A Remarkable Fall 2021
School Board hails sports and band accomplishments.
The District 56 Board of Trustees reinforced to its students last Monday night the importance of being involved in something positive outside the classrooms and praised Clinton High School’s recent successes.
Honored were The Devil Regiment Marching Band, qualifying for the State Competition for the first time in seven years; the Competitive Cheer Team, qualifying for its first-ever State Tournament in its first full year of competition; and the Girls Tennis Team, qualifying for the State Tournament and going three rounds deep in the Upper State playoffs.
This past fall, the CHS Varsity Football Team went 11-2 and three rounds deep in the Upper State playoffs, the Junior Varsity Football Team went undefeated; the Cross-country Teams both won Region Championships and CHS had a Top 10 in the state runner, Elizabeth Reid; and the Volleyball Team qualified for the playoffs.
That means, every Clinton High School team or program of Fall 2021 qualified for its respective post-season competition.
Superintendent Dr. David O’Shields was especially proud of Competitive Cheer; at State they finished ahead of Lower Richland and Daniel - two teams that the football team met in the upper state playoffs.
Board Member and retired coach Keith Richardson stressed the importance of connections outside the classroom.
“Seventy-five percent of our middle school and high school students are involved in extra-curricular activities. That hit a nerve with me,” he said. “That is a lot of students involved in a lot of things. The ACT testing service in 1981 said the only factor that predicts success later in life is achievement in extra-curricular activities. Grades and scores are not factors.”
He saluted the student-athletes and band members - “You come to school for more than just going to class. It pays off. It is proven.”
O’Shields has noted that CHS is branching out into non-traditional sports like bass fishing and eSports. Presbyterian College has announced it is turning The Capitol Theater in downtown Laurens into its eSports collegiate competition center.
The board also heard from Tanya Wilson, principal of Eastside Elementary School. The board used to travel school to school for its monthly meetings, to hear about programs; but Covid caused the district to anchor the meetings at the CHS auditorium for social-distancing and to restrict people coming in and out of buildings from the outside.
Wilson said discipline intervention at the school has reduced the number of referral from 202 in 2018-19 to 67 in 2019-20 and to 42 in 2020-21; there have been 8 so far this year. Students learn when they are inside the building, not put out for discipline, she said.
“They learn and achieve more if we have them in class,” she said.
Teachers are working to “close the achievement gap,” and Wilson noted that Eastside’s MAP scores were above the district average last year. The school employs two academic interventionists, who help students with the most severe deficiencies; but also has taken steps to increase from 17 the number in gifted and talented classes - a MAP Discovery program identifies students who need just a little nudge into the G&T classes for accelerated learning. Eastside offers before- and after-school tutoring.
Professional development is teacher-led and uses data to determine academic areas the teachers need to work on - programs are in place to help with small group instruction.
In other business at the Nov. 22 meeting, O’Shields reported on the accreditation virtual visit. The district will learn in January if it is reaccredited for another 5 years. “They said we are in very good shape with the board,” O’Shields said. “You are engaged without micro-managing.”
The district has on its website its plan for going back to school face-to-face in the continuing COVID-19 pandemic. It has access to federal money (ESSER III funds) to continue the fight against the potentially deadly pandemic. The district will conduct a June and a November review of this spending through 2023.
The board also elected member Kim Williams-Carter as its vice-chair, and Charles Stinson as its secretary. By today (Dec. 1) the district intends to distribute a calendar of upcoming pre-winter holidays activities.
The next District 56 Board of Trustees meeting will be Monday, Jan. 24, 2022 - this will be Board Appreciation Month.