Darlington County Teachers ask education leaders tough questions during the annual Teacher Forum

DARLINGTON, SC (WBTW) – The Darlington County School District (DCSD) will hold their annual teacher forum Friday. Award winning teachers from each of the 23 schools in the district developed six topics to education leaders from the District and State level.

For about 20 years, Darlington County administrators have worked to create open lines of communication between teachers and education leaders.

Forums from past years asked questions about budget and increasing parent participation.

This year, teachers plan to ask tough questions about standardized testing and healthy food options for students.

The top question teachers have been asking for the past few years include the nationwide teacher shortage.

Teachers plan to ask the panel of 5 District and State education leaders how they plan to recruit and create incentives to keep teachers in Darlington County.

Audrey Childers, the Darlington County Schools Public Information Officer explained, “It’s a major concern. For our families. For our students and for our teachers. As they start to have to juggle larger classes or perhaps have to share resources.”

The other three topics include technology tools, teacher evaluations and pay.

Teacher pay is a new topic this year.

Jessie Addison, Honor Roll Teacher at St. John’s Elementary will ask, “DCSD teachers used to be among the highest paid in the region. Over time, we have fallen behind our peers in other districts. What, if any, steps are being taken to address this?”

School administrators say pay has not been a top question at previous forums because there are so many other issues.

Many of the teachers in the district say they have a calling to teach and hope to give students a better start at life.

Childers said, “They don’t see it as a paycheck. They see it as, how can I change the world?  More importantly how can I change a child’s life better?”

The forum will begin at noon at the Darlington County Club.

Also during the forum, one local organization will be awarded the Jimmy Newsome award for helping teachers and students during the school year.

News13’s Kiahnna Patterson will attend the education forum. Count on News13 to follow this story.