CCSD- a Day Late and a Dollar Short

My initial reaction to the newspaper was Why?


"the printing issue is truly the catch 22 of CCSD"

I am going to make an educated guess and say that out of the 700 students and faculty at Magnet, only about 50 people read the first edition of Focus on CCSD. My initial reaction to the newspaper was Why? I was concerned that CCSD was potentially digging us deeper into a hole of debt over a project that was not nearly reaching its potential and therefore not achieving the expected impact. According to The Office of Strategy and Communication, the total cost of the first newspaper was $7000, which incorporated both printing and distribution to each student at CCSD schools. Additionally, there is a future goal to publish a newsletter on a monthly basis. Despite CCSD’s well-meaning intentions for every CCSD family to read the paper, there seems to be both a lack of interest among students and therefore a lack of justification for the exorbitant cost of production.

I am a problem solver and my first proposed solution to accommodate both the newspaper staff of CCSD and the students was an electronic paper like the one at my school. Then I realized that the printed paper gives access to all CCSD residents. After giving the paper a second thought, I decided that it would be wise to actually read it. And to be honest, I truly enjoyed it. In a way, I felt more connected to the Charleston Community and realized how fortunate I am to go to Magnet. Nevertheless, reading the articles also raised some interesting thoughts concerning both the publication of Focus on CCSD and the desperate need for a better education throughout Charleston.

As a student, I feel that I have been deeply affected by the $18 million dollar budget cut which essentially translates to “fewer teachers and larger class sizes” (“Turning the Budget Around”).  One of the methods to decrease costs is to conserve paper, which has resulted in less effective teaching and communication at times. With the initiative to increase graduation rates and test scores, I personally do not understand how cutting teachers is effective. Jones, a graduate of St. Johns, boasts, “when students are struggling, teachers should come to their rescue.” I found this ironic because it is virtually impossible for teachers to meet the needs of all of their students in large class settings. From sheer numbers, it may be difficult to detect struggling individuals.

But the printing issue is truly the catch-22 of CCSD. Teachers cannot print the necessary worksheets and extra materials needed to teach important concepts and lessons, and students are scorned by librarians for trying to print worksheets and essays that teachers assign for homework. CCSD could learn from Drayton Hall Elementary, which was recently recognized as an Apple Distinguished School. Agnew, the principal of Drayton Hall, said, “students use their knowledge and the technology to create comprehensive projects, such as books or presentations.” By switching to iPads, we can cut the cost of paper, textbooks, and provide all students with the exposure to modern technology that is necessary to compete in the real world. Providing this resource will both prepare students for the future and level the educational playing field throughout Charleston County.

 I really like the idea of highlighting, sharing, and celebrating the victories and special stories happening in CCSD schools through a newspaper. However, I’m not sure if printing color copied papers in the midst of the paper crisis is the wisest decision on behalf of CCSD if it comes at the expense of not having a sufficient paper supply for teaching.