The school bond vote is about a month away and to say I was dismayed to read the letters to the editor in the Lake Wylie Pilot opposing the bond would be an understatement. I am not naive in believing everyone would agree with our proposal, however I am dismayed about the perceived need for a second high school as the only valid course for our school district.
When deciding to propose a stand alone ninth grade academy on the current Clover Middle School site, the board and school administrators were focusing on what educational model best provides for the academic and social needs of the students while maintaining fiscal responsibility for the taxpayers.
We looked not only at projected enrollment numbers but also, more importantly, on the current high school’s performance. While studies that address ideal size of high schools provide possible negative side effects to large high schools, we monitor the actual results of our current high school. If being a finalist for Palmetto’s Finest isn’t enough to attest to the excellence of CHS look to other data:
• Graduation rates are up.
• Number of students passing AP and duel credit classes at an all time high.
• Additional vocation courses and internship opportunities increases.
• Largest amount of scholarship dollars awarded to last year’s graduating class.
• An overall rating of excellent on the state report card.
Aside from all the academic opportunities offered by the high school, students can participate in extra curricular activities that match their interests. CHS offers clubs that are academic, athletic, social and community centered. Every student at CHS has the opportunity to get everything needed to prepare for life after high school whether attending a four year college, two year vocational school, entering the workforce, or making their own path.
By adding a ninth grade academy, we lose nothing from the stellar high school we already have but we give incoming freshmen a year to adjust to the transition from middle school to high school. Prior to my kids entering the high school, I shared the concern about the high being too big and my daughter getting lost in the crowd. My fears were unfounded.
Since my eldest daughter entered the high school vast improvements have been made not only in terms of classes and programming but also communication and guidance. Is the high school perfect? No, but as with all the all Clover schools continuous improvement is always part of the planning. With the kick off of the Connected Classrooms and providing every student with the newest technology who knows how much better we will get at individualizing teaching and learning.
I am proud to serve on the Clover School Board and believe the proposed bond is what is best for the students of Clover. As March 22 approaches, if you have questions or concerns about the bond attend one of the many community forums where bond information is being presented or contact a board member or school district employee directly. We will be happy to answer your questions.
The community has always demonstrated faith and supported our schools whether it be by attending a choral performance, sending in donations for our backpack students, attending a sporting event or voting in favor of a school bond. We have a lot to be proud of in our district much of it coming directly from the community’s dedication to our students and schools.
Sherri Ciurlik of Lake Wylie is a Clover School Board Trustee.