Derik Vanderford Staff Writer
November 1, 2013
UNION COUNTY — During this week’s meeting of the Union County Board of School Trustees, board members rated superintendent Dr. Kristi Woodall’s performance “satisfactory” for the past year, based on the fact that she had met the goals she had set for the district in 2012-2013. Woodall said she gives full credit to the teachers, students and administrators.
“I formulate the plans and time lines, but I’m totally dependent on them in order to bring (goals) to fruition,” Woodall said. “They are very dedicated and committed, and our students try very hard.”
Woodall’s goals for the district were divided into three categories, the first of which was Curriculum and Instruction. She said she would assist principals and the instructional staff in plans for continuous district improvement, and those goals were met in the following ways:
The next category was Use of Resources, in which Woodall said she would provide leadership in effectively managing resources. Those goals were met in the following ways:
The third category was Public Relations. Woodall said she would develop opportunities for community outreach and partnerships, and those goals were met in the following ways:
Woodall said board members were concerned about Union County High Schools grade of “F” on its federal report card, and she said she is taking steps to improve that. She explained, however, that the federal report card — which has only been in place for two years — is based on the growth of seven student sub-groups, such as ethnicity, gender, free and reduced lunch, and special needs students. The federal report card is not based on overall performance, but rather the growth of all seven of those student sub-groups.
“We did better than expected in some categories,” Woodall said. “We did have successes, but if all seven sub-groups don’t move, we still get a zero.”
Woodall used an analogy, comparing the scoring system to losing weight.
“If I’m trying to lose weight and my goal is to lose 15 pounds, I could meet my goal one year. Then, the next year, I could have held that 15 pounds down, but because I didn’t lose five more, I would get a zero.”
Woodall said the UCHS staff members understand the facets of that federal growth model, and they are working to improve data in all of those student sub-groups.
Schools will not receive their state report card, which is based on overall performance, until November. Those scores are based on end-of-course tests, on-time graduation rate, and how many students passed exit exams (their first time taking them and by graduation). Woodall said she already has the raw data, but not the final calculations. She said UCHS has scored average in the three previous years, and some adjustments have already been made to see better scores this year.
Woodall also pointed out that four teachers from the district level — Cindy Langley, Tabitha Talley, Eric Childers, and herself — are visiting schools to assist and support teachers on a monthly basis.
“We are trying a very hands-on approach to support teachers,” she said. “We look at the way we test students — written tests and the types of questions we ask — and communicating with students’ families. That’s what I focus on in the math department. It takes the teacher and the family to work with the student.”
Woodall assists in the math department; Langley assists in English; Childers in science; and Talley in social studies.
Woodall also discussed her goals for 2013-2014, which will involve the same three categories as last year. For instruction, she said the district will focus on an I-3 writing grant from Clemson, which is for middle and high school teachers who are learning to teach writing. Another focus will be STEM (science, technology, engineering and math), which will involve upper-level middle school science lessons and the formation of robotics teams.
In the Resources category, the focus will be on the UCHS Career and Technology Center. A needs assessment will be conducted, from recruitment to programs offered. Woodall said the district will expand the programs which are offered in the CATE Center.
In the Public Relations category, the district will focus on the 5K Healthy Snack Initiative, in which students’ snacks will come from local farmers markets, as well as outreach efforts to put out good news about the work of the teachers and students.