Superintendent, Florence School District One
Degrees and Certifications:
Randy Bridges, Ed.D.
I hope everyone had an enjoyable and relaxing spring break. We are now in the home stretch headed toward the end of the school year. During this school year we have continued to provide educational opportunities for our students that will prepare them for a successful future. The skill sets they will need are ever-evolving, and as a result we must continue to modify our instructional delivery models to meet their educational needs.
The Board of Education and administration spent a great deal of time this school year discussing a plan to move to a grades 6-8 middle school model. This was not a new discussion, but rather a continuation of the plan established when John W. Moore Middle School was being planned and constructed. The Board is committed to moving to the 6-8 middle schools model at the appropriate time. Three public forums were held to receive feedback from parents and community members on what adjustments had to be made to accomplish this goal. The forums were well attended and the information received will help guide the process moving forward. I recommended to the Board that they not implement the 6-8 middle school model for next school year. I believe the plan is solid, but needs some adjustments based on the feedback we received during the forums. I also recommended we include the high schools in future discussions.
The Board has also been discussing the facility needs of the district for the past several months. Those discussions didn’t receive much attention because of the 6-8 middle school conversations. During the public forums there were a number of people who asked the Board to explore ways to accelerate the school construction/renovation process. The Board has taken steps to do just that. A committee of Board members and administration will be reviewing the facilities assessment plan to determine the specific needs of each school, and the final plan will also address the technology needs in our older facilities. We are hopeful that the committee will have a recommendation for the Board to consider before the end of this school year.
We have a number of new programs in our schools this year, and by all indications they are working well for our students. I am excited that next year, in addition to the IB Programs at Williams and Wilson, we will have more schools of choice in the district. Carver Elementary will become a STEAM Magnet School, Timrod Elementary will be in its second year of using a Year-Round Calendar, and Delmae Elementary will continue its Spanish Language Immersion Program. McLaurin Elementary was approved to implement the Montessori Curriculum for the entire school. The program will be phased in over the next few years. North Vista Elementary was approved to implement the Primary Years International Baccalaureate Program. Next year will be a planning year for North Vista, and the program will also be phased in over several years. McLaurin and North Vista will be school-wide initiatives, not a school within a school model.
Always be mindful of the impact we can have on the lives of our children. Let’s make sure our actions are positive. Always try to model the behavior expected of others.
Thank you for being educational leaders!