Healthier meals, wellness opportunities in schools


District 56 schools are leaders in student health


Healthy food and nutrition, as measured by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and healthy activity, as measured by physical education teachers, are putting District 56 schools on the map in terms of making students healthier.

Much emphasis is being placed on fighting childhood obesity, as the epidemic of child sitting inside on video games continues in the United States. Schools are at that fight’s forefront. All District 56 schools have demonstrated healthy food alternatives for students and, thus, have been awarded the USDA Healthier USA awards.

No high school in South Carolina received the highest, gold designation - except Clinton High School.

MS Bailey Child Development Center also is a gold recipient.

District 56 is one of eight districts in South Carolina with all its schools qualifying for this award. The designation honors schools for health and wellness promotion.

The schools will receive a banner and money from the United States Department of Agriculture.

“If you want to see students’ health, come to District 56,” Superintendent Dr. David O’Shields said.

O’Shields also was able at the Oct. 22 school board meeting to present Fitness Gram State Awards to five schools. This competition measures students meeting performance benchmarks in physical education. District 56 elementary schools, and Clinton Middle and High Schools qualified as the benchmarks are for students in grades two and five, and in middle and high school.

The Cooper Institute announced these awards, O’Shields said. District 56 Assistant Superintendent for Instruction Brenda Schrantz was mentioned by name by the institute for her encouragement of student wellness, O’Shields said.

The Board of Trustees also was asked to mark on its calendar Nov. 15. That’s the day, for the first time in three years, the State Department of Education will release schools’ and districts’ report cards.

Transitioning away from No Child Left Behind, the federal Department of Education revamped its students’ assessment criteria. To prepare for new assessments, states were given three “pause years” on releasing report cards. These are always controversial because parents and shareholders resent their districts being classified as “F” for failure.

On the converse, the “A” districts always seem to be the ones that have the most money, which really is no surprise. 

Districts have been given preliminary access to the data - with no scores shown - to point out any errors or concerns.  The reports cards are based on 10 “indicators” and districts and schools will earn points totaling to 100. 

The challenge for districts, the board was told, was how to make parents and stakeholders understand “how schools earn their points.”

At the high school level, graduation rate is one “indicator.” CHS Principal Maureen Tiller said Clinton High’s on-time graduation rate is 80%.

For 2017, 85.6% of graduates are attending a 2- or 4-year college, compared to 68.9% in 2014. What’s more, for 2017 graduates, 91% of the courses they have taken have been passed and credit awarded.

Tiller said the second statistic is important as an indicator that Clinton High School is preparing students for college work, and money is not being wasted by families on courses that their children won’t or can’t pass in college.

In workforce development, 85.3% of students earned the certification they were working on in the Ready To Work curriculum. That places Clinton High School above the state average in having students qualify for certificates that industry leaders say they want for their future employees.






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