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Phillips: A fresh start

Posted: August 18, 2015 7:57 p.m.
Updated: August 19, 2015 1:00 a.m.

As students in Kershaw County head back to school this week and others across the state and the nation have already returned or soon will, there is a certain anticipation as to what the 2015-2016 school year will bring.

As with most everything else in this life, education is constantly evolving. While there was a large group of graduates who received their diplomas earlier this summer, this week there is another large group heading to the classroom for the first time. Both groups now face something new, whether it be in kindergarten or first grade, or their freshman year of college or their first taste of “the real world” as members of the workforce.

The new school year is absolutely a fresh start. It’s kind of like the beginning of a new sports season where all the teams are equal. Students, like those sports teams, all have the same win-loss record this week. Previous years mean very little, or at least they should mean very little. Students by and large have a new set of teachers and that is a fresh start in and of itself. Not that a child’s previous teachers were lacking -- not at all -- but, sometimes, certain students and teachers just click in such a way which makes the lessons suddenly become clear. The mysterious fog lifts and concepts which seemed impossible before finally make sense. That’s the magic of a good teacher and they are just as diverse as the students they teach. When the two are paired up properly, it’s a magnificent relationship. We all can recall favorite teachers we had and, conversely, those for whom we didn’t care for so much. That’s putting it nicely.

We are truly fortunate in Kershaw County to have such a corps of professional, caring teachers helping to educate and mold the minds of our children. We wouldn’t have those teachers, or nearly as many anyway, without a strong school administration. How Kershaw County School District Superintendent Dr. Frank Morgan and his staff can accomplish so much with so few resources is nothing short of amazing. Don’t get me wrong, the school district is far from penniless, but they have to stretch every penny they have to accomplish their goals of student retention (keeping dropout rates down), maintaining and even increasing graduation rates and having students who consistently earn impressive test scores. Somehow, they do it.

But, they can always use more funding and more community and parental support. Supporting our school system, from the lowest grades and smallest children all the way up through Central Carolina Technical College and the young adults who are there to receive training which will serve them in the workforce, is a good investment. It’s a great investment because those who manage the finances obviously make the most of them.

The new school year represents a clean slate for everyone involved. I find this to be comforting, even though I haven’t been in school in decades and I’m not even involved often in reporting the goings on in our local school district. As the person who reports on Kershaw County Council, I am very aware of the district’s financial needs and what they are able to do with what they have available.

Here’s to a great 2015-2016 school year for everyone -- the students, the faculty and the administration. Ultimately that means a good school year for all of us, because it makes for a better and brighter future for all of Kershaw County.


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