"This day has been given to me fresh and clear. I can either use it or throw it away. I promise to use this day to the fullest, realizing it can never come back again. I realize this is my life to use or to abuse."
Students at Lake Marion High School begin each day with this pledge implemented by new Principal Kelvin Lemon. Lemon says he believes he’s responsible for turning students into “lifelong learners equipped with skills to succeed in life.”
He says students must also take on responsibility for their lives and education if they’re going to be successful.
“The student pledge is taken from the inspirational and affirming words of long-time Chicago educator Marva Collins,” Lemon said. “It’s a self-proclamation that we are responsible how we use each day and a reminder that we should use each day to the fullest.”
He said his goal is to increase student performance and graduation rates at Lake Marion by providing leadership that fosters an atmosphere conducive to learning.
Student services will be enhanced through the use of data, careful planning, assessment and re-teaching, Lemon said.
The process will be based on collaboration between teachers, he noted. First, they’ll identify what students need to learn and develop a plan for teaching it, the principal said.
Assessments will be given and teachers will meet weekly to analyze the data and how to respond when students don’t learn, Lemon said. Then, they’ll go back to students and re-teach the information, he said.
“Time is already built into the schedule where we will allow for re-teaching and reassessing,” he said.
Lemon said Lake Marion High has a new "four by four" schedule, which will help improve students’ performance. They’ll be taking four 85-minute classes each day.
This plan has numerous benefits, Lemon said. It gives the teacher time to go into more depth on the material content. It allows time for direct instruction, individual participation and it gives time for the teacher to check for mastery of the material and offer remediation to students who need it, he said.
LMHS is offering students more advanced placement, or college level courses, this year. They’ll be able to take biology, U.S. history, psychology, English language arts and algebra.
In addition, students are given the opportunity to take dual-credit courses through Orangeburg-Calhoun Technical College, Lemon said. Lake Marion’s technology center also offers numerous career paths, he noted.
“In all of that, we attempt to live by our model of being a haven of excellence and high expectations,” Lemon said.
Lemon has been in the field of education for 15 years as a teacher, director of curriculum instruction and assessment, assistant principal and principal. Prior to moving to Orangeburg Consolidated School District Three, he was principal of Marlboro County High School.