Teach My People has been awarded two grants from the Waccamaw Community Foundation Education Fund.
The first grant is for teacher resources and will allow us to purchase seven scholastic leveled reader sets plus math manipulatives.
The second grant is a technology grant and will allow us to purchase a complete computer lab with six new computers. This lab and computers are specifically designed for our teachers and volunteers to tutor TMP students. In addition, the computer lab will give students access to do school projects and school research papers.
The total for the two grants awarded was $10,924.97. This grant is huge for TMP. Every financial gift that comes into Teach My People goes directly towards general operations which leaves very little for projects such as these. This grant allows us to increase the quality of what we do and impacts the students we serve.
Thank you to the Waccamaw Community Foundation for awarding us this grant. We appreciate everything you do for our local community and everything you do for Teach My People.
Teach My People
Re: Sales Tax Referendum
I would like to thank those Council Members who voted on Tuesday night [July 10] to allow the proposed sales tax referendum process to continue and to thank them for trusting the voters of Georgetown County to decide the issue.
A number of people were vocally against allowing the referendum process to proceed further and against placing the referendum on our November ballot. Frankly I was amazed at some of the comments. In particular, someone suggested that the county's citizenry should not have the opportunity to vote on the sales tax issue because … “many don't understand the big picture and might make the wrong decision.” I hope that is not what passes for democracy in Georgetown County.
Certainly those who oppose the various projects, or who oppose the sales tax in general have the right to be heard.... and to vote NO when the time comes. But in my view at least, they do not have the right and nor should they have the power to prevent the rest of Georgetown County's voters from even seeing the referendum measure on the ballot.
Many thanks to the five Council members who showed their respect for the county’s voters by moving the referendum process along with their affirming votes. Especially, I want to thank Council Member Oakley from the Waccamaw Neck for helping keep the democratic process alive in Georgetown County.
Who owns Dara?
I know she is property under the law, like cars, etc. Can a child own a car? Can a child own a dog? Does the child provide food and shelter for the dog? Does the child take the dog to the vet and make sure it is vaccinated and make life and death decisions for the dog? Does the child pay the vet? Does the child provide a fenced-in yard and ensure the dog is safe from traffic and evil predators? Does the child have any control over who is allowed in the home to visit or even live? If the dog gets loose and injures or kills another dog or even a person, is the child held legally responsible and forced to pay a huge judgment or go to prison?
The dog is not a bicycle that the child can abuse, sell or lose without repercussions.
When I was a boy I had my own room in the house. It was “my” room. Yet, when I turned eighteen and tried to sell it to get the equity out of it, I quickly found it was not really mine.
I am sure the accused abuser/killer will express sorrow for his actions and promise to never, ever, do it again. I am sure the real owner of the dog will express regret for using bad judgment in allowing this to happen, despite what she knew or should have known. I only pray that the judge that hears this case will not fall for these regrets and promises and allow the situation to return to square one.
Bennani not seeking re-election
I will not seek re-election to Georgetown County School Board District 6. It has been a privilege and honor to serve the Pawleys Island community and the citizens of Georgetown County.
We have much to be thankful for in Georgetown County Schools. Every day many caring and well-trained men and women teach, encourage and help grow our children to be the best they can be. While much of our time as board members has been spent wrestling with budget challenges, we have been successful in maintaining gains and working together to seek new initiatives to improve the quality of education in our county.
The Georgetown County School District and board, have wrestled with difficult issues — such as how to more effectively engage students; possible consolidation of expensive rural schools; seeking unitary status from Justice Department; ways to improve graduation rates; professional development in a collaborative community environment; building and mentoring strong school leadership; the support and retention of effective teachers; mentoring programs for at-risk students; and ways to improve the quality of early learning in Georgetown County; growing curriculum and offerings to help improve college readiness of our graduates — the list can go on and on.
Unfortunately, public education in South Carolina is already underfunded in a political environment that continues to seek deeper cuts in public education funding. Budget issues will continue to be a challenge going forward.
Four years ago when I ran for office, I thought one of the greatest challenges faced by public schools was unfunded mandates. I now know in addition to unfunded mandates, we also have numerous funded mandates that most will agree are outdated or ineffective systems that do very little to improve the quality of education.
Education funding is a very complicated funding and budgetary process. Much work needs to be done to simplify the funding and budget process and give local boards flexibility with their funding. This will require candor, hard work and difficult decisions on the part of elected officials and those serving within systems to effectuate the change necessary for the most effective and practical allocation of resources.
I as many believe the early years of a child's life are critical to the success and well-being of the child. Many of the decisions affecting public education are not made at the local level. We can no longer afford to spend billions in supplemental education funding while underfunding early learning. Public schools face many challenges and the support and concern of its community is a necessity.
Near and dear to my heart is early learning. Public schools in South Carolina serve K-12. Any pre-K offerings are tied to special forms of funding such as Title I funds or special education funds. During the past four years, I have raised the question: How do we (the people of Georgetown County and Georgetown County School District) improve the quality and quantity of offerings for our youngest citizens?
Neuroscience tells us that 90% of a child's brain is developed by age 4. In general, we as a community and society spend very little on the little people in our midst. Yet those that are financially able provide for and nurture a quality pre-K experience for their children to help provide a strong foundation to build on. Our health is often found in the health of our community.
We live in a beautiful area, with much to be thankful for. Yet this past week, we pick up our local paper and read an article about the "Lost Generation." We also see that many of our citizens rather than being concerned about the young people in their community are fearful of them.
This week, I had the joy of participating in the initial meeting of the Georgetown County Early Learning Council. There was an excellent and diverse representation of the various groups that advocate for and provide quality early learning opportunities in Georgetown County. I am thankful for the leadership and participation of so many people representing the various groups that are already promoting the health and well being of our youngest citizens (0-5). With God's help, I believe this group can make a difference in Georgetown County.
For many children in our county, the time they spend in public school is one of the few places they receive care or nurturing. Somehow we as a community need to wake up to the reality that we cannot just care for our own health and well-being without care for the health and well-being of others in our community with special care for our children. We truly reap what we sow. If we sow well into the lives of little people, they will grow to be all that they can be. I am thankful for so many people that are serving and caring for one another and the little people of Georgetown County. I hope to continue to be an advocate for our children and for quality education.
Thank you for the opportunity to serve.
Georgetown County School Board Member
Mojo grieves at the violence against
dogs and humans
Mojo and I have been on the commentary sideline as the tragedy of the drowning deaths of two dogs — a Lab and a Boykin Spaniel — and the injury of a third unfolded. It was just too close. It hurts us to think that anyone would do that in such a cold, calculating way. While we are glad that the guilty person has been found, Mojo wanted me to remind his readers that just because the perpetrator has been apprehended and will have the proverbial book thrown at him in a court of law, does not mean that we have done anything about violence. In fact, Mojo, said, from his years of observing humankind, we face the prospect of lulling ourselves into a false sense of security if we think we have done something about violence when we apprehend and punish one person. While that certainly takes that one person out of circulation, Mojo reminded me that as a species, humans are very violent and constantly need to be on guard.
Mojo related conversations that he has had with Anna, my daughter, the mother of the wonderful Ella and the just born Maggie — ok, ok Mojo. He is pawing me to get my attention. You are right. This letter isn't about family matters. I'll get back on topic. Anna was an Asst. D. A. (Solicitor in SC) in suburban Atlanta. Her responsibility was crimes against children. In her last trial, the victim she represented on behalf of the state was a two-year-old girl who was beaten to death. Anna often reflected that in the vast majority of the cases she dealt with, some adult knew what was going on and failed to report the abuse. Perhaps our canine friends have laid a challenge on us. Regardless of whether it is an animal or a person, if we suspect abuse, we need to report it.
Perhaps this is also a challenge to get behind the Family Justice Center's efforts to provide a safe house for abused spouses (usually women) in Georgetown County. Mojo's sources tell him that there will be plenty of opportunity to help as a home is renovated and staffed. Until recently, South Carolina had the dubious distinction of being number one in the country in numbers of abused spouses murdered. We are now six or seven.
It’s ironic that as Mojo and I are writing this we are overwhelmed by the news coverage of the massacre in Colorado. My hunch is that the young man who did the killing and wounding was giving off signals long before the terrible tragedy.
The Rev. Dr. Jim Watkins and Mojo
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