BLAIR – Fairfield School District Superintendent Dr. J.R. Green held the district’s quarterly town hall meeting last week at McCrorey Liston Elementary School. Green responded to several questions from the community regarding decisions made by the school board.
One of the districts initiatives of late has revolved around after school programs. For students in the Winnsboro area, those will likely prove popular among both students and parents. In the outlying communities, however, there is some concern regarding transportation.
Green was asked if there was any plan in place to assist in getting students home after the programs. He said that it was something that needed to be evaluated and added that after school programs should be considered for placement in the outlying communities as well.
Two programs which have been well-received by students are the Bow Tie Club and the Elite Ladies is the Bow Tie Club and the Elite Ladies. These character building programs have resulted in young men and women who cultivate interpersonal and leadership skills.
While the programs have proven successful, Green said that he would like to see more participation from the community.
“When we start talking about going from ordinary to extraordinary and excellence through teamwork, it takes the collective efforts of us all,” he said.
The topic dominating discussion throughout most of the meeting though was field trips, and specifically those that go out of state.
One attendee pointed out these trips, of which there are four this school year, posed a drain to the district’s budget that could be better used for the purchase of books or in hiring additional teachers.
Green said that the funding for those trips were generated through fundraisers rather than being covered in the budget.
A question was also raised about which students were permitted to go on these trips.
Green said that teachers and principals set the requirements. When it was brought up that the students going should not be rewarded for mediocrity or poverty, Green took exception.
“It appears as if because we are a district of high poverty, our students don’t deserve those same kinds of experiences,” he said. “I have worked in districts where students go all over the country. Our kids are going to Orlando to perform with the chorus, and New York to take drama to Broadway and I absolutely 100 percent support them on those efforts.”
One comment in response to Green’s stance was that focus should be placed on high grades, providing food, clothes, and not rewarding students with trips because they live in an impoverished area.
Green disagreed with the sentiment. He pointed out that “there are some students who will be average, there are some students who will work to their maximum capacity and be average students.”
“I would find it to be educational malpractice quite honestly if the only people who got to experience these kinds of cultural things are people who are above average academically,” he said.
Of the four trips planned to go out of state, two are planned for the chorus to perform in concerts which are considered an honor in which to be accepted, one is for a drama group to perform on Broadway, and one is for the Star Academy which consists of students working to make up as much as six months of additional school work over the course of a normal school year.
Reach James Inabinet at 803-635-4016.