SAN ANTONIO — Three members of the Scotland County Board of Education and Superintendent Ron Hargrave attended the National School Boards Association’s annual conference this past week in San Antonio.
Vice Chair Rick Singletary along with board members Herman Tyson and Dr. Caroline Banks joined Hargrave for the four-day conference which featured a variety of workshops, learning visits and general sessions.
In total, the trip cost $2,862.97.
The general sessions featured FOX NFL Sunday co-host Terry Bradshaw, former ABC News White House correspondent Ann Compton and Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julián Castro as guest speakers.
Workshops were organized into focus areas such as innovations in district management, school board/superintendent partnerships, student achievement and accountability and technology and learning solutions.
A new school board member workshop was also offered which Tyson found helpful. He joined the board in mid-2017 after former school board member B.J. Gibson resigned.
“The session focused on becoming an effective board of education member to enrich the performance of the board of education and students,” Tyson said. “I learned that excellence at the board of education level is achieved through five key work actions: vision, accountability, policy, community leadership, and board/superintendent relationship.”
Tyson also attended the effective responses to school mental health issues session and said the presenters provided attendees with effective techniques that provide successful growth for students with mental health challenges.
“Having collaboration between educators, families, students and mental health agencies is a must,” Tyson said.
Tyson was joined by Singletary at the “Get Your Communities to Love Your Schools” session — which has been a sticking point in Scotland County since consolidation began.
The session discussed how collaborations between governmental and community agencies and how working together everyone is stronger.
Singletary found the session on school safety to be particularly enlightening, a topic the school board has paid particular attention to since the Parkland shooting.
“It solidified the need for schools to be proactive in their approach to school safety and that begins with doing an inventory of what safety procedures and protocols are in place,” Singletary said. “The presenters reiterated that these issues surrounding the need for heightened school safety are not going away and that anything at any time could happen and that we should always be prepared.”
Along the same lines, Singletary also took part in the School Resource Officer vs Teachers Packing presentation and said that essentially, the session summed up the need for additional resource officers in schools.
Banks said her most impactful session was titled, “Let Her Learn” which focused on the social and emotional issues facing female minorities.
”I appreciated the information about how schools must address those underlying issues that those, and all, students have and help provide resources for students so that they can be successful and reach their full potential,” she said.
Banks and the other board members were also pleased to learn that Scotland County is ahead of the curb when it comes to coding, robotics, and STEM.
“Many districts across the nation are just beginning to implement STEM initiatives and I was impressed with how far along Scotland County is,” she said.
This was Banks and Singletary’s second time attending the conference and the first time for Tyson.
The board of education will hold its regular monthly meeting on Monday at 6 p.m. at the A.B. Gibson Center. The school board will meet in committee on April 23 at 5 p.m. Both meetings are open to the public.
Amber Hatten-Staley can be reached at 910-506-3170 or [email protected]