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Superintendent of Williamsburg County School District, Dr. Rose Wilder, spoke to parents/guardians, students, community members and school employees during four community forums held during the month of July. At these meetings, she candidly discussed the state of the district, introduced innovative programs that will benefit district students during the 2018-2019 school term, listened to concerns of attendees and answered questions regarding the school district.   

Superintendent Wilder expressed her appreciation to attendees at each forum, and she emphasized the importance of community involvement and support of district schools. Forums were held at D. P. Cooper Elementary School, C. E. Murray High School, Hemingway High School and Kingstree Senior High School.

Special guests, Eileen Patonay with the SC Department of Commerce, James Richter with SC Manufacturing Alliance, and Rebecca Craig with STEM Premier, presented STEM Premier, an online program that allows colleges and companies to connect with students to provide them with educational and career opportunities. STEM Premier is a user friendly software that assists students by generating resumes and matching students with scholarship opportunities. District high school students, beginning in ninth grade, will benefit from this program that will highlight their skills and talents on a secure database available to colleges and businesses across the nation.  

Superintendent Wilder shared with attendees that the number of district-wide discipline referrals indicate a need to focus on improving students’ social skills. She announced that The Leader in Me, a whole school transformation process that teaches leadership and life skills to students and creates a culture of student empowerment based on the idea that every child can be a leader, will be implemented district-wide during the 2018-2019 school term. “The Kenneth Gardner Elementary School’s Student Council invited me to breakfast early one morning. As I approached the door, a male student walked ahead of me and opened the door for me, and he held it for his sister to walk through. As I walked through the school, I observed that students spoke with confidence, and they had great eye contact and firm handshakes. It was something very different about this school, and I later found out that it was a Leader In Me School,” Dr. Wilder said.

Superintendent Wilder recognized district staff members in attendance at each meeting and introduced Dr. Helena Tillar, Chief Academic Officer, Wendy Fulton, Director of Finance, and Claire Murdoch, Director of Human Resources to the community. She also announced the names of new school-level administrators, Patricia Burch, principal of W. M. Anderson Primary School; Dr. Latetia Staggers, principal of D. P. Cooper Elementary School; Dr. Tara Richardson, principal of Hemingway High School; and Roberta Cumbee, principal of Kingstree High School.

Parents and community members asked numerous questions regarding summer school, parent visitation, afterschool programs, student discipline, parent portal system, student attendance, transportation, athletic programs, facility management, field trips and teacher quality.

Dr. Wilder answered all questions and addressed concerns of attendees and reemphasized to parents the need to remain involved in their children’s education. She also announced that she will have meeting with the community several times throughout the school year.