 476-8170 Robin is the Coordinator for English Language Arts, PK -12. She works with teachers and administrators to understand best practices in literacy and professional development. Robin W. Cox, Ph.D.

1400 Old Tamah Road Irmo, SC 29063 (803) 476-3300 Deborah has taught middle and high school English for 19 years. She currently teaches AP Literature and English 2 in the STEM program. She is a master teacher in the Folger Shakespeare Library’s National Teachers Corps. Deborah Gascon

1020 Dutch Fork Road Irmo, SC 29063 (803) 476-8177 An educator for 35 years, Sara is Coordinator of Academic Assistance and Professional Development. She works with teachers and administrators to create change through professional growth and development. Sara R. Kearns, M.Ed.

6051 Wescott Road Columbia SC 29212 (803) 476-3600 Caitlin served as Lead Teacher at Irmo Middle School and is now a Professional Development Specialist with Expeditionary Learning. She is pursuing her Doctorate of Education from the University of South Carolina. Caitlin McKenzie

7900 Broad River Road Irmo, SC 29063 (803) 476-3900 Sally served as a literacy coach for 11 years and currently coaches at Dutch Fork Elementary School. She also teaches graduate courses for the University of South Carolina. Sally Somerall, Ph.D.


Celebrating: The “Why Not” Attitude Dr. Andrew B. Hooker based instruction, etc. My principal was speaking the right language, but the implementation was left to the teacher. I was a first year teacher that was in survival mode, trying to get through induction, coaching two sports, and working a second job to make ends meet while my wife completed college. I honestly could not see the connection, and really didn’t have time to research it on my own. In my thirteenth year of education, Caeden helped me make that connection, along with a number of others in my school. Caeden, his parents, and his big sister live in Buffalo, New York. Caeden was born missing his left hand and forearm due to a birth defect known as Amniotic Band Syndrome. Because of his needs, Caeden helped us connect math, science, the arts, pre-engineering, and technology. He led us to a new way of thinking.

Dr. Hooker tells Caeden’s story.


aeden is two years old. He is a child with a great personality and a big smile. Caeden changed our lives at Hughes Academy of Science and Technology. Hughes Academy of Science and Technology is a STEAM middle school in the School District of Greenville County. Science, technology, engineering, arts, and math are integrated in a PBL (Project-based learning) experience at Hughes Academy. In order to fully implement a STEAM curriculum, we have partnered with major companies including Michelin, General Electric, Greenville Health System, BMW, and many more. Our goal is to connect our curriculum to their real-world experiences. Our leadership team employs a “Why not” attitude in order to be effective with our students. We choose to run full speed ahead when opportunities arise. Nothing we do is earth shattering. I will give you no new information here. I will remind you of what you already know should be done and inspire you to go do it – either again, or for the first time! When I entered my first classroom thirteen years ago as a seventh grade science teacher, my principal told me two things. First he said, “I expect students to be working together on hands-on-projects, including lab based instruction.” “Also,” he said, “I expect you to partner with the math teacher across the hall and do some stuff together.” My response was, “Yes sir.” That was the depth of my training in PBL, cross-curricular instruction, unit-


Caeden plays with toys while waiting for his surprise.

Hughes Academy of Science and Technology is known for its focus on technology programs. Our students write code creating their own video games through Video Game Programing, build mobile applications through our Mobile Applications class, and have opportunities to enroll in many other courses including digital design, electronic and digital music, Adobe Suite, web design, and Gateway to Technology courses. Our students also produce and manage 100% of our website and all social media tools.

It all sounds amazing, and we were providing incredible opportunities for our students to learn. Yet, the students were still unable to make real world connections. Yes, we were showing them what they could do in the future on a prototype scale, but we needed a deeper connection that students would own. Over the last two years our students and teachers have been working with General Electric. Hughes Academy students are the only student group allowed in the facility. It has been an incredible experience for our students and teachers to see just how our curriculum and experiences in the classroom can align with projects that the engineers at GE need to complete. Through our partnership, GE donated two 3D printers to our school. Our teachers and students have learned to use these 3D printers to make prototypes and have competitions on design. During the last year, Furman University’s Olli group contacted us to see if we were interested in using our 3D printer to build a prosthetic limb. As I mentioned earlier, our leadership team at Hughes approaches education with a “Why not” mentality, so we jumped right in. We met with our awesome teachers and asked them to look into this for the following school year. This meeting was on a Friday. On Monday, our teachers came back to the leadership team and proposed that we immediately partner with the group and start now! So we did. Why not?! In less than two months, our students and teachers created a standards-based STEAM unit that would not only engage students, but would change a life in the process. We saw several things happening as the unit played out. Our top students went to work as they always do. Their focus was incredible, and we expected it to be. The amazing thing was the engagement of our at-risk population. Students were sneaking down to the lab before school and staying after school to work on this project. They would finish work in other classes early just to get a chance to go to the lab. Any discipline issues the teacher may have had disappeared and we began to see education the way it should be. Students were working together in teams to solve a problem. Did they have rubrics? Yes. Did they have protocols and procedures? Yes. But it was so much more! The students initially had no idea that they were working on something that someone could immediately use. They thought they were working on a prototype. Then we found Caeden, an actual child who needed our students! What we didn’t realize was how much our students needed him. We showed the students the picture of Caeden and explained that the family was flying down around spring break. We explained to them that it was imperative that we complete this project before they came. We saw a drive in

some of our students that we haven’t been able to tap into since they came to us in middle school. Through this process, our students used the 3D printers to build a prosthetic limb out of plastic, with full moving parts, including a moveable joint and fully functioning fingers for less than $50. Yes, less than $50! The prosthesis was completed just in time for the family to fly down for spring break. They invited family, and we invited our students, teachers, and leadership team. The excitement was immeasurable. Students wrote mini speeches that they wanted to share with the family, and we prepared to experience something new and exciting that we hadn’t seen before.

Jasmin shares the impact that this project had on her.

When the day came to meet, Cadean stood on the table in our media center while his father and our teacher helped him put on the arm. Our students watched in awe as they saw a school project being placed on a child’s arm for actual use. Caeden looked down at his new hand, looked at the forty plus people in the room, including media, cameras, and his parents, and he grinned from ear to ear. After a couple of seconds, he lifted up his new hand and waved to the room. That day Caeden waved for the first time, he threw a ball for the first time, and he clapped for the first time. He is forever changed. And so are we.


Caeden waves for the first time.

Needless to say there wasn’t a dry eye in the room. Caeden’s mom and dad both tried to speak and they couldn’t due to the emotion of the moment. The teacher fought emotion and spoke about how this opportunity changed his educational philosophy. Students read their prepared speeches explaining what that moment meant to them. They spoke about how they had been able to see for the first time how what they did in a classroom really related to people outside of the school building. As I stated earlier, I didn’t tell you anything you didn’t already know, but I hope you are inspired to do what you know needs to be done. As leaders we must work hard to engage students in meaningful instruction. We must also

teach them to work together to solve problems. Lastly and most importantly, we must create situations for them to plan, develop, and create. I have also learned that if you can tie the learning to emotion and ownership it will have a greater impact. What’s next for Hughes Academy of Science and Technology? We are currently working on fourteen different projects, from creating a mobile app so that doctors and patients can better communicate for the Greenville Health System to working with Renewable Water Resource to develop a way to clean water more efficiently. Teachers are contacting businesses to see how their curriculum can be partnered with business needs to create other projects. Our focus is curing the culture of one size fits all system. The “Why not” mentality works for us and I encourage you to take on that attitude for your district, your school, your community, and most importantly for your students. Principal at Hughes Academy of Science and Technology 255 Alex Drive Easley, SC 29640 864-304-8279 Dr. Andrew B. Hooker

Dr. Andrew B. Hooker is an innovative, energetic and passionate leader. He has completed his thirteenth year in education, four as a classroom science teacher, three as an assistant principal, and six as a school principal. Dr. Hooker has served five middle schools in three South Carolina school districts. He has won multiple awards including Golden Apple and Foothills SCIRA Administrator of the Year and has been nominated as an ASCD young leader. Dr. Hooker is also the President and CEO of focused on training servant leaders. His book Curing the Culture of our Schools will be available later this year.

Group Photo


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A Whole Lot of “Tinkering” Going On! Batesburg-Leesville Elementary Students Experience Engineering Adventures through a Maker Faire Event Angie Rye, Cherlyn Anderson, and Samantha Trotter


t began with a simple question: “What can we do rather than a traditional science fair?” Students, teachers, and parents had long become “bored” with the traditional fifth grade science fair project and the level of student learning from this long standing tradition was up for debate. With the yearlong work to align science units school wide to the newly adopted 2014 South Carolina Standards and Performance Indicators for Science, with the focus on Science and Engineering Practices, ideas to embed those new practices, as well as, the Engineering Design Process throughout the year began to take form. After BatesburgLeesville Elementary School, in Lexington District Three, fifth grade science teachers Myra Davenport, Gail Lorick, Mary Clare Price, Heidi Woolbright and Literacy Coach Samantha Trotter began researching alternatives for traditional science fairs, the idea to build upon the exciting emerging national trend of Maker Faire events quickly began to take shape.

Maker Faire Welcome Sign (K. Wheeler, 2015)

The idea behind a Maker Faire, which became popular in 2006 in the Bay Area of California, is to allow “makers” to come together to show what they have made and explain what they learned in the process. A Maker Faire event would allow students to apply the engineering design process to “tinker” while also aligning with the science standards and the science and engineering practices. The Maker Faire would also allow student choice as students would select several challenges that they found interesting to attend on the day of the Maker Faire.


That collaborative seed idea from the BLES fifth grade science teachers sprouted, and quickly bloomed into a reality when the school received a Verizon Foundation Innovate Award which provided funding to explore and plan ideas for incorporating the Engineering Design Process into science classes and hosting the BLES Maker Faire. Through grant funding, the fifth grade science teachers had the opportunity to begin planning for the end of year unit and event in January with Lexington Three’s Chief Academic Officer, Angie Rye, Literacy Coach, Samantha Trotter, and S2TEM Centers SC Education Specialist, Cherlyn Anderson. An Engineering is Elementary (EiE) kit, Go Green: Engineering Recycled Racers, was chosen to introduce the Engineering Design Process to fifth grade students as it built upon prior learning from their previous Force and Motion Unit. Engineering is Elementary is a National Science Foundation funded research based curricula developed by the Museum of Science in Boston to promote engineering literacy. The curriculum was selected because of the strong connection to the 2014 SC Academic Standards and Performance Indicators for Science. Teachers participated in three planning days where they defined how they wanted the Maker Faire experience to feel, look, and sound. Teachers created a unit plan that included a layout of the EiE unit, researched possible design challenges for the Maker Faire event through PBS Design Squad and Teach Engineering; working to include a variety of challenges for students to choose from in addition to encouraging members of the faculty, such as the art teacher, to get involved. Teachers also wrote letters to increase parent involvement and parents and community members donated both new and recycled items to be used on the day of the Faire. To further extend the students’ learning, teachers invited the fifth grade students to build recycled racers of their own to race on the final day of the three week long unit. The high school students helped by constructing a racing track and by presiding over the final race. An integral piece of the grant included a partnership between BLES and students from the Batesburg-Leesville High School Mechatronics classes. As part of the recycled racers unit, the Mechatronics students served as engineering consultants to each fifth grade class. The Mechatronics students worked with fifth grade students through the

Engineering Design Process as they designed, built, tested and improved the recycled racers. The Mechatronics students also served as consultants during the Maker Faire providing assistance to students as they worked in thirteen maker and engineering design challenge stations during the Maker Faire event.

Students were engaged in creative and innovative thinking, collaboration, problem-solving, communication, and reflection on their learning. One of the greatest celebrations occurred late in May when State Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman visited BLES and engaged in discussions with students as they tested designs of their recycled racers.

Mechatronics students working in classrooms

Throughout the planning for the recycled racer unit and the Maker Faire, teachers remained focused on providing students with opportunities to learn the Science and Engineering Practices within the content, not as skills in isolation. Students explored using engineering to solve problems. They also worked and thought, like engineers, to design and improve technology. Students used recycled materials to design racers and created their own track for testing the racer. This process not only required students to work within the Science and Engineering Practices, but it also promoted the World Class Skills of the Profile of the SC Graduate.

Profile of the South Carolina Graduate

Molly Spearman with students

Without a doubt, the Maker Faire event was the piece de resistance for the students and teachers. On May 28th, the fifth grade hall was transformed into a tinkering lab that allowed students to engage in self-directed design challenges that incorporated art, science, math, technology, and engineering. Students were able to choose three challenges from the thirteen available that were of greatest interest. Parent volunteers provided assistance in addition to the Mechatronics students from BLHS. Students, teachers, and parents all provided positive feedback on the experience. Student survey results indicated that 91% of the fifth graders are interested in participating in events like this again in the future. Students also expressed that the best part of the event was working with the students from the high school and getting to create new things in a group. The teachers also expressed growth in content knowledge and confidence in implementing STEM experiences for students. One teacher stated, “We were able to think outside of the box, make mistakes, fix them, and try again.” Celebration can be a difficult thing in schools. Teachers and administrators can be so engrossed in daily challenges


and planning that they forget to pause for reflection and celebration. In the end, we would like to think that we used the engineering design process as the model for our own planning. We started with a problem on how to engage students beyond the traditional science fair project. Along the way, teachers imagined, planned, created, and improved a seed idea that is destined to become a way of thinking for our teachers as they plan for future STEM experiences for students in our district. Now that we have stopped to celebrate and reflect, we’re ready for the next challenge! The Verizon Innovate Learning Grant recognizes and supports promising initiatives to increase STEM learning and interest in K-12 schools. Each year, the Verizon Foundation will provide $20,000 grants to as many as 50 U.S. schools to support these initiatives. Additional information about the grant can be found at innovateaward/ EdVenture Children’s Museum in Columbia, has been the location of a Mini Maker Faire since 2013 and now has a “Maker Space” exhibit.

References: Design Squad Nation PBS KIDS GO! (2015). http:// Engineering: Emphasizing the "E" in STEM Education. (2013, June 23). resources/engineering-emphasizing-“e”-stem-education Engineering is Elementary. (n.d.). Martinez, S., & Stager, G. (2013). Invent to learn: Making, tinkering, and engineering in the classroom. Torrance, Calif.: Constructing Modern Knowledge Press. Profile of the South Carolina Graduate. (2015) ProfileoftheSouthCarolinaGraduate15.pdf Teach Engineering-Curriculum for K-12 Teachers (n.d.). Welcome to Maker Faire. (n.d.).

About the Authors Chief Academic Officer Lexington School District Three 338 West Columbia Avenue Batesburg, SC 29006 803-532-1778 Angie Rye is Chief Academic Officer in Lexington School District Three. Prior to that, she was a middle school principal for thirteen years.

Angie Rye

Education Specialist S2TEM Centers SC Midlands Regional Center 1041 George Rogers Blvd., Columbia, SC 29201 803-917-7062

Cherlyn Anderson

Cherlyn Anderson has taught middle level science and ELA. She has won numerous awards including the Milken National Educator and an Albert Einstein Fellowship.

Reading Coach Batesburg-Leesville Elementary School 403 S. Lee St. Leesville, SC 29070 803-532-1155

Samantha Trotter Tinker Tech – A techno garage-like setting for tinkerers who like to work with circuits, batteries, soldering, switches, pieces, and parts to create their own gizmos, gadgets, and thingamajigs. Courtesy of Columbia Mini Maker Fair.


A former fifth grade teacher, Samantha is currently the Reading Coach at BatesburgLeesville Elementary School. She has Master’s Degrees in Language and Literacy and Education Administration.

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Beyond the 401(K) Industry Trends in Long-Term Care Impacting Your Retirement Celebration Tommy Suggs


hat comes to mind when we consider preparing for retirement? Savings tools for sound financial planning through 401K, 403B, annuity and state retirement programs dominate the conversation and for good reason. However, take a moment to consider how you want to spend those savings when the time for celebration comes. Chances are your retirement dreams do not include allocating your hard-earned savings on long-term care expenses that could average over $70,000 per year (after tax). As with most things in life, the best celebrations come with hard work and discipline. By taking this same approach to your long-term care decisions as part of your retirement strategy, your time and money can be spent how you have always dreamed your retirement to be. That being said, before you rush to purchase a LongTerm Care (LTC) product, let's review the current industry trends and options.

Why Long-Term Care Insurance? Long-Term Care is not a far-removed concept in today’s world. If one American turns sixty years old every seven seconds, with medical technology and life expectancy statistics, it is a fair assumption that our parents are turning


80 at the same time we approach retirement. Seventy percent of people turning age 65 will need some type of Long-Term Care in their lifetime, with an average length of caregiving at 4.6 years. Now consider the following annual cost averages and the impact these costs could have on your retirement plans: Home Health Aid Adult Day Care Assisted Living Facility Nursing Home

$20/hour $69/day $3,600/month $200/day

$40,000/year $18,000/year $43,200/year $73,000/year

These are staggering numbers that are impacting the majority of Americans. Long-Term Care insurance is a tool available to you to alleviate these financial burdens.

Why Do People Avoid LTC Insurance? Needless to say, retirement conjures up dreams of relaxation, freedom and fun — for all of us. No one wants to talk about the downside of growing older. Long-Term Care Insurance is about preparing for the challenging scenarios that life hands our way, so the hard times can have as small an impact as possible on the good times!

Recent Trends Impacting the LTC Industry The Long-Term Care Insurance Industry is facing several challenges. As the original, “traditional” LongTerm Care products rolled out, generous underwriting and policy benefits combined with low interest rates and higher than expected claims created the need for companies to look for more feasible options. The result of this combination has been a contraction of over an estimated one-hundred companies offering the traditional Long-Term Care policies– to approximately twelve companies today. Other concerns with Long-Term Care Policies resulting in annual sales declining since 2002 have included insurance denials to one in five applicants, strict underwriting, higher prices and even premium increases on existing policies. Finally, the insurance industry and financial rating agency, AM BEST, in now more closely reviewing those companies offering traditional LTC policies and, if necessary, requiring they maintain more risk-based capital.

Long Term Care for 2015 and Beyond In a Wall Street Journal article titled “Why People Often Don’t Buy Long-Term Care Insurance” (June 2015), researchers concluded there are four main hurdles to LongTerm Care Insurance: #1: COST Traditional Long-Term Care Insurance is an expense that can be quite high. Underwriting requirements have become very strict and premiums continue to increase. #2: GOVERNMENT ASSISTANCE Research shows that most Americans incorrectly assume they will automatically qualify for government support and assistance when the need for LTC arises. This is simply not the case for many in need of care. #3: CONFUSION Long-Term Care Insurance options are varied and complicated. It is a daunting task to tackle an issue of great importance without all the information clear and easy to apply to our day-to-day lives. #4: LTC AS AN INVESTMENT TOOL Many Americans consider Long-Term Care Insurance as an investment tool, rather than a planning solution for health-care needs during retirement. If you evaluated LTC Insurance as an investment it would appear to be a poor investment if the benefits were never needed or used. What this approach discounts is the consideration of how catastrophic losses can devastate a retirement plan without a policy in place, proactively.

With the challenges facing the original LTC products, combined with the increased need for insurance in America’s aging population, the Long-Term Care Industry today essentially represents four possible solutions to the very real need for Long-Term Care Insurance: 1. Self-Insure Projected Healthcare Costs 2. Reverse Mortgage 3. Annuities 4. A Hybrid Life Insurance / Long-Term Care Rider Combination Before we review the hybrid option, let’s consider another situation that may have a detrimental effect on your retirement — death occurring without sufficient life insurance. It is important to keep in mind that employer provided age-banded life insurance premiums may significantly increase in cost as you age. With over fifty percent of people surveyed saying they need more life insurance, the sooner you can address the life insurance issue for your loved ones, the smarter the financial decision. The answer may be new products such as the industryleading Long-Term Care insurance policies that avoid the pitfalls of the previously offered products by combining Long-Term Care insurance with a Life Insurance policy. This hybrid type policy is very popular across the industry and has seen a significant increase in sales due to several factors: • Not a “use it or lose it” benefit like the traditional LTC products • Affordable stable premiums


• Uses life insurance as a pathway to LTC • Guaranteed Issue options may be available — no underwriting questions

this type of policy grow significantly over the years. As you can see, these trends are alive and well in our state employee pools:

• Internal Revenue Code change in 2009 stating that the distributions of LTC policy would not be taxed

• Long-Term Care Insurance is the number one selling policy in all districts

• Monthly benefits based on a percentage of the life insurance policy amount

• Offered in 100% of the districts we serve • Average issue age: 40 Years Old • Average claimant age: 52 Years Old • State of SC no longer offering LTC policy as of June 2013 (Due to the issues outlined in this article)

The Celebration Ahead… If the best celebrations in life come with hard work and discipline, hopefully these LongTerm Care issues, trends and possible solutions will help you to find the right balance in your retirement planning strategy for the road ahead. Choosing the right solutions today will make your retirement celebrations all the sweeter!

References In addition to the obvious benefits of these hybrid type policies, some of the more advanced policies offer several, customizable options to best suit your needs and phase of life including: • Restoration of the full death benefit if LTC benefit used

The Wall Street Journal, “Why People Often Do Not Buy Long-Term Care Insurance,” June 15, 2015. AGIS Network Long Term Care Plan Proposal, 2015., “Who Needs Long Term Care?,” 2014. NAIC Senior Issues Task Force, 2012. LIMRA, “2013 Facts About Insurance,” 2013.

About the Author

• Extension of the amount of time LTC can be used

President and CEO of KeenanSuggs Insurance

• Ability to automatically increase policy amounts without more underwriting

PO Box 8087 Columbia, South Carolina 29202-8087 803-799-5533

LTC and You — South Carolina School District Employees All of these industry trends would mean very little without first-hand experience to the impact of Long-Term Care Insurance. As a provider of the hybrid type policy to over thirty school districts in South Carolina for over fourteen years, our firm has seen the popularity and need for


Tommy Suggs

Founded in 1949, KeenanSuggs provides insurance, employee benefits and risk management solutions for individuals and businesses throughout the Southeast. The firm is one of the largest, fully integrated independent firms in the Southeast. For more information about KeenanSuggs Insurance products and Services, please visit or 803799-5533.

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Celebrating our STEM Journey 5HÁHFWLRQVRID&RQWLQXRXV,PSURYHPHQW3URFHVV Jeannie Pressley, Trevor Ivey, Jenaii Edwards, Stephanie Barrineau, Cherlyn Anderson, and Lori Smith


lbert Einstein once said, “We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.” With the complex demands placed upon us in this everchanging world, this sage advice from Einstein is something that we in public education have seemed to forget. While reform initiatives have been a constant, the overarching goal has been to improve the trajectory of student outcomes; preparing students to become productive citizens. More recently, the national public education narrative has sought to improve our academic reputation on the global stage through the implementation of many initiatives driven by STEM (science, technology engineering, and math) as a vehicle for improving student outcomes. A team of dedicated and forward thinking educators are transforming education in Sumter, South Carolina. Educators at Alice Drive Middle (ADM), a choice school in Sumter School District (SSD) are making STEM learning a reality for all of its students in order to give them the competitive edge in the local, national, and global workforce. ADM began the process of becoming a STEM school in 2012 through a partnership with South Carolina’s Coalition for Mathematics and Science and S2TEM Centers SC. Throughout the three year partnership, a focused plan for transforming Alice Drive Middle into a STEM school was developed and implemented. With the assistance of a S2TEM Centers SC Education Specialist, the school created a vision, developed short and long term goals, took actions to implement strategies, while documenting their progress along the way. S2TEM Centers SC Specialist, Cherlyn Anderson credits the focus of the STEM Leadership Team and the collaborative and innovative culture of the faculty and staff at ADM for the rapid progress of the school towards its goal. “The leadership and faculty have been a phenomenal group to work with. They have been dedicated to infusing quality STEM opportunities for all students into their curriculum.” Through a transdisciplinary focus, the STEM program impacts all four core subjects (math, science, language arts, and history) as well as the related arts areas (art, band, strings, music/chorus, gym, and technology education). A unique characteristic of ADM’s STEM focus is that the STEM program is all-inclusive, serving all 850 students in grades 6-8.


Implementing a STEM Focus The belief at ADM is that it is vital to prepare students for an increasingly global economy. We acknowledge that science and engineering jobs are growing at a rate exceeding any other occupation. A recent McKinsey Report states that, “By 2018, 1 in 20 global jobs will be STEM related— an estimated 2.8 million jobs in total with over 90% of these opportunities requiring secondary degrees and twothirds requiring a bachelor’s degree.” Due to technological advances, Americans will compete with others from all over the world for the high-tech, high-wage jobs of the 21st century. We expect our students to approach the world’s problems and acquire the necessary tool kit to solve these problems. This expectation is meaningful for everyone involved: students, families, public and private institutions of higher education, and the businesses and industries our students could potentially work for and develop. Having a program intentionally designed to ensure college and career readiness will positively impact our students. As STEM education research continues nationwide (NAP 2012) many agree to the importance of a focus on innovation through science, technology, engineering, and math now. But many ask, how do you build a STEM school? What does it look like?

Our Philosophy of Successful STEM Learning Experiences in Action Strategic Planning: As school leaders, it has been an overarching goal to strengthen the overall cohesiveness of our STEM program through a collaborative focus on strategic planning. Our school renewal plan is reviewed each year by a variety of stakeholder groups and is referred to when making programmatic decisions on activities, field studies, and projects both in and out of the classroom. Revisions to our school renewal plan over the past few years have helped to recognize the interdependence of various aspects of the school as outlined in the Harvard developed PELP Coherence Framework—culture, systems and structures, resources, stakeholder relationships, and environment—and its collective impact on student achievement (2003). With the following theory of action governing our school renewal plan, the work of strategic planning has become more easily navigated with greater buy-in among all stakeholder groups: If we fully coordinate

and align our school’s policies, practices and partners to increase student interest, participation and achievement in STEM, expand student access to effective instruction, reduce our gap in STEM access and build community awareness and support for STEM, then we will increase the quality of STEM talent development for our community, state, and nation. Our plan is unique in that it contains a vision and mission statement, a supporting philosophy, and clearly defined STEM core competencies and school-wide goals.

needs of students. Students also take physical education and health for one semester. The flexible schedule has allowed students to see the interconnectedness of all areas of study as they relate to an essential question. In some classes where teachers have fully embraced problem-based learning, students are creating projects that have ties to the community, which helps to solidify the importance of STEM as a powerful educational experience. Problem-Based Learning as the Vehicle for STEM Learning: Based on self-assessments conducted by administrators, faculty, and stakeholders utilizing the S2TEM Centers SC Innovation Configuration Maps (Total Instructional Focus), the South Carolina STEM Continuum, and Indicator 6.2 of the AdvancED STEM rubric, ADM is in the emerging/practicing stage of implementing problembased learning across the building. Through the school renewal planning process, and supporting professional development, the faculty and staff have agreed to the following norms in a STEM-based classroom: • The project or problem is central rather than peripheral to the curriculum. • The project or problem is broken down into measurable pieces. • The project or problem has real-world relevant connections. • The project or problem could conclude with a product or a performance. • Digital technologies support and enhance student learning. • World-class skills are integral (Profile of the South Carolina Graduate). • Instructional strategies are varied and support multiple learning styles. • Projects involve ongoing and multiple types of assessments.

ADMS strategic planning poster

Curriculum: The STEM curriculum is delivered to students through the form of an alternate A/B type of flexible scheduling. Students are scheduled to have eight classes, taking four classes each day, with each class lasting 90 minutes in length. Students take the core courses of history, science, language arts, and math for the entire year, in which the student coursework is focused on STEM. Yet, students also have the opportunity to take STEM-based electives throughout their three years at ADM, including art, digital literacy, band, strings, foreign language, enrichment, and/or remediation classes to meet the individual learning

Core Tenets of an Effective STEM Curriculum: Faculty and staff have agreed that students should master certain core competencies to truly become college and career ready: 1. Critical Thinking and Problem Solving 2. Communication 3. Collaboration and Teamwork 4. Information Literacy 5. Appreciation for Diversity 6. Learning to Learn (Metacognition)


Sustaining Actions/Goals: In implementing the core tenets of an effective and age-appropriate STEM curriculum, the following actions augment our program’s coherence: 1. Increasing student interest, participation, and achievement in STEM. We coordinate, implement, and scale up innovative, rigorous, and inspiring STEM experiences from a variety of challenging curricula (including Project Lead the WayGateway) with the greatest promise of piquing student interest, securing student participation, and boosting student achievement in STEM. During the course of our students’ three years at ADM, all students, including those typically underrepresented in STEM careers, have the opportunity to participate in STEM classes. Currently, specific STEM-based instruction is delivered through STEM electives such as CSIForensics, LEGO Robotics & Engineering, STEM Go-Green, Google CS First, STEM Aeronautics and the integration of problem-based units within core content classrooms. Our school day is extended through the use of afterschool STEM activities (available three days a week), impacting approximately 50 students per quarter. In addition, school-wide activities are regularly planned to include all students during the school day such as our recent problem-based “STEM Boot Camp” that every staff member helped to execute. As part of the camp, all students at each grade level solved an engaging problem and were exposed to opportunities emphasizing STEM as highly relevant to their lives. Such school-wide activities assisted in developing a common STEM language. 2. Expanding student access to effective student instruction. Our STEM program aligns with the newly adopted South Carolina Academic Standards and Performance Indicators for Science, the newly adopted South Carolina College and Career Readiness Standards for ELA and Mathematics, and the Profile of the South Carolina Graduate, which all collectively emphasize science and engineering practices, inquiry, as well as reading and writing comprehension and skills through engagement with content. In each of our STEM classes, students are provided multiple opportunities to learn skills through tiered activities. Students are assessed not only on their technical skills, but also the 21st century “world class” skills as outlined in the Profile of the South Carolina Graduate (2015). In addition to statewide summative assessments (ACT Aspire and SC Palmetto


Assessment of State Standards), formative assessments via CASE Assessment TE21, as well as conferences, portfolios, rubrics, checklists, interactive notebooks, self & peer reflection are used to provide regular feedback to students. ADM utilizes the structure of a Building Data Team that organizes and prepares data in a user-friendly format so that the faculty can dedicate meeting times to analysis and discussion.

South Carolina profile of the graduate

Our administration recognizes that teachers have the greatest impact on student achievement and understand the need for focused and personalized professional development, based on the data driven needs and collaborative school STEM Goals, and such experiences are regularly made available to all teachers through the use of an on-site curriculum coach (Stephanie Barrineau), Clemson 4H, Patriot Grant Advisor, and a S2TEM Centers SC Education Specialist. The development of professional learning communities and the use of backward design planning in strengthening curriculum has resulted in an expansion of student access to effective STEM instruction and has led to a more rigorous curriculum and higher student performance with respectable growth in all areas. Built into the Edivate PD360, the use of the ELEOT classroom observation instrument has provided teachers with instantaneous and personalized additional assistance and feedback. In addition to school and district based STEM professional development, several of our STEM teachers have successfully sought out additional STEM-related

learning activities. Some activities include conducting peer observations at other high-achieving STEM/STEAM school across the state, the afterschool robotics coach presenting at the national conference for middle school math teachers, and both the Math Counts advisor and STEM Learning Coach being accepted for STEM training at the United States Naval Academy. Other teachers have attended and participated in TEACHFIT, summer professional development activities that teach cross-disciplinary teams of middle school teachers how to get their students excited about STEM through innovative technology-based fitness games. Once trained, it is a norm for participating teachers to share with the rest of the faculty through professional learning community meetings by department/team. 3. Building Community Awareness and Partnership Support for STEM We acknowledge the imminent STEM talent and skills gap that the state of South Carolina and our country is facing in the years ahead. In Year Two, a STEM Advisory Board was established, comprised of department heads, a military liaison from Shaw Air Force Base, industry representatives, local college and university professors, and district office representatives. Through the efforts of the onsite Career Specialist, STEM students have been afforded regular opportunities to participate in a variety of field studies and experiences with partners to include visiting local manufacturers, businesses, and colleges/universities, such as the University of South Carolina Sumter, Central Carolina Technical College, Boeing, Caterpillar, Continental Tire, and Becton Dickinson. Outreach activities targeting younger students in our feeder elementary schools are used to increase STEM awareness. Events such as a STEM Parent Night, field research with the University of South Carolina Sumter, and school board presentations are a few examples of how we are continuing to build community awareness and partnership support. As a result of a Department of Defense Patriot Grant and a Clemson 4H Grant, additional partnerships have been established with Boeing, Honda, Caterpillar, Santee Lynches, University Stemmie the robot of South Carolina Sumter, Central Technical College, Shaw Air Force Base, and various community agencies within our county municipality to

include the local police department and forensics lab. We are building a base of diverse partners and supporters to communicate the rising importance of STEM education in workforce development and job creation in our community and stage, beginning at the grassroots level.

1DWLRQDO67(0&HUWLÀFDWLRQ3URFHVV In the spring of 2015, ADM continued the learning process by applying for AdvancED STEM Certification. The STEM certification process is similar to the AdvancED External review process, yet Students with rocket different in launchers activity that the STEM certification process primarily focuses on the school or program’s STEM education model. The STEM Certification Reviewers used the AdvancED STEM Standard 6 and its (the) 11 Indicators and related criteria to guide the analysis, looking not only for adherence to the standard but also for how STEM education is provided to the school’s students and embodies the practices and characteristics of a quality, relevant, and age-appropriate STEM education. As a result of the STEM Certification Review conducted in late May, ADM earned the distinction of the AdvancED STEM Certification. The certification was a rigorous process that involved observations of 26 of the school's classrooms using the ELEOT observation tool and 68 interviews of teachers, students, advisors, business community partners and parents. The certification is valid for five-years. Dr. Jeff Wooten, one of two site reviewers and Director of AdvancED in Alabama stated, "Alice Drive took the most difficult route in making STEM learning available for all. Many schools start out by initiating the STEM curriculum in a few classrooms or a school-within-a-school approach." Dr. Wooten also noted that ADM was able to achieve in two years what usually takes three to five years to accomplish. The reviewers noted the school’s outreach and partnership program as two of its most powerful practices. Yet, the transformative story comes from student testimonials. Students at ADM have embraced the STEM offerings. Eighth-grader Luke DuRant, who has experienced the STEM offerings since sixth grade, stated, "It's about learning technology and skills that we can use when we graduate.


With project-based learning, if we don't come up with a solution, we go back to the beginning and start the project over again. Being in the robotics class is just as cool as playing and winning football games." Hannah Merchant, a sixth-grade student, is finishing her first year at the school. "I had no clue what STEM was when I first came here. Now I love it," she said.

Looking Ahead: Strengthening our STEM Commitment As we move forward with a sense of urgency to more fully transform our school into a STEMcentered culture, ADM faculty plans to explore these possibilities:

Robotics programming

1. Flip additional classrooms across the school building. 2. Develop long-term problem-based units with opportunities for students to present to “expert audiences.” 3. Maximize STEM immersion. 4. Regularly collect & analyze data to authentically measure STEM literacy. 5. Implement a One to One Chrome Book technology initiative. 6. Increase opportunities for structured collaboration among faculty and staff members. 7. Explore integrating the arts into the STEM program. The success of the STEM program at ADM cannot be possible without the support and dedication of our school’s teachers who have put in many hours to create, develop, enhance, enrich, and improve the educational experiences Girls STEM Camp for our students. Our teachers’ innovative and collaborative spirit and willingness to transform and do what is best for our students has been a true joy to witness. It is because of their love of our profession, students and our school that has allowed them to move beyond traditional teaching to ensure all the students we serve are college and career ready. They work diligently


educating themselves on STEM competencies and best practices. Let’s be clear: our great teachers are the ones who have brought the STEM vision to fruition. By no means has this endeavor been simple and easy. The teachers have transformed our school into something incredible—students are engaged like never before Measurement lab activity at ADM because of the ADM community who give them the best opportunities each day to become productive, competitive, globally aware citizens.

References AdvancED. (2015) Coherence Framework. (2003). book/coherence-framework Profile of the South Carolina Graduate. (2015). STEM Continuum (2014, July 1). ccr/Standards-Learning/documents/STEM_Continuum_ With_Evidence-Middle_School.pdf STEM Innovation Configuration (IC) Maps. (2014). STEM Support - Theory of Action. (n.d.). http://www. Successful K-12 STEM Education: Identifying Effective Approaches in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. (2011). successful-k-12-stem-education-identifying-effectiveapproaches-in-science The World at Work: Jobs, pay, and skills for 3.5 billion people. (2012). McKinsey & Company. Vasquez, J. (2013). STEM Lesson Essentials, Grades 3-8:Integrating Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (1st ed.). Portsmouth, New Hampshire: Heinemann. Vasquez, J. (2015). STEM-Beyond the Acronym. Educational Leadership, 1-15.

About the Authors Principal Alice Drive Middle School 40 Miller Road; Sumter, SC 29150 803-840-5754 /

Jeannie Pressley

Jeannie Pressley has taught elementary and middle level ELA and math. She previously served as the principal of Cherryvale Elementary, a Palmetto Silver School. Assistant Principal Alice Drive Middle School 40 Miller Road; Sumter, SC 29150 803-316-7849 /

Trevor Ivey, NBCT

Trevor Ivey has taught elementary and middle level science. He has won numerous teaching awards, including state finalist for Teacher of the Year in 2013. Assistant Principal Alice Drive Middle School 40 Miller Road; Sumter, SC 29150 803-236-8688 /

Jenaii Edwards

Jenaii Edwards previously served as the Lead Special Education Teacher at Chestnut Oaks Middle School, where she was named Teacher of the Year. Education Specialist S2TEM Centers SC 1041 George Rogers Blvd., Columbia, SC 29201 803-917-7062 /

Cherlyn Anderson

Cherlyn Anderson has taught middle level science and ELA. She has won numerous awards including the Milken National Educator and an Albert Einstein Fellowship.

Science, Fine Arts, & STEM Coordinator Sumter School District 1345 Wilson Hall Road; Sumter, SC 29150 803-469-6900 /

Lori Smith, NBCT

Lori Smith serves as the Science, Fine Arts, STEM/ AVID Coordinator for Sumter School District and also on the SC Coalition for Mathematics and Science Board.

Curriculum Coordinator Alice Drive Middle School 40 Miller Road Sumter, SC 29150 803-775-0821 / Stephanie.barrineau@

Stephanie Barrineau

A National Board Certified Teacher, Stephanie Barrineau serves as the ADM Curriculum Coordinator.


Celebrating the Work of Educators and Others Who Serve America Chris Shealy


he start of a new school year provides a great opportunity for celebration. And we’re not talking about moms and dads who are happy to loan their children back to teachers and administrators following a long, hot summer of family togetherness. We’re talking about celebrating the great work that teachers, administrators, cafeteria workers, custodians and school bus drivers perform every day for America’s children and grandchildren. These men and women give of their time and energy to improve the lives of millions of children each day — and often receive little celebration other than an endof-the-year coffee gift card. At Colonial Life, we’re trying to do more to celebrate the great work of teachers and educators — as well as the millions of others who work for America’s workers each day. In our business, we take pride in protecting and serving those who protect and serve us. We do that by providing the best financial protection products and benefits communication we can. Last year Colonial Life helped hundreds of school districts across the country with their core enrollments and provided a wide variety of enrollment services.


In fact, we’ve been working for those who work for America for so long that we’re celebrating our own milestone this year — 60 years of serving public sector employees, from teachers and postal workers to maintenance staff and office employees. In 1955, our products were offered for the first time through payroll deduction to public employees in North Carolina – a unit of the state highway patrol. In the 60 years since, we have grown to serve 5,000 local governments, 34 state governments and 2,700 educational agencies. Through our decades of service to those who work for America’s workers, we’ve learned a lot about how America works. Colonial Life can help administrators demonstrate their concern for their employees’ individual needs with a strong, customizable benefits package. There’s a high degree of correlation between how employees feel about their benefits package and how they feel about their employer, according to the 2014 U.S. Worker Study. Of employees who rate their benefits package as “excellent” or “very good,” 76 percent also say their company is an “excellent” or “very good” place to work. Only 5 percent rate it “fair” or “poor.”

On the ip side, employees who give their beneďŹ ts package just a “fairâ€? or “poorâ€? rating are much more likely — 45 percent compared with the 5 percent above — to say their company is only a “fairâ€? or “poorâ€? place to work. And only 18 percent of these employees say their employer is “excellentâ€? or “very good.â€? We have learned that the best way for employees to understand and value their beneďŹ ts is for them to understand what’s available to them. Helping employees understand their beneďŹ ts, and where coverage gaps may or may not exist, is one of the things we do best. Celebrate your educators and school district personnel this year by closing the beneďŹ ts communication gap as we head into enrollment season. What gap, you ask? Nearly all employees (98 percent) in a 2013 Colonial Life-Harris Interactive poll said it’s important to understand their beneďŹ ts. But only a third (34 percent) of employees whose employers offer beneďŹ ts say they understand their beneďŹ ts very well — and 7 percent don’t understand them well at all. The good news is you may be able to easily close this communications gap at little to no direct cost to your employees by taking advantage of the resources of your beneďŹ ts provider (see a list of best practices in beneďŹ ts communication below). Top voluntary beneďŹ ts partners can take the burden off your limited staff to deliver effective, consistent beneďŹ ts communication that helps your employees understand their beneďŹ ts and make the best choices for their individual needs. So by providing your employees a strong beneďŹ ts package and beneďŹ ts communication program, you can make your workplace a happier place. And that’s something we can all celebrate.

About the Author Chris Shealy Colonial Life Public Sector Manager, Colonial Life & Accident Insurance Company Colonial Life is a market leader in providing ďŹ nancial protection beneďŹ ts through the workplace, including disability, life, accident, cancer, critical illness and hospital conďŹ nement indemnity insurance. The company’s beneďŹ t services and education, innovative enrollment technology and personal service support more than 80,000 businesses and organizations, representing more than 3 million of America’s workers and their families. For more information about Colonial Life’s products and services, contact Shealy at or visit You can also connect with Colonial Life at coloniallifebeneďŹ ts, and www.

Here are some of the best practices LQEHQHÀWVFRPPXQLFDWLRQ • 2QHWRRQHVXSSRUW$RQHVL]HÀWVDOODSSURDFK WREHQHÀWVFRPPXQLFDWLRQQRORQJHUZRUNV Insurance is complex, and relying on selfeducation or technology alone isn’t realistic. +DYLQJDFFHVVWRDWUDLQHGEHQHÀWVVSHFLDOLVW who personalizes the decision-making experience for employees can create real satisfaction. Employees appreciate having someone help them understand all the terminology and choices, as well as give them WKHFRQÀGHQFHWKH\QHHGWRPDNHJRRG decisions for their families. • Multiple employee touch points. Give HPSOR\HHVPXOWLSOHRSWLRQVWRHQKDQFHEHQHÀWV communication. Some basic methods you should offer include one-to-one meetings, group meetings and Internet or self-enroll methods. Supplement these methods with online UHVRXUFHVSULQWHGEHQHÀWVERRNOHWVSULQWHG enrollment guides and interactive multimedia tools. • ,QWHUDFWLYLW\7RGD\¡VEHQHÀWVFRPPXQLFDWLRQ and education involves more than just developing a message and delivering it. It’s about creating employee participation. Using tools such as workbooks and interactive needs analysis helps create true engagement and participation. • Convenience. Providing tools to give access to employees throughout the year, not just at annual enrollment, is important. The use of corporate portals, for example, has become increasingly popular, giving workers easy, 24/7 DFFHVVWRDZLGHUDQJHRIZHEEDVHGEHQHÀWV information they can use year-round at their convenience. • Year-round communication. No one’s life is VWDWLFDQGEHQHÀWVFRPPXQLFDWLRQVKRXOGQ¡W be either. Think about your new employees and employees who experience life changes throughout the year, such as marriage, retirement or the birth of a child. You need a way to keep up the communications efforts year-round.


Media Center 2.0 Turning the page to an all-digital workspace Dr. Kathleen Corley

Once upon a time, every school had a school library.


he library was a room with shelves full of fiction and nonfiction books, a room where librarians curated and disseminated the collection to students. Then we added opaque and overhead projectors, laser disc players, listening centers and a few computers – appliances that required electrical outlets – and libraries were rebranded as “media centers.” Most of the changes were cosmetic, though, and media centers were still easily recognizable as libraries. Sure, there were computer work stations and tables and chairs for group work, but there were still rows and rows of books, just like in the pre-media center days. Early in the 2014-15 school year, at a districtwide meeting of principals and district office staff, our superintendent asked, “What do you think would happen if we took all of the books out of the media center and went 100 percent digital?” While he was still making his presentation, I sent him an e-mail volunteering to pilot the concept. He readily agreed and requested a “wish list” as soon as possible. The timing could not have been more perfect. Red Cedar Elementary was a six-year-old school that was prepping for a project-based learning approach. Our media center already had a well-equipped production room. We used it every day for a morning program, and older students loved showing up anywhere in the world through the magic of green-screen technology. That was going to come in handy for students reporting results for their projects. Our media center also had a tile floor, a few electrical outlets, tables and chairs to seat 25 students, a half-dozen laptops – and, of course, rows and rows of book shelves. A school team – our media specialist, assistant principal and literacy coach – worked with me to develop a list of must-haves for our “Media Center 2.0” that would help us create a place to ignite children’s imaginations. A place to excite them and inspire their creativity. Over the next few months, our team ordered new equipment and planned for the rehab project. The first thing we needed was more electrical outlets. Electricity could be brought down from the ceiling, come from the side via half-walls, or up from the floor. We chose the floor because


it created a more open feel in the room. After outlets were installed, we covered the floor with carpet, added accent paint to one of the walls and constructed a small stage, also covered in carpet. Because Beaufort County is a Promethean-outfitted district, it made sense to investigate ActivTable technology. Pre-loaded with access to more than 200 ready-made activities in multiple languages, a table-based HD LCD 46” display would allow up to six students to work at each station. We bought three.

For multitouch interactive displays, we chose Clear Touch HD screens: two 65-inch models and one 84-inch unit. These screens telescope and tilt to allow uses in a variety of settings. In addition, we already had a MakerBot Replicator Two 3D printer, three generations of Lego robots and a set of Spheros robots. As new items began to arrive, we sneaked them in as stealthily as we could manage. Teachers got a preview of Media Center 2.0 a few weeks before the students. They were amazed. Some of our teachers who were anxious to start using the new equipment as soon as possible spent every spare moment learning on their own. We set up a train-the-trainer model to speed things along.

• Another student is producing a video that shares her findings after pursuing a Genius Hour project. • The menu for our 13,000-title digital book collection is on one of the big screens, offering numerous titles for every reading level. (Our district provides individual iPads for third through fifth grades, and fifth-graders in our building can take them home at night. Little people check out traditional books. Fifth-graders primarily check out digital versions, while third- and fourth-graders do a little of both. Many students check out the digital and hard-copy versions of the same book, taking hard copies home while their tablets are recharging at school overnight.)

Finally, when the big day arrived, the students’ eyes told the story as soon as they entered the room. They wanted to try everything. They did try everything. And as always happens when digital natives (students) interact with digital travelers (teachers), the former added to the understanding of the latter. • Visit Red Cedar’s Media Center 2.0 today and here’s what you’re likely to see:

Beyond the everyday activities at Media Center 2.0, we also host special events. You might see a group of district students, or even an ensemble from the Hilton Head Symphony Orchestra, performing for children. A live feed is going out on the ClearTouch so even those in the back of the room have a good view, and perhaps also to classrooms via VBrick. You might see an author interacting with students via Skype – from his home in Guam, 8,000 miles away in the South Pacific. The other additions to Media Center 2.0 never fail to elicit smiles and interest from students.

• All three ActivTables are in use at the same time, with teams of students collaborating to solve problems and carry out tasks. • “Group artwork” is being spontaneously designed on the interactive displays. • A teacher is using one of the ClearTouch screens to display instructions for writing code to operate a robot, while another screen displays students’ codewriting efforts for everyone to see and make their own contributions. A student is shooting video of the result, using an iPad to record a Sphero or a Lego robot going through its paces.


Designed by our office staff, the first addition is a short, three-dimensional history of communication and technology affixed to the wall and on custom-made display boxes (thanks to our data specialist and her husband). Printing press materials, cassette tapes, a first-generation iPod, a record player, a rotary-dial phone, a “bag” phone, a Palm Pilot and more items are on display. Students have researched most of the items and made short videos that can be accessed by QR codes. Adult visitors always enjoy hearing a fourth-grader describe the virtues of 8-track tapes, or explain how to operate an Underwood manual typewriter. The second addition lets our little kids teach our big kids. First, our kindergarten and first-grade students get comfortable using our six-foot by 12-foot Lego wall and four smaller landscape Lego walls (moonscape, tropical forest, etc.). Then, once they enjoy the experience for a bit, they share it with an upper-grade class. Some of those students are still smiling. School libraries were always interactive places, but this is different. Media Center 2.0 is designed for the 21st Century learner. The needs of today’s child are different from the students we used to teach, so the workspace needs to be different, too. One of our teachers said it quite eloquently: “This is a new way of thinking about a space that was originally dedicated to just one purpose – to house resources and


provide space that students and teachers could use for research, to help them find information, learn new things and be entertained. Media Center 2.0 still does that, but it’s an evolving idea. What it is now is not what it will be in five years. It will grow and change to meet the needs of the people using it and the new technologies that we use.” Looking back at our planning to create Media Center 2.0, the first thing we had to create was additional space for all of the new equipment. The first things to go were the books. The lion’s share of our collection moved to a sunny atrium adjacent to the media center, a place that is our building’s physical and emotional center and a place where our kids can still check out books. So what do they now call our school’s atrium? The library.

About the Author Red Cedar Elementary School 10 Box Elder Street; Bluffton, SC 29910 843-707-0600

Dr. Kathleen Corley

Kathleen Corley has been a school administrator for more than 25 years. She has opened three elementary schools, served at four and been named a distinguished Alumnus by the College of Education at the University of Illinois. Red Cedar Elementary was named Palmetto’s Finest in March.


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RED CEDAR ELEMENTARY SCHOOL Beaufort County Schools Kathleen Corley, Principal








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T. Cliff Roberts Oconee County Schools



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Jennifer Thielmann Berkeley County Schools


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Rebecca “Beckye” Partlow York School District 3 (Rock Hill)



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Stephen Hefner Lexington-Richland School District 5



SCASA Lifetime Achievement Award Winners


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Photo Contest

The Campobello-Gramling School Team of Spartanburg School District 1 is pictured walking for a cure at Relay for Life 2015. Photo submitted by Paula Brooks.

6FKRRO5HVRXUFH2IĂ&#x20AC;FHUVOLNHWKLVRQHDW:DFFDPDZ(OHPHQWDU\ *HRUJHWRZQ County Schools), make a point of welcoming students as they arrive at school each morning. Photo submitted by Ray White.

SCASA member Mr. Wendell Sumter, principal of Great Falls Elementary, kissed Miss Petunia Pig after the students made GFE the highest performing elementary school in the Chester County School District. Photo submitted by Michelle Chase.


Third graders at Lake Murray Elementary School in Lexington Richland School District 5 celebrated history through a “Time Travelers” experience. As they visited different classrooms, students encountered many people from history. Sherry Ward, a third grade teacher, dressed as Francis Marion and led students on adventures through South Carolina. Photo submitted by Kelly Reese.

The Abbeville County School District celebrated their excellent 2015 report card. Photo submitted by Betty Jo Hall.


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SC Foundation for Educational Administration 121 Westpark Boulevard Columbia, South Carolina 29210

Announcing CEEL: Center for Executive Education Leadership

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2015 fall palmetto administrator magazine  

2015 fall palmetto administrator magazine  

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