Published by Laurie Pender on August 24, 2017
The following Back-To-School OpEd from CCS’ Interim Superintendent Tim Kinlaw appeared in the Aug. 23 Fayetteville Observer.
Collaborate. Compete. Succeed.
Every new school year begins with great hopes and expectations for our students. Approximately 51,000 students will walk through the doors of Cumberland County schools this school year. We are excited to welcome each of them along with our employees for another successful year!
Each school year brings much anticipation, anxiety, eagerness, and hope. As Cumberland County Schools’ Interim Superintendent, I would like to take this opportunity to express my hopes for this school year.
Here in the Cumberland County Schools (CCS), we look forward to continuing to offer each of our students a rich curriculum – including and going beyond basic academics – to make sure they have the tools and skills needed for a bright future. We will continue to strive to help our students apply their classroom lessons to real-life experiences like using their math and science skills to construct robots and writing code to control electronic devices; cultivating and studying school gardens and farm animals and learning conflict resolution skills as peer mediators.
In keeping with the CCS’ vision, we have a renewed sense of energy and commitment to “empowering all students to collaborate, compete, and succeed in an increasingly interconnected world.” In our student achievement quest, our teachers will continue their focus on academic rigor which taps into critical-thinking skills and cultivates independent thinkers. We will embrace the North Carolina Multi-Tiered System of Support or MTSS, a research-based academic and behavioral practice. MTSS will encourage teachers and parents to work together to problem solve using data in order to best meet the needs of their child.
Last school year, equity, which measures achievement, fairness, and opportunity in education, was an important part of our goals. Because we are increasingly aware of the equity gap, we will continue to ensure equity in educational experiences for ALL students. During our Aug. 16 Back-To-School Leadership Kick-Off, Gary R. Howard, founder of the REACH Center for Multicultural Education, shared with principals and administrators his thoughts on “Leading for Equity: The Fierce Urgency of Now.” From his discussion, leaders returned to their schools prepared to build upon last year’s phase of training in developing tone and trust. Staff worked on building relationships among themselves and with students for the purpose of appreciating differences while recognizing similarities. Closing the equity gap will continue to be a priority.
We have long realized that for our students to compete in this ever-changing world, their digital learning experiences must be relevant and meaningful. We continue to use various tools, e.g., laptops, Chrome Books, and iPads, in our classrooms to enhance teaching and individualized learning. We realize that digital learning is taking our classrooms by storm where textbooks of days past are like ‘dinosaurs.’ Through a partnership with the William and Ida Friday Institute for Educational Innovation, the North Carolina Digital Learning Plan has begun helping schools in Cumberland County and across the state approach learning through the use of innovation and technology. A recently awarded grant, Sprint 1Million Project, will help support this approach. Through the grant, local high school students who do not have internet access at home will receive wireless connectivity. Over the course of five years, this grant will provide 6,000 hotspots for students’ at-home use. We are excited about the digital learning partnership and the Sprint 1Million grant opportunity in fulfilling our vision.
This year, my hope is that our students will value these learning opportunities, respect their teachers, and make this year a rewarding one for themselves.
My hope is that…
Our employees and our students will return with a renewed sense of energy and commitment;
Our parents and our community will take an active role in supporting our schools and our students; and
We will all work together to make this school year a great one.
Educating our nearly 51,000 students is a shared responsibility where we value your input and support. We are excited to help students continue their journey to “collaborate, compete, and succeed” in the 2017- 2018 school year!
To keep up-to-date and see what’s going on throughout the year, visit the Cumberland County Schools’ Website at www.ccs.k12.nc.us and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
Interim Superintendent: Hopes for the school year ahead