School Board honors scholars, questions Common Core standards

Karen Kissiah Staff Writer

September 12, 2013

The Chesterfield County School District received its annual portion, 25 percent, of the profits in pine straw sales from the South Carolina State Forestry Commission this week. This year’s check was written for $482,155.30, which means pine straw is big business in Chesterfield County.

A portion of the profits are given to the school district each year in lieu of property taxes.

Chesterfield County School District Superintendent Harrison Goodwin told members of the board Monday evening the opening of this school year went so smoothly, he was almost afraid to say it out loud. “I dare say this was the smoothest school opening ever,” said Goodwin.

This month’s meeting was held at Cheraw Primary School where several students were honored as Duke Tip Scholars and others for obtaining a PASS Perfect Score on standardized tests.

Three schools in the district, Cheraw Primary, Petersburg Primary, and Pageland Elementary, were recognized by the board for implementing and developing the Fresh Fruit and Vegetables Grant program. The program introduces students to new, and healthy snack choices in hopes they will also make healthier food selections at home.

Chesterfield County School District Chairman James Sweeney asked Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction Dr. Susan Little, what kind of “feedback” she gets from the Common Core Curriculum.

“Columbia tells us we’re on target, ” Little said. “We’re teaching good, higher level thinking skills.”

The Common Core strategy tries to do away with notion of “teaching to a test,” said Goodwin. “Not teaching to a test is a change in the complexion of education. Common Core teaches students how to learn, so they can learn anything they choose.”

Little admitted that “Common Core strategies have come under fire by the Republican party in other states.”

“In other words,” said Chesterfield County School Board member William Watson, “a national test means the Feds can tell us what to teach.”

Well, said Goodwin, “the state signed on with this program and until the state signs off that’s what we’re obligated to do.”

— Staff Writer Karen Kissiah can be reached by calling 843-537-5261, extension 224, or by email at