Charleston County school officials grilled more on principal moves, teacher evaluations

posted by Caroline Balchunas - 

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) — Charleston County School District officials got an earful from parents and activists on Monday night.

Many are still looking for answers after several principals were relocated to other schools, or resigned.

Monday’s meeting was more than three hours long, and demonstrators were venting their frustrations outside the board meeting well before the commentary got heated up inside.

The list of issues brought up was as long as the line of teachers, educators and activists to listen to and take part in the public comment period.

“One of the most important aspects of education are our principals and teachers,” said Louis Smith, longtime educator and executive director of the Community Resource Center. “When you lose sight of those, when you lose sight of those, when you lose that, there's major issues that develop."

"Don't think for one minute that what you do in the dark will not come out in the light,” one parent at West Ashley High School said to board members.

At the core of issues was the district’s alleged use of MAP testing scores in teacher and principal evaluations.

"It's May 22nd, and teachers in this district are going to hear for the first time what they evaluation system is in this district,” said Patrick Hayes, director of EdFirstSC. “We've had no communication."

Superintendent Dr. Gerrita Postlewait outlined the evaluation methodology and pointed out pros, cons, and areas needing more attention. Despite the effort, many teachers said they’ve been left in the dark.

"They actually need to be consulting teachers,” said teacher Lisa Trott. “That should be the normal thing when decisions are being made, teachers are at that table."

Board Chair Kate Darby apologized for any miscommunication.

"I don't think anyone on the board, the superintendent nor the staff, we aren't perfect and we will take responsibility,” Darby said.

While no decisions were made, many board members said they're thankful for the input and candor from those who spoke at the podium.

"I think taken from this there needs to be some changes, there needs to be a third party evaluation of our system to see where our employees are disgruntled,” said CCSD board member Kevin Hollinshead.

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