Tuesday, September 29, 2015

A Day in the Life of 2015-2016 Richland Two Teacher of the Year Linda Whitcomb Recap

Richland Two 2015-2016 Teacher of the Year Linda Whitcomb loves a challenge. Four years ago and 16 years into her career in education, she was looking for something different. Then she saw a job opening at Muller Road Middle School.

"I had never come close to a paperless, iPad school," she said.

Four years later, Muller students now have Chromebooks and is no longer paperless, and Ms. Whitcomb is still finding new ways to engage her students. She uses Google Classroom to help students manage their assignments.

She begins Thursday, Sept. 3 with morning duty in the school's collaboration space. After the area clears out at the bell, she heads to her classroom to prepare for the day. As Muller Road's Spanish and World Cultures teacher Ms. Whitcomb switches between English, beginner and intermediate Spanish several times during the day.

Intro to Spanish, her first two classes of the day, is comprised of seventh graders. The students file in and begin working on the assignment shown on the tv. After practicing answering questions in Spanish like ¿Como te llames? they make flash cards to help learn simple phrases.

Ms. Whitcomb speaks very little English in her next class Spanish I. These eighth graders take heed to the sign on the door. Hable Inglés Aquí A Su Proprio Riesgo (translation: Speak English here at your own risk).

She spends the brief advisory period helping students get familiar with their Chromebooks and organized. This is also a time to check that students are properly using their agendas.

As she reviews the scores for the first test her sixth grade world cultures class took, she quickly makes some adjustments to her lesson plans. The grades suggest the students didn't grasp the content as well as she would have liked, and she provides more opportunities to improve their grades as well as practice their skills.

Ms. Whitcomb fell in love with Spanish as a student at Spring Valley High School. She quickly discovered she had a knack for it and enjoyed the challenge of reading in a different language. She attended Furman University on a softball scholarship. There, she discovered a love for Spanish literature, including poetry. She lived in Spain for a year as an AuP. When she returned to the U.S., she enrolled at Winthrop University to pursue her Masters of Arts and Teaching degree from Winthrop University. After years of experience coaching softball teams, Ms. Whitcomb had an epiphany.

"I realized coaching is teaching. I'm just managing a classroom and not a team."

Being selected as District Teacher of the Year came as a surprise to Ms. Whitcomb who said she is honored. Twenty years in and she's just as passionate about sharing her love of language with her students.

"What other class is there where the means by which you learn is also the information you're learning?"she asks

Each year she looks forward to giving students their first exposure to a new language. "I love inspiring them, working on the fundamentals and setting the stage for the rest of their Spanish careers in high school."
Below is Ms. Whitcomb's day in photos. Visit our A Day in the Life album on Flickr to see more!

Monday, September 21, 2015

School Day Success Starts the Night Before

Parents, put your students on the path to success during the school day, the night before! #SchoolEveryDay #AttendanceMatters

Friday, September 18, 2015

This week (9/14/15) on Flickr

Click the image to visit the Richland Two photostream on Flickr and see photos from Sodexo donation, Muller Road Middle school students get library cards, A Day in the Life of 2015-2016 R2 Teacher of the Year Linda Whitcomb, Richland Library partnership kickoff, Nerma meeting and more!

This Weekend in Our Community

So much to do, so much to see this weekend in our community. Are you following our Community Events Pinterest board? You should!

Click the image to visit our Community Events board.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Hispanic Heritage Month is September 15 - October 15

National Hispanic Heritage Month, September 15–October 15, honors the culture, traditions and extraordinary contributions of Americans who trace their roots to Spain, Mexico and the Spanish-speaking nations of Central America, South America and the Caribbean.

Hispanics are the largest minority group in the U.S. — 54 million strong today and a projected 128.8 million by 2060 — a figure that would represent nearly 1 in 3 Americans. Over two-thirds of today’s Hispanic Americans are of Mexican background. Puerto Rican, Salvadoran, Cuban and Dominican backgrounds also are well-represented. In Richland Two, 7.9 percent of our more than 27,000 students are Hispanic.

This month, consider taking some time to appreciate the rich heritage, culture and contributions of our Hispanic community.

Source: Read more about Hispanic Heritage Month at Share.America.gov

Ready, Set, Apply!

Throughout September-October, Richland Two high schools will host College Application Day events to assist students with the college application process. The goal of College Application Month is to provide a forum for all South Carolina seniors to complete and file college applications.

Parents make sure your students know the dates of events at their schools:

Richland Northeast - Sept. 29
Blythewood - Oct. 1
Spring Valley - Oct. 1
Ridge View - Oct. 5
Westwood - Oct. 6

The College Application Month Initiative comes at a critical time in our state’s history. Overwhelming evidence reveals that higher levels of education lead to greater prosperity and competitiveness in the knowledge economy. However, South Carolina is well short of the national average and behind the national leaders in the proportion of adults who hold graduate/professional and baccalaureate degrees. College Application Month is designed to expand statewide college access and awareness.

Source: Learn more at SCCANGO.ORG

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Build the Habit of Good Attendance!

Your child’s attendance is critical to his or her success. Good attendance is a habit that children need to learn early. Attendance is related to a child’s ability to be successful in all areas of school: academics, behavioral and social. Any time a child misses a day of school, it is a missed opportunity to learn. Regardless of the reason a child is out of school, they are missing instruction.

Research has shown chronic absenteeism can have a negative impact on a student’s ability to be successful. Chronic absenteeism is defined as missing 10 percent of school days.

Take a few moments to get familiar with Richland Two's Attendance Policy (Política de Asistencia de Distrito Escolar Richland Dos)? Do you know what time your student will be marked tardy? Here's a list of start and stop times for all schools.

Poor attendance can have a serious impact on your child.
  • Students who miss more preschool end the year with lower skills; this relationship is strongest for students with low incoming skills. Read more about this and other tips for preschool parents.
  • Did you know that attending school regularly helps children feel better about school—and themselves? Read more about this and other tips for elementary school parents.
  • By sixth grade, absenteeism is one of the big three signs that student may drop out of high school? Read more about this and other tips for middle school parents.
  • Stay on top of your child’s social contacts. Peer pressure can lead to skipping school, while students without many friends can feel isolated. Read more about this and other tips for high school parents.