Monday, March 3, 2014
Williamsburg County School District continued to celebrate its recent Race to the Top grant award by hosting an event at Kingstree Middle School. The district was part of four districts called the Carolina Consortium for Enterprise Learning (CCEL) to receive the grant totaling nearly $25 million. The CCEL is comprised of Williamsburg County, Clarendon County 2, Richland 2, and Orangeburg Consolidated 5.
Over 200 districts across the country applied for the grant. Williamsburg County School District will receive 51 percent of the grant monies. The funds do not feed directly to schools; rather it will provide for professional development, technology and instructional resources.
The February 25, event included an in-depth look into the grant process as well as several guest speakers. Clarendon School District 2 Superintendent John Tindal was among those. Clarendon School District is the consortium's lead district. Tindal shared his excitement with guests and praised all of the school districts within the consortium for their hard work. "We all worked together diligently and we've earned this award that almost any school district in South Carolina or the United States of America would be proud to have," said Tindal. "Only five (grants) in the United States of America were awarded. And this consortium of four districts was one of those five awards made by the US Department of Education. That is something to be proud of."
Tindal went on to emphasize the importance of the grant and how it is needed now more than ever. "I know it's going to make a difference for our children because tomorrow won't wait for them. We have to get them ready," said Tindal. Other speakers included Williamsburg Technical College President Dr. Patti Lee and Kenneth Barnes, representing the Office of Congressman James Clyburn. Clyburn's office played a part in the process but Barnes said it was the writers of the grant who should be applauded. "We did play a little part in it but the big part was them," said Barnes. "They wrote the grant. They made it happen." Barnes echoed Tindal's comments, saying the children will benefit the most. "Finally the rural areas have gotten an opportunity to do something for their children that has not been done in a long time."
In his closing remarks, Williamsburg County School District Board of Trustee Member Linwood Cooper recalled the night before where he heard the same presentation for the first time. "Last evening at the board meeting they presented this to us," said Cooper. "You did a great job and you cleared up some misunderstanding and clarity in all areas. We know what we need to do to stay on top." Cooper said he came to the board committed to the success of our future leaders and with this grant they have the means to accomplish that goal. "I'm committed to see that this works," said Cooper. "And those individuals who are in the position to seek out and find the means and the vehicles to make us the best county in the United States, I'm on your team." Afterward, guests were treated to heavy hors d'oeuvres and live music provided by the Kingstree Senior High School Jazz Ensemble.