Charleston County School District (CCSD) held its 2011 Office of Student Support Services Celebration on Thursday, May 19 at Mt. Peasant Seacoast Church. This event recognizes schools across the county for what they have done throughout the academic year to support the whole child. Awards are provided for great reforms and successes in the areas of school climate, school support teams, wellness initiatives, and reductions in tardies. Though no person or school is required to attend, this is one of the best-attended and most anticipated events of the year.
The district initiated the annual celebration six years ago and developed an awards process that was based on proven models in other states. Three years ago, CCSD’s event was expanded to include awards for Core Team and the Response to Intervention process. The festivities have grown each year, and the State Department of Education has adopted CCSD’s awards process and asked that district employees assist in the state-wide system.
CCSD schools use proactive and proven strategies to create and maintain positive educational environments. Response to Intervention (RTI) is a three-tiered approach to providing high-quality instruction and interventions based on the student’s need. The child’s progress is monitored frequently in case changes need to be made, and data is used to inform important educational decisions. A CORE Team is a group of individuals who work to help students with academic or behavioral challenges. The team meets regularly and uses problem-solving to address concerns of student groups or individual students. Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) is a process for creating safer and more effective schools. It is a systems-based approach that allows schools to educate all children by incorporating research-based discipline and awards systems. The PBIS model aims to prevent inappropriate behavior through teaching and reinforcing appropriate behaviors.
This year, the Office of Student Support Services (OSSS) bestowed 68 awards and recognized schools excelling in at least one of four area: PBIS (school climate), Core Team (RTI), Wellness Initiatives (nursing), and Start-on-Time Tardy Reduction. The 2011 celebration also marked the debut of the annual “OSSS Person of the Year Award,” going this year to Chief Academic Officer Dr. Doug Gepford. View the full list of 2010-2011 award recipients. Next year’s celebration will also include Guidance and Special Education awards.
In addition, 28 lucky guests received door prizes (provided by district partners) this year. These prizes ranged from an Evening Sail on the Spirit of South Carolina to Italian Ice for a class to a luncheon for a school faculty!
Each year, the planning team chooses a theme for the event and the status of student support initiatives across the county. In the first few years, great focus was placed on training school personnel on PBIS. As a result, the theme was "Go and make it so!” Once RTI became part of the celebration, the theme became 'Continuing the work.” Now—because the awards and OSSS embrace the notion that student support must span various focus areas—the theme has become “Supporting the whole child.”
At the celebrations over the past six years,
- 145 certificates, 80 banners, and 68 plaques have been given awarded to schools and individuals.
- Guests have consumed more than 75 cakes (all donated by partners).
- Local businesses have donated 103 prizes with a value of over $5,000—all provided in support of students and high-performing teachers and schools.