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Education

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School district to pilot soft-skills training

By Hannah Strong

In a time where technology and social media tend to undermine face-to-face interactions, Lancaster County educators want to help students develop “soft skills” that haven’t traditionally been taught in the classroom.
The Lancaster County School District will be the first district in the state to use the EmployABILITY Soft Skills program, which trains students in areas like communication, teamwork and interpersonal skills.


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Buford 3rd grade teacher spends summer learning sign language

By Hannah Strong

To bridge the gap between the hearing and deaf communities, Buford Elementary School third-grade teacher Mary Anna Wilkes is spending her summer learning American Sign Language.


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Resource aims to increase literacy rate

Little Free Library comes to town

By Hannah Strong

The Little Free Library initiative has made its way to Lancaster County with hopes to increase literacy. 


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Watts to lead A.R. Rucker

By Hannah Strong

On Tuesday, the Lancaster County School District Board named Anita Watts as new principal of A.R. Rucker Middle School.
Since last fall, Kathy Richardson served as interim principal after former principal Phillip Mickles took another position in the school district.
After interviewing three candidates, superintendent Dr. Gene Moore recommended Watts for the job, which was unanimously approved (7-0) by the board, said school district spokesman David Knight.
Watts has nearly 23 years of experience in education, including 13 years at A.R. Rucker Middle.


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khagwood@thelancasternews.com

Co-workers remember Fields as caring teacher

By Kayland Hagwood

When Crystal Robinson Fields died Wednesday, the state lost the “most extraordinary advocate for the rights of ESOL children,” according to a former co-worker.

Fields, 48, of Lancaster died unexpectedly Wednesday at Trident Medical Center in North Charleston. 


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Applause rains down on adult-ed graduates

‘I can’t even put this into words’

By Mandy Catoe

Twenty-two adult-education students wearing different colored caps and gowns graduated Wednesday night at Lancaster High School.
They represented 22 different ways to get to their destination.
Holding up a cell phone during his speech, keynote speaker Rev. AnThony Pelham told the graduates, “Without an address, GPS is no good.”
These adult graduates definitely had this destination dialed in, and it led them through life’s backroads and detours. For some, the journey took a few months. For others, a few years.


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Online registration also starts this fall

Board OKs 10-point grading for all schools

By Mandy Catoe

The 10-point grading scale, mandated by the state last month for high schools, will take effect for all Lancaster County public schools beginning with the 2016-17 school year, the Lancaster County school board announced Tuesday night.
“We would like to have the consistency across the board in the grading system,” Lancaster school Superintendent Gene Moore said.
When school starts in August, the current 7-point scale will stop and the 10-point will begin. Parents will receive written notice with final report cards this semester.


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Transgender issues handled case-by-case, she says

Spearman: Federal directive won’t change much in S.C.

By Mandy Catoe

Little is expected to change in S.C. public schools in response to the recent directive from the Obama administration on the civil rights of transgender students, according to state Education Superintendent Molly Spearman.
The federal directive, in the form of a May 13 letter from the Justice and Education departments, told public schools to allow transgender students to use the bathroom of their choice. The Obama administration said the letter was in response to school leaders seeking direction on the matter.


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Schools honor top students and educators

By Mandy Catoe

Lancaster County School District honored its finest students and educators during the 19th-annual Celebration of Excellence banquets held this week at the Second Baptist Church Family Ministry Center.
“I really enjoy joining you in celebrating great things these students do in classrooms across our district. These students truly represent excellence in academics,”  said Dr. Gene Moore, district superintendent.


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Board reviews $98M proposal

Budget plan gives teachers 2% raise

By Mandy Catoe

Lancaster County teachers would get 2 percent raises for the 2016-17 school year – their first since 2013 – under the school district’s proposed budget.
The Lancaster County school board met and reviewed the proposed $97.9 million budget May 2, said Tony Walker, the district’s chief financial officer. The school budget is based on the state’s projected budget, which won’t be complete until the end of June. State law requires the schools’ budget to be final by July 1.


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