Monday, June 05, 2017

Always Hope for Sanders-Clyde

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Here is a Charleston County elementary school where not a single student reads at grade level or above. Did you think that was even possible? The history of Sanders-Clyde is fraught with problems, not the least of which was the massive fraud in test scores perpetrated by a principal about a decade ago. 

No one can accuse the Charleston County School District of old or neglected classroom space here. This school belongs on a different "Corridor of Shame," an academic one.

What interventions can force this failing school to succeed? Surely one should be continuity in leadership! The school has run through five principals in the last seven years. Roshon Bradley, who took over the school as interim in March and now has the official position, needs all the help he can get. One "help" should be at least a three-year stay. 

This native New Yorker has many plans to address the problems that poverty brings to the school: a parent resource center, a beefed-up student clinic with a clothing closet, a new program (ROOTS, LLC) headed by colleague Christopher Cuby, and support from the Charleston Promise Neighborhood. Supplying basic needs for students is, well, basic. However, one need is to prevent the teacher burn-out that has produced one of the highest teacher turnover rates in the state. Teacher support and encouragement should be near the top of Bradley's concerns.

Students who cannot read well cannot succeed in high school or in life. Kudos to Bradley and his team for accepting what has often been a thankless task.

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