School board members, parents begin campus tours in Rock Hill

rsouthmayd@heraldonline.comSeptember 11, 2013 

  • Future school visits

    Sept. 25

    India Hook Elementary, 8-9:30 a.m.

    Sullivan Middle, 9:45-11:15 a.m.

    Oct. 16

    Old Pointe Elementary, 8-9:30 a.m.

    Rosewood Elementary, 9:45-11:15 a.m.

    Oct. 23

    Northwestern High, 8-9:30 a.m.

    Rawlinson Road Middle, 9:45-11:15 a.m.

    Nov. 6

    Finley Road Elementary, 8-9:30 a.m.

    Northside Elementary School of the Arts, 9:45-11:15 a.m.

    Dec. 4

    Mount Holly Elementary, 8-9:30 a.m.

    Belleview Elementary, 9:45-11:15 a.m.

    Dec. 11

    York Road Elementary, 8-9:30 a.m.

    Applied Technology Center, 9:45-11:15 a.m.

— School board members, community members and administrators visited two Rock Hill schools on Wednesday morning, kicking off a series of public visits at each of the district schools.

Two schools – Lesslie Elementary and Castle Heights Middle – provided student-led tours around the buildings and the opportunity for people to ask questions of the students, teachers and staff.

At Lesslie Elementary School, there was a light breakfast before visitors headed out in small groups.

School board members Jane Sharp, Walter Brown and chairman Jim Vining were led by fifth-graders Kaylee Lovin and Kasey Awad.

“This is Mrs. Simpson,” said Kasey, as he led the board members into a classroom. “Everyone who meets her will love her.”

Each student had been prepared to show off the classrooms and facilities at Lesslie, including the newly relocated playground.

“It’s pretty awesome now,” Kaylee said of the new outdoor space.

The board members questioned the students about their teachers and classes, and the students were ready to answer and share everything they knew about the school.

A short while later, a larger group of visitors gathered in the media center at Castle Heights Middle School. After snacks, iRock iPads in hand, students led small groups through the hallways, where more students were waiting to take people into classrooms and to show off different elements of the school.

Bobbie Armstrong and Lucille McCluney were among the visitors at Castle Heights. Both have children at the school and said they try to come to as many school events as they can.

“You want to make sure your kids know you’re behind them,” said McCluney, who has a son in the sixth grade.

Armstrong has a daughter who’s already been through Castle Heights and said she thinks attending events like this is part of good parenting.

“It’s important to know their friends, too,” she said. “They see me here, and I get to see them.”

Watching for iPads

Some parents were there because they had concerns or questions about what was going on in the school.

Lucinda Dunn, whose son is in the sixth grade at Castle Heights, said, “I’m still having a little concern with the iPads. We still don’t have enough textbooks.”

Dunn was echoing a common concern among parents that money is being spent on iPads as part of iRock when there are still textbook shortages in some subject areas. iRock is the Rock Hill school district’s multi-year, $9 million technology initiative.

The visitors at Castle Heights got to see plenty of iPads.

The student tour guides showed a video of the school by scanning a QR code on a bulletin board. And in many of the classrooms open to visitors, iPads were out and in use or sitting nearby.

Despite the 30 or so adults wandering around Castle Heights, the students seemed undisturbed.

Students are used to having visitors around because of the “Schools to Watch” designation, which brings visitors in fairly regularly, said assistant principal Richard Ball.

Watching the students mature into ambassadors of the school is a fun part of his job, he said.

“The more they’re involved, the more they’re going to take care of this place and do better in school,” he said.

Any parent or community member is allowed to attend these visits and tours, which have been scheduled for throughout the year. There’s no registration required to attend a visit.

Rachel Southmayd •  803-329-4072

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