"We Love and Grow Our Students!"
A Message From Dr. Ross
Dear Lexington Richland School District Five Family,
Welcome to the beginning of the 2023 - 2024 school year! Our school district follows a simple vision- We Love and Grow our Students. It is this vision that guides our mission and the outcomes we seek to achieve. As a result, our teachers, administrators and staff are working tirelessly to ensure we meet two (2) central objectives in our district’s mission. The first objective is to ensure every student feels love in our schools, and the second objective is to ensure that every student has demonstrated academic growth in our schools.
Every mission has challenges and every challenge presents an opportunity to improve and grow. I was reminded of our mission while visiting with elementary students working in a school garden. The students were asked to create an environment that would support the growth of the plants in the garden. From those simple instructions, these students began their work. The students enriched the soil with nutrients, they watered the roots, and they pruned away obstructions that blocked the sunlight. This mirrors the work educators do every day. Just as plants need sun, water, and good soil to grow, our students need knowledge, skills, and good character to grow. These young students helped inspire the theme for the 2023 - 2024 school year - The Growing Season. Our teachers, staff and administrators are committed to creating a healthy environment that supports student growth.
To overcome challenges to our healthy environment, we will pursue three (3) improvement and growth opportunities. First, we will develop a district-wide Social Emotional Learning (SEL) program to address the rise of anxiety, depression and trauma our children experience. SEL programs are proven methods to create a positive school climate by helping students learn skills like self-regulation, problem solving, empathy, and impulse control. These skills will not only help reduce negative behaviors like bullying, but will also improve decision making and increase academic performance. Our second opportunity will address the increasing number of students not meeting grade level reading and math expectations. We cannot grow our students if we do not know our students. As a result, we will focus on connecting students with mentors, advisors, coaches and volunteers to make supportive connections in order to maximize the potential of all students. Our third major opportunity involves the 5-Year Master Facilities Plan. This plan will address the growth of student enrollment in the Chapin schools and the growing facility needs of the Dutch Fork and Irmo schools. We are conducting a study of enrollment projections, facility conditions, school capacities and educational needs in order to determine capital priorities for all schools.The targeted completion date of the 5-Year Master Facilities Plan will be in 2030. With your help, we will be able to overcome these challenges and take advantage of the improvement and growth opportunities that will allow all students to meet their greatest potential.
We look forward to the return of 17,500 students on Tuesday, August 15, 2023, as we continue the vision of loving and growing all students. #LetsGrow
Akil E. Ross, Sr., Ed.D.
Dr. Akil E. Ross, Sr. is a veteran educator who serves as Superintendent for Lexington-Richland School District Five. Dr. Ross began his 20-year education career as a teacher and coach at Eau Claire High School in Columbia, S.C. He came to School District Five from Richland School District One in 2005, where he first served as assistant principal and then principal at Chapin High School. In 2018, he left Chapin High School to serve as the Director of Secondary Education for the district. Dr. Ross is also an author and Affiliate Professor of Educational Leadership at the University of South Carolina (UofSC). He left School District Five in 2018 to start HeartED, LLC, an educational consulting firm, to share lessons and strategies to further his vision of a future where every community empowers every child. He was named Superintendent in School District Five on February of 2022.
Dr. Ross earned his undergraduate degree from Duke University in 2002. In 2005, he obtained his master’s in education (M.Ed.) in Secondary Educational Administration from the University of South Carolina. In 2009, he earned his educational specialist degree (Ed.S) from South Carolina State University. In July of 2012, he earned his doctorate in Curriculum Studies from the University of South Carolina.
He has received numerous professional recognitions and accomplishments during his career including: the 2017 South Carolina Association of School Administrators (SCASA) Secondary Principal of the Year and the 2018 National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) Principal of the Year. He was featured in The State Newspaper, 20 under 40, Class of 2017, Principal Leadership Magazine, The Rotarian Magazine and Columbia Business Monthly, 50 Most Influential, 2018. Dr. Ross was named the 2020 UofSC College of Education Adjunct Professor of the Year.
Dr. Akil E. Ross, Sr.
Executive Administrative Assistant for Board of Trustees and Superintendent