Tuesday, November 12, 2013
Williamsburg County School District celebrated with cake and balloons Friday after receiving an overall Absolute rating of “Average” and a Growth rating of “Good” on the 2013 SC Annual School District Report Card, an increase in performance from last year's report. The state Department of Education released the data Friday.
Williamsburg County School District Superintendent, Dr. Yvonne Jefferson-Barnes said the district celebrates improvements indicated in the report with definite plans of continuing to work hard to advance the school district. “Our District Report Card clearly shows the progress that we are making as a system," said Barnes in a school district press release. "A careful review of our report card demonstrates that this district has moved from a designation of "At Risk" in Absolute and Improvement status four years ago, to a current Absolute rating of "Average" and an Improvement rating of "Good." This progress has been achieved, over time, because of the work accomplished by those at the school level, supported by District level Staff. We are especially pleased with our progress when we look at districts like ours, and see that we are, in large measure, out performing them.”
The overall, on-time statewide graduation rate increased from 73.6% in 2010-2011 to 77.5% in 2012-2013 - the largest two-year increase ever. As the report card relates to passage rates on the secondary level, Williamsburg County School District performed better than districts like it in SC on the High School Assessment Program (HSAP) Exam, End of Course Tests, and On-time Graduate Rate. The number of students eligible for LIFE Scholarships also increased.
The 2013 report also shows that 50 of the state's 82 districts achieved the top two ratings of "excellent" or "good" on 2013 state report cards. That compares to 42 last year. State Superintendent of Education Dr. Mick Zais was proud of the across-the-board improvements. “I am so proud of the great progress that our schools have made in increasing our graduation rates,” said Dr. Zais in a press release. “Teachers, students, and parents have worked together all year long and earned these gains. Let's congratulate them and continue doing our best working as one team to move South Carolina forward.”
When compared to other South Carolina districts, more Williamsburg County school district students met grade level standards in mathematics, science, social studies, writing, and English/language arts at the elementary level on the Palmetto Assessment of State Standards (PASS). In the areas of mathematics, science and writing, more district students demonstrated exemplary performance in meeting the grade level standard on PASS compared to similar districts.
The positive report is in stark contrast to the "F" grade issued in July under the ESEA Waiver Accountability System. At that time, Dr. Barnes predicted the forthcoming progress in an article published in The News, saying "The District Report Card issued by the Department of Education, in conjunction with the Education Oversight Committee which will not be released until November when all factors to be considered in grading schools and districts are in place, will again show that the Williamsburg County School District is making progress.”
A key component of the accountability system is a continuous improvement approach where performance standards for schools and school districts increase every year. However, educators, the South Carolina School Boards Association, and the Education Over Site Committee among others have met the federal accountability system with scrutiny. "It is time for us to have our students, teachers, administrators, and communities realize the fruits of their continuing labors," said Barnes in a November 8, email. "The district's report card, issued by the Education Over Site Committee, presents clear evidence of the performance of students in all Core Academic areas along with End of Course Assessments and Graduation Rates. It is by far, a more accurate measure of how districts are truly performing."
School performances are reflected in the following: C.E. Murray High School - “Excellent” Absolute rating/ “Good” Growth rating D.P. Cooper Elementary School - "Below Average" Absolute rating/“Average” Growth rating Greeleyville Elementary School - “Average” Absolute and Growth rating Hemingway Elementary School - "Below Average" Absolute rating/“Excellent” Growth rating Hemingway Middle School - "Below Average" Absolute rating/“Average” Growth rating Hemingway High School - “Excellent“ Absolute and Growth rating Kenneth Gardner Elementary School - “Average” Absolute rating/“Excellent” Growth rating Kingstree Middle School - "Below Average" Absolute rate/“Average” Growth rating Kingstree Senior High School - “Average” Absolute and Growth rating Williamsburg County Magnet School of the Arts - “Average” Absolute and Growth rating.
Additional information regarding the SC Report Card can be obtained by viewing the SC State Department of Education’s website (http://www.ed.sc.gov).