Superintendent Knocks Down Barriers to Learning for Poor Students
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Superintendent Knocks Down Barriers to Learning for Poor Students

– [Boy] Today’s the
beginning of my destiny. – [Students] Today I begin my destiny. – My future is bright. – [Students] My future is bright. – The world is depending on me. – [Students] The world is depending on me. – [Boy] And I will not let them down. – [Students] And I will not let them down. – [Boy] Today and every day. – [Students] Today and every day. – [Boy] I am a lion king. – [Students] I am a lion king. – [Boy] I am a lion king. – [Students] I am a lion king. – [Boy] I am a lion king. – [Students] I am a lion king. – [Burke] Good morning. – [Travis] My name’s
Travis, welcome to Lakeview. – [Burke] Nice to meet you, Trev. – [John] Hi, my name is
John, welcome to Lakeview. – [Burke] Nice to meet you. Well, I noticed when you came
in and you shook my hand, everybody looked me in the
eye, you told me who you were. You said something else, you
mighta said good morning, or welcome to Lakeview. You made me feel welcome. Well I appreciate what you’re doing. I’m impressed by it. I’m Burke Royster, I’m Superintendent of Greenville County Schools. This is my 37th year in education. Everything we do in our
business is people-centered. (students chattering) Really the roots of OnTrack Greenville go back to a conversation
that I had with the leadership of United Way several years ago. They adopted a philosophy
of cycle of success. And it was trying to
break the cycle of poverty by replacing it with a cycle of success. The highway 25 corridor is a challenge, not just to Greenville County schools. The students that attend
schools in those areas have a lot of barriers to
being successful in school. – I was a kid who did
not like to read at all. So I have joined a Men Who
Read program in fourth grade and it had pushed me a lot,
to do what I’m supposed to do. It pushed me a lot to read
and become a better reader. It expanded my vocabulary
and it got me where I am now. Today is different,
because we never did this barbershop panel before,
so it’s like a lot of kids that is part of the Men Who Read program gets their hair cut today. – [Man] You like to read? – Yes. – You do?
– Yes, sir. – [Man] You expand your vocabulary? That’s gonna help you when you
get ready to take the SAT’s. – [Burke] We’re not necessarily
expert in social services, so it’s a chance for us to
work with those people who are. Those agencies and those
non-profit organizations that can help those
students and their families remove those barriers that are impeding their success in school. – [Man] Whenever you get
into this business here, you’re never gonna be broke. Now, do you have Spanish in you? – [Boy] Uh, yes. – Yeah. – We have the ability to
very early on and quickly identify those students
that are being affected by those barriers. And you see that when you
look at our OnTrack program and you look at that initiative and you look at the early warning system that looks at attendance
and behavior and grades. A team comes together in those schools that have the OnTrack initiative and works to identify
what those barriers are and then quickly referring them to the people sitting around the table that are expert in dealing with them. What’s wrong with the uniform? – Nobody’s different now. – [Burke] Well you can be different, no matter how you’re dressed. I’ve been fortunate in my career. I’ve enjoyed every job I’ve had, and I still, I like
going to work every day, and I hope that we’re able
to prepare our students to have a life like that. – Thank you. – [Men] Yeah! (chuckling) – I’m diggin’ it.

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