On the front lines

Clerical staff training identifies areas for improvement

Staff from four Hartsville elementary schools piloting the Comer School Development Process learn about the pathways

Staff from four Hartsville elementary schools piloting the Comer School Development Process learn about the pathways

The first face that any parent, student or community member meet upon entering a school is in the main office. Recently, Tara King, Comer facilitator for the Darlington County School District, held a training session to teach clerical and office staff members how they connect to the Comer Developmental Pathways. Data entry managers, bookkeepers and secretaries from Southside Early Childhood Center, Thornwell School for the Arts, West Hartsville Elementary and Washington Street Elementary were able to evaluate their personal pathways and work on those needing improvement.

Pam Grantham, secretary at Thornwell School for the Arts, she learned to be a better listener and be more observant in the office for the students, parents and other stuff members of the school. “My role at the school is to offer direction,” she says. “ I truly do serve as the first person they meet or the first contact.”

The training focused on the many ways the office staff is the face and voice of the school. The session reviewed the basics of communication and how to build a community within and among the schools.

Nancy Blackwell, student data manager at Southside Early Childhood Center, understands what she needs to do. “My role at the school is to meet and greet parents, students and other staff as they come into the main office. I talk with them and share information they request. I believe I serve as a representative of the school as well.”

The training also gave the staff a chance to understand how the developmental pathways of the Comer program help them do their jobs, and how to help others. “I learned how to be aware of the developmental pathways and the importance of them. I noticed during the training that everything went together,” Blackwell added.

Alice Funderburke, secretary/bookkeeper at West Hartsville Elementary and Thelma Brewer, student data manager at Washington Street Elementary shared similar experiences during the training. Brewer believes she needs to be a better listener, and both see how they serve as the connection between the school and the parents.

All the participants work at different schools, but each understood what others are going through in their respective jobs. “The opportunity to get together with my fellow staff members was amazing. I really did like the training,” Grantham said.

For more information on the clerical and office staff training session, please contact Tara King at Washington Street Elementary.

(Story submitted by Gabriel Fonseca)