"GP2W" stands for Great Place To Work. The four characters serve as a reminder in communication among our staff of the culture of our district. Each week through the school year, our website will feature an article on one of our schools, departments, or people explaining how they make SDPC a Great Place To Work!
by Gary Mohr, Principal
Babe Ruth once said, "The way a team plays as a whole determines its success. You may have the greatest bunch of individual stars in the world, but if they don't play together, the club won't be worth a dime." At McKissick, we truly have individual stars, but better yet we have a team. Our team strives every day to reach and teach the whole child. Whether it is academics, character education, or technology, McKissick's team goal is to be sure each student is healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged.
Team McKissick is proud to have Jared Roper as our 2014-2015 Teacher of the Year. Mr. Roper was also named as a finalist for the SDPC District Teacher of the Year. Due to his musical ability, talented teaching, and positive attitude, Mr. Roper is an All-Star! Mr. Roper serves in a dual role at McKissick. He is not only the music teacher, but serves as the Gifted and Talented teacher as well. He has the ability to play thirteen musical instruments and is the Director of the YAMS program at Liberty Elementary School. Under his guidance, his Gifted and Talented students run our live morning news program, The Knightly Morning News. Even with all of these talents, Mr. Roper is most recognized and appreciated for how he interacts with staff and students alike.
Another All-Star player on Team McKissick is Ken Larson, our head custodian. Mr. Larson is our 2014-2015 Support Employee of the Year. His work ethic and attention to detail, makes him irreplaceable and McKissick spotless. He realizes that while keeping McKissick looking its best, he is ultimately a team player who does whatever is necessary to help the teachers because this helps our students. A fellow staff member recently wrote this about Mr. Larson, "He always is on the go and does not sit idle. He is one of the hardest working people in our school. He goes about his work with a positive attitude and a spirit of helpfulness without fail. He truly is an all-star superhero!"
One of the ways we are helping our students become All-Stars is our Character Education program which teaches Lifelong Guidelines and Lifeskills. This is one part of the Highly Effective Teaching Model (HET) created by Susan Kovalik. The Lifelong Guidelines and Lifeskills establish a classroom culture that allows all students to succeed. This culture creates individuals who will be successful academically, as well as in the game of life.
Like all teams, McKissick experiences struggles, but these struggles make the triumphs sweeter. For example, we recently celebrated a victory by holding our first ever, PASS Blast. Over fifty students scored "exemplary" in one or more areas on the SC PASS test last Spring. To reward these students, the Easley Fire Department came and allowed our students to have an afternoon of water fun. Our students were truly rewarded for the Lifeskills of Effort and Perseverance. The smiles and laughter that were experienced made this event the sweetest victory ever!
Just as a team needs the right equipment to win, our team is experiencing a great victory with the number of iPads that have been provided to each classroom. These iPads are being used in daily instruction in all academic areas. Our teachers have committed to year-long staff development to learn a variety of ways the iPads can be used with our students and curriculum. Whether it is research, writing a book, or practicing math facts, iPads are in use from kindergarten through fifth grade.
We have "sold out crowds" when it is time for our Family Nights in the Fall and Spring. Last Fall, we held "Pirate Night," where several hundred people entered our doors. The faculty and staff were dressed as pirates and all the literacy activities that parents and students could participate in surrounded this theme. A meal was provided by Long John Silver's to complement our Pirate theme. When students left for the evening, they were presented with a "treasure bag full of literacy."
To become an all-star player, you must have the correct training. Each year we provide parent workshops on a variety of topics. This year in order to meet our parents' needs we are providing workshops during the school day as well as in the evening. In the past, the workshops have focused on how to help parents better understand their children's personalities. This year, our workshops are about developing healthy parent-child relationships.
When McKissick Elementary opened in 1975, it was the backbone of the community. Today, many of our students have parents that attended McKissick years ago. These parents stay or return to us because they know the faculty and staff are a team that will do everything they can to help their child to be successful; not just academically, but socially and emotionally as well. Over the past 39 years, there have been renovations and additions to the building, students have come and gone, and the curriculum continues to change. Despite all the time that has passed and all the changes that McKissick has faced, one thing has remained constant: the McKissick faculty and staff are a team, a team that is a family and is committed to loving each and every student.
Our school slogan is, "We are respectful, responsible, and ready. We are McKissick." These words are few but deep in meaning. We are respectful of our past, what it means, and how it has made us who we are today. We are responsible for educating the whole child today, tomorrow, and in the future. We are ready for the victories ahead. Helen Keller said it best: "Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much." Together, Team McKissick will experience many victories because, "where there is unity, there is always victory."