South Carolina education leader Molly Spearman spoke to Clover School District teachers during the Aug. 8 convocation.
“Molly and staff renewed public support of education in this great state,” said Marc Sosne, Clover superintendent. “It shows what people and organizations that work for a common cause” can accomplish.
Locally, Mack McCarter, chair of the Clover school board, highlighted what passage of the 2013 school bond referendum has accomplished with the opening of two new schools on Aug. 15 and aquatic center opening Labor Day weekend.
“It’s a great time to be part of Clover School District,” he said.
Sosne laid out the district’s strategic plan that he said unknowingly aligns with the state plan. Clover’s plan includes three major goals with several objectives in each from ecological and facility design to energizing and supporting students and staff, more teacher training and recruitment and fitness and community opportunities, like the aquatic center.
“It’s giving the community something back,” he said. “The goals are more global.”
Spearman said Clover is the No. 1 district in the state.
“You really present the facts to make it true because you do an exemplary job,” Spearman said. “You personalize, you meet the child where they are and help them to get ready find their passion and then you help them fine their pathway to their success after they leave.”
Like Clover’s global approach, Spearman said “no matter where you are in this system, whether you’re the kindergarten teacher, the secretary, school nurse, bus driver, custodian, cafeteria worker, guidance counselor, classroom teacher, district office staff, school board members, no matter who you are, you play such an important role in this big system called public education.”
Since seeing the Clover High Choraliers performance of “Big River” in May, she said she’s been humming and thinking about the lyric “we’re worlds apart” because it describes South Carolina.
“You are very blessed with family support, resources, expertise helping that child succeed,” she said. “We really are worlds apart in South Carolina.”
She said former Clover assistant superintendent Sheila Quinn is an important part of helping schools throughout the state.
“I challenge you to be even better, to really reach individual children, and let’s open our doors and share and give feedback in a kind way,” Spearman said. “We’ve got to share ideas, both in the district and across the state with other schools.”
The goal she said is for every child to be ready when they cross the stage to graduate, what the state is calling the profile of the graduate of 21st century.
“It’s not just what you know, but can you take what you know and do something with it. Can you solve problems?” she said. “That’s what being successful is about. It takes skills. It takes practice. It’s important to be a great citizen, worker, employer, and have great character, integrity, honesty and leadership skills.
“All of that combined - content knowledge, skills and character - each one is just as important, and that’s what we want every child in South Carolina to have when they graduate,” she said.
But, she said, the education system can’t do it alone.
“No matter how hard we work, the school community can not do this by ourselves,” Spearman said. “We have to have the families involved. We have to have the support of the community.”
She urged the Clover educators to have a list of items – from reading to a child, filling backpacks – ready for the community to get involved.
“We need to welcome everybody in so they understand the great work you’re doing and that they feel a part of this,” she said.
Also during convocation, Larne Elementary School was named winner of the school spirit award with the best student representation at the Back to School Bash Aug. 5.