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Student success requires the commitment and involvement of parents and families. Numerous research studies have shown that parent and family involvement increases student achievement and success. Having made a strong commitment to expand and improve the opportunities for parent and family involvement in the schools, the School District of Pickens County Board of Trustees and Administration encourage you to become involved in your child’s classroom and school.
The School Improvement Council (SIC) serves as an advisory committee to a school’s principal and faculty. State law mandates councils to exist in every public school in South Carolina. School Improvement Councils play a key role in the education of our state’s children, bringing together parents, educators, and community stakeholders to collaborate on the improvement of their local schools.
The key functions of School Improvement Councils are as follows:
- Work with the school to develop and implement a five-year school improvement (school renewal) plan.
- Monitor and evaluate success in reaching the plan’s goals and objectives.
- Write an annual report to parents about the progress of the plan.
- Assist the principal in writing the narrative for the School Report Card.
- Advise on the use of school incentive awards and provide assistance as requested by the principal.
Almost anyone is eligible to serve on the School Improvement Council—parents, teachers, business partners, community leaders and students in grade nine and above. The average council has about twelve members; two-thirds of the members must be elected parents, students, and teachers. The principal appoints the remaining third of the council. Elected members serve a two-year term.
To find out the members of your school’s SIC, log on to www.sic.sc.gov and click on "SC-SIC Membership Network."
We support and encourage volunteers in our schools. Volunteers work in cooperation with schools to help meet the needs of the children and the school staff and to represent the community in fulfilling its responsibility to the schools beyond merely tax support. By supplementing and complementing the work of the classroom teacher, volunteers make a difference to many people—the child, the family, the teacher, and the entire community. Volunteers give students a chance to see parents and other interested citizens involved in school activities in a helping relationship.
Each volunteer who will have direct contact with students must complete an online School District of Pickens County Volunteer Application through KeepnTrack and receive annual training from a district school. Annual training will address bloodborne pathogens, sexual harassment, and volunteer procedures at a local school.
Volunteers are required to renew their eligibility yearly by updating their SDPC Volunteer Application through KeepnTrack. In addition, they will be given information on bloodborne pathogens and sexual harassment.
Individuals who volunteer as test monitors only are required to complete a SDPC Volunteer Application but are not required to attend a training session.
Training information is available from your school’s volunteer coordinator. Also, a cumulative training schedule is available on the district website. It is important that parents receive training early in the year while there are numerous sessions available to accommodate busy schedules.
SDPC checks all visitors and volunteers through the National Sex Offenders’ Registry. We also require a background check through the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) for all persons who chaperone students on field trips and those who escort or supervise students without a district employee present. The chaperone/volunteer will be required to pay $26 for his/her check. Checks should be made payable to the school. Volunteers who need background checks should arrange to have them completed early in the year. Background checks must be requested and paid for two weeks before the date of any field trip. SDPC does not provide copies of background checks; they are retained for office use only.
Parents want the best for their children. The School District of Pickens County wants the same. If parents have concerns, suggestions, or complaints, we encourage them to contact us.
Parents should always seek to resolve school-related complaints at the individual school. The first contact should be made with the teacher. If the issue is not resolved, contact the principal next. If the issue remains unresolved, parents may contact the Central Services office at 397-1000.
Parents are encouraged to meet regularly with teachers and support staff. Teachers have greater success with their students when parents are actively involved with them and when parents are supportive of the teachers’ efforts. A parent-teacher conference is an opportunity for a child’s parent/guardian and teacher to discuss how the child can achieve the best possible education.
Parents who wish to talk with the teacher are asked to schedule a conference. Because teachers have duties before and after school, conferences must be arranged in advance.
Each teacher in the district may be contacted through his/her school’s phone number, which is listed in the back of this handbook. Since instructional time cannot be interrupted, parents who wish to speak with a teacher should leave a message. The teacher will return the parent’s call in a timely manner.
All numbers begin with the 397 prefix. Each employee with a classroom or desk phone has a unique number. Callers can reach those teachers or staff members without going through the school’s main number.
Classroom phones will not ring during instructional time but will instead go immediately to voice mail. Outside of the established instructional times, phones will ring in the classrooms.
All teachers in the district are provided email for school-related matters. Teachers will provide their email addresses to parents at the beginning of the year. Email addresses are also posted on school websites. If you would like to contact a teacher by email but cannot locate the address, call the school or the teacher.
Each SDPC instructional staff member is required to maintain online grades, which parents can view in Schoology. Teachers need at least five to seven school days following an assessment to enter grades. Assessing projects will take longer. Schoology allows students and parents/guardians to check attendances, assignments and grades as well as see messages that have been sent from the school and district. If you need your login information, please contact your child’s school.
Parent Involvement in Education – Policy KAA
The board believes that parent and family involvement must be pursued and supported by homes, schools/colleges/universities, communities, businesses, faith congregations, organizations and government entities by working together in an collaborative effort.
The board believes it can impact student achievement by improving the quality and quantity of parent/family involvement in the education of their children.
Therefore, the board commits to the following.
- Seeing that each school establishes a comprehensive parent involvement program that includes parent education programs and activities that will assist parents and families in supporting classroom learning.
- Providing support and coordination for staff and parents and families to make family involvement in education a priority.
- Establishing effective, two-way communication between all parents and families and schools that respects the diversity and differing needs of families and encourages the development of mutual support between home and school.
- Seeing that each school develops effective school planning/management teams that involve a broad spectrum of families, staff and community representatives in school governance and decision-making at the local and statewide level.
- Recognizing that improved student achievement must be an equally shared responsibility and ultimate goal of parents and families, teachers, the school system as a whole and the community at large.
Parent Involvement (2000 Parent Involvement in Their Children’s Education Act)
Responsibilities of board
In order to heighten awareness of the importance of parent and family involvement in the education of their children throughout their schooling, encourage the establishment and maintenance of parent-friendly school settings, and emphasize parent/school partnerships to assure a child’s academic success, the board will do the following.
- Consider joining national organizations that promote and provide technical assistance on various proven parental involvement frameworks and models.
- Incorporate, where possible, proven parental involvement practices into existing policies and efforts.
- Provide incentives and formal recognition for schools that significantly increase parental involvement as defined by the state board of education.
- Require an annual report on school and district parental involvement programs including evaluations of the success of the programs.
- Include parental involvement expectations as part of the superintendent’s evaluation.
Responsibilities of superintendent
The superintendent will do the following.
- Include parental involvement expectations, as part of each principal’s evaluation.
- Include information about parental involvement opportunities and participation in the district’s annual report.
- Disseminate parental expectations as defined by law to all parents of the district.
Parent involvement (No Child Left Behind Act of 2001)
The board also recognizes the special importance of parental involvement to the success of its Title I, Migrant (MEP), and Limited English Proficiency (LEP) programs. Pursuant to federal law, the district and parents will jointly develop and agree upon a written parental involvement policy that will be distributed to parents participating in any of these programs.
In keeping with these beliefs, it is the intention of the district to cultivate and support active parental involvement and to set and realize goals for parent-supported student learning. The district will do the following.
- Provide activities that will educate parents regarding the intellectual and developmental needs of their children at all age levels. This will include promoting cooperation between the district and other agencies or school/community groups (such as parent-teacher groups, Head Start, First Steps, etc.) to furnish learning opportunities and disseminate information regarding parenting skills and child/adolescent development.
- Implement strategies to involve parents in the educational process, including the following.
- keeping families informed of opportunities for involvement and encouraging participation in various programs
- providing access to educational resources for parents/families to use together with their children
- keeping families informed of the objectives of district educational programs as well as of their child’s participation and progress within these programs.
- Enable families to participate in the education of their children through a variety of roles. For example, family members should be given opportunities to do the following.
- Provide input into district policies.
- Volunteer time within the classrooms and school programs.
- Provide professional development opportunities for teachers and staff to enhance their understanding of effective parent involvement strategies.
- Perform regular evaluations of parent involvement at each school and at the district level.
- Provide access, upon request, to any instructional material used as part of the educational curriculum.
- If practicable, provide information in a language understandable to parents.
Title I parent involvement
The board recognizes that parent involvement is vital to achieve maximum educational growth for students participating in the district’s Title I program. Therefore, in compliance with federal law and state department of education guidelines, the district will meet with parents to provide information regarding their school’s participation in the Title I program and its requirements.
The superintendent will ensure equivalence among schools in teachers, administration and other staff and in the provisions of curriculum materials and instructional supplies.
The board directs the superintendent to ensure that each of the district’s schools participating in the Title I program meet annually. Parents of participating students will be informed of their right to be involved in the development of the district’s parental involvement policy, overall Title I plan and school-parent compact.
The district will, to the extent practicable, provide full opportunities for the participation of parents with limited English proficiency, parents with disabilities, parents of homeless students and parents of migratory students. In cooperation with parents, the district’s policy, plan and compact will be reviewed annually and updated periodically to meet the changing needs of parents and the school and distributed to parents of participating students in an understandable and uniform format and, to the extent practicable, in a language the parents can understand.
The superintendent will develop administrative regulations, as necessary, to implement this policy and meet the requirements of law.
Migrant Education Program (MEP) parent involvement
Parents of students in the MEP will be involved in and regularly consulted about the development, implementation, operation and evaluation of the program.
Parents of MEP students will receive instruction regarding their role in improving the academic achievement of their children.
Limited English Proficient (LEP) parent involvement
Pursuant to federal law, parents of LEP students will be provided notification regarding their child’s placement in and information about the district’s LEP program. Parents will be notified of their rights regarding program content and participation.