After continued criticism, Charleston County Schools Superintendent Gerrita Postlewait took time during her end-of-the-year message to accept blame for recent complaints with the district. But although Postlewait says that there will be more public involvement in crafting district policies moving forward, she made it clear that student test scores would remain a key component in evaluating educators.
Postlewait’s address comes after months of protests and heated School Board meetings, during which parents and teachers decried the use of student-growth scores in the evaluations of teacher performance, as well as the relocation of principals to new schools.
“Throughout the past couple of months, one thing has become painfully clear to me: I have failed to adequately invite and involve your voices and viewpoints. The January strategic planning symposium at Burke High School was a highly successful celebration with a large crowd of educators and community members who began to coalesce around a collective vision and the rudiments of a new plan,” Postlewait states, echoing the sentiments she expressed during a recent School Board meeting where she attributed the frustration among educators to a miscommunication between her and her staff. “But following that event, instead of taking our time, we moved forward too quickly. I attempted to implement too many initiatives too rapidly without taking the adequate time to involve students, educators, parents, and community members.”
Vowing to change her approach immediately, Postlewait says the district will hold a series of listening sessions over the next six weeks to receive input from teachers, parents, and principals. Following these meetings, Postlewait says she will then present a new strategic plan to the board in July.
“Starting today, I promise that our communications will become clear and more transparent. And yes, that will include the use of student-growth measures as an important aspect of evaluating our effectiveness,” she says. “I encourage all of you to be involved over the next six weeks to help guide us as we build a new strategic plan to ensure a better future for our students.”