DARLINGTON COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – The South Carolina Department of Education has revealed results from the state report card.
The Darlington County School District has earned an 'excellent' rating for the fourth year in a row, according to the district. Below is a press release from DCSD explaining the good news in detail.
For Immediate Release: November 14, 2014
Once Again, DCSD Among Top 10 For Academic Achievement & Graduation Rate
This year's state report card from the South Carolina Department of Education brings a wealth of good news about the DCSD schools. For the fourth year in a row, the Darlington County School District (DCSD) has earned an Excellent on the state report cards, making the district the sixth highest scoring school district in the state in terms of academic achievement and the third highest according to graduation rate. Southside Early Childhood Center is ranked third in the state among primary schools. Two DCSD high schools are ranked among the top 10 high schools in the state in terms of academic achievement: Mayo High School for Math, Science & Technology is ranked third out of 236 high schools and Lamar High School is ranked ninth.
The Darlington County School District and eleven district schools earned EXCELLENT absolute report card ratings, according to the annual school and district report cards released today by the South Carolina Department of Education. Ninety-six percent of the schools in the school district are now rated Average or above. Ratings formulas based on student achievement levels are set by the South Carolina Education Oversight Committee (EOC). Schools receive Absolute ratings – Excellent, Good, Average, Below Average, or At-Risk – based on how their students perform on the South Carolina Palmetto Assessment of State Standards (SC PASS), the graduation rate, and other key factors. Excellent is the highest rating a school or district can earn.
"I am very proud of our teachers, schools, and our students," said Dr. Eddie Ingram, district superintendent. "While we have certainly scored some victories, we also recognize we still have much to do. We must focus on the growth of every child and ensure that every child, every day is receiving the best education we can possibly provide. We must set high expectations for our children – but we must also set high expectations for our teachers, administrators and our schools."
The Darlington County Institute of Technology earned an Excellent on the state report card once again. According to the state department, 93.4% of DCIT students earned a 2 or higher on the final course grade, compared to the state average of 90.3. The state also calculates the "placement rate", which is "the number of career and technology completers who are available for placement in postsecondary instruction, military services, or employment divided into the number of students over a three-year period who are actually placed and converted to a percentage. This criteria mirrors the Perkins standard." The Darlington County Institute of Technology has an impressive 99.4% placement rate, compared to the state average of 96.9%.
In the Darlington County School District, on average more than 9 out of 10 seniors are graduating on time. According to the South Carolina Department of Education, the district's 2014 graduation rate is 91.7%, significantly higher than the state average graduation rate of 80.1%. Among district high schools, both Lamar High School and Mayo High School for Math, Science & Technology have a 100% graduation rate. Hartsville High has an 89.5% graduation rate and Darlington High has an 89.4%.
"While I am proud of the graduation rates and the efforts of our schools, we won't be satisfied until all the schools have a 100% graduation rate," said Ingram. "These are not just numbers. These are actual students. We want to prepare them for graduation, but more than that, we want to prepare them for life after graduation."
The South Carolina Palmetto Assessment of State Standards scores were the only disappointing portions of the report card. On average, 70.4% of students in grades 3-8 met standards in English/Language Arts, compared to a state average of 73.9%. In math, 68.5% of DCSD elementary students met standards, compared to the state average of 72.3%. In science, 69.9% of DCSD elementary students met standards, compared to the state average of 70.2%. In social studies, 75.1% of DCSD elementary students met standards, compared to the state average of 75.9%.
Six Title 1 schools in the Darlington County School District were recognized as "Title 1 Reward Schools for Performance." This designation, awarded by the South Carolina Department of Education, is given to schools that are among the highest performing Title 1 schools in a given year. Title I programs are designed to provide additional educational opportunities for where student needs are the greatest. A school is classified as a Title I School based on the percentage of students enrolled at the school who receive free or reduced lunches. The six schools awarded this year are Brockington Elementary Magnet School, Darlington High School, Spaulding Elementary School, St. John's Elementary School, Thornwell School for the Arts, and West Hartsville Elementary School.
SCHOOLS - 2014 ABSOLUTE RATING
· Brockington Elementary Magnet School – Good
· Brunson-Dargan Elementary School - Average
· Cain Elementary School - Excellent
· Carolina Elementary School - Excellent
· Darlington County Institute of Technology – Excellent
· Darlington High School – Excellent
· Darlington Middle School - Average
· Hartsville High School - Excellent
· Hartsville Middle School - Average
· Lamar Elementary - Excellent
· Lamar High - Excellent
· Mayo High School for Math, Science & Technology - Excellent
· N. Hartsville Elementary School - Excellent
· Pate Elementary School - Excellent
· Rosenwald Elementary School – Average
· Rosenwald Middle School – Below Average
· Southside Early Childhood Center - Excellent
· Spaulding Elementary School - Average
· Spaulding Middle School - Average
· St. John's Elementary School - Average
· Thornwell School for the Arts - Average
· Washington St. Elementary School – Average
· W. Hartsville Elementary School - Average
· DARLINGTON COUNTY SCHOOL DISTRICT - Excellent
In addition to state and federal ratings required by EAA and the federal No Child Left Behind Act, report card data also include student-teacher ratios, dollars spent per student, absentee rates for students and teachers, amount of instructional time, and average teacher salaries.
The report cards show that poverty levels in South Carolina, measured by a calculation based on the percentage of students receiving Medicaid and/or reduced meal plans, continue to increase. Darlington County School District has a poverty index of 83.19, up from 82.4 last year.
This year's state report card release will mark the end of state ratings for two years as the state prepares for a combined state and federal report card. The "hiatus" for state school and district report card results occurs as a result of Act 200, legislation that passed the SC General Assembly last session.
According to Melanie Barton, Executive Director of the SC Education Oversight Committee (EOC), the next two years will allow policymakers, with input from educators, business, higher education, and community leaders to craft an accountability system focused first and foremost on the skills, knowledge and expertise individual students must master to succeed in college, careers and life.
Top 10 Districts Ranked By Academic Achievement
1 YORK 4
2 YORK 2
3 ANDERSON 1
4 LEXINGTON 5
5 SPARTANBURG 1
7 ANDERSON 2
8 DORCHESTER 2
9 ANDERSON 3