Superintendent Ashe: D29 strives for 'excellence in teaching and learning'

Welcome to the start of the 2017-2018 school year!

We are excited to begin a new school year in the Williston-Elko community where excellence in teaching and learning, as well as building community partnerships are on the forefront of what we strive to accomplish.

As we prepared for the upcoming school year, our teachers and administrators participated in summer planning sessions, as well as professional development sessions during our pre-planning and teacher in-service days. To achieve our district goals, we have several initiatives in place for the upcoming school year. Teachers across the district will continue to engage students through Explicit Direct Instruction with a focus on Individualized Computer-based Instruction. New Chromebook computers will be used in all classrooms grades K-12 this year to incorporate higher levels of technology usage on a daily basis. Teachers are utilizing Rubicon Atlas, our district’s new curriculum management system. Rubicon Atlas allows for a data-driven curricular which outlines comprehensive pacing units to be taught throughout the school year. All staff members are purposefully focusing on soft skills to prepare our students to become college, career, and citizenship ready.

South Carolina’s Read to Succeed legislation states, beginning this school year, all third grade students must demonstrate reading proficiency on the state assessment, Palmetto Assessment of State Standards – PASS, at the end of third grade to be promoted to fourth grade. The administrators of Williston School District 29 will work diligently alongside our teachers to ensure that we prepare our third grade students for the new Third Grade Retention Policy. Additional information will be available at Kelly Edwards Elementary School’s Open House and throughout the year regarding the Promotion/Retention Policy. To access this policy, visit our district’s updated website at www.williston.k12.sc.us.

We will be aligning the district’s goals with the state’s new Accountability System. South Carolina Transformational Goal One states that by the year 2035, 90 percent of students will graduate “college, career, and citizenship ready” as outlined in the Profile of the South Carolina Graduate. The S.C. Department of Education is working on the final draft of the State Goals to be submitted for approval to the State Board of Education in September.

Through data analysis and strategic planning, we will be collaborating with teams of stakeholders to review and update our District Strategic Plan to address the state accountability goals. The district will provide additional information regarding the New Accountability System as they become available.

With the support of state and federal funds, we have upgraded our technology infrastructure in each facility, moved forward with our Technology Initiative by adding digital devices in the classrooms with one-to-one iPads for grades K-2 and one-to-one Chromebook in Grades 3-12. The upgrade and additional devices will enhance our technology usage as we continue our journey into the 21st century of teaching and learning.

This summer additional security cameras were installed at each school. New HVAC systems were installed at KEES, the eighth-grade wing at Williston-Elko Middle School received a new roof, the gym floor at each school was screened and recoated, the high school gym walls got a new coat of paint, new wall paddings, and new bleachers were installed. These capital projects became a reality due to the collaboration of our School Board Trustees, the administration, staff, and community. Working together as a school community, we will accomplish much for the boys and girls in Williston School District 29.

WSD29 holds our students to high expectations; therefore, I ask that you continue to speak to your child about the importance of reading 20 minutes daily, getting to school on time and completing classroom and homework assignments.

Williston School District 29 thanks Williston-Elko families and communities for their continued support. We look forward to serving you during the 2017-2018 school year.