• Friday, August 10, 2012

  • Updated Friday, August 10, 2012 1:21 am

Gone are the days of the confusing “met” and “not met” Adequate Yearly Progress descriptions given on school report cards in South Carolina.
The new method created by the South Carolina Department of Education — released for the first time Thursday — uses a traditional “A,B,C,D,F” system to tell how districts and schools are doing.
Jay Ragley, a State Department of Education deputy superintendent, said the new grading formula is simple.
The state was able to make the conversion to letter grades because State Superintendent Dr. Mick Zais  received a waiver from the U.S. Department of Education on certain federal reporting requirements.

County exceeds expectations

The news is mixed for Georgetown County schools where both Carvers Bay High and Carvers Bay Middle outperformed the middle and high schools in Georgetown, Andrews and on the Waccamaw Neck.
An ‘A’ means a school or district has “substantially” exceeded the state’s expectations. A ‘B’ means the performance exceeded the state’s expectations while a ‘C’ is the state’s expectation.
A ‘D’ means the school or district has not met expectations. An ‘F’ is “substantially below” the expectations.
The new system is expected to be a better assessment on the performance of the schools. In the past if a school missed one objective set forth by the state, it has given a report indicating it had not met the objectives.
The Georgetown County School
District as a whole received a ‘B’ grade under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) Federal Accountability program.
“We are pleased but not satisfied with where we are.  We are always striving to make more improvements,” said Patti Hammel, executive director for Student Performance and Federal Programs.
 
School by school

Only one school in the district met all the AYP requirements — Waccamaw Elementary.
As a result, that school scored 97.4. One area of concern for WES is in science, where males did not meet the proficiency standards.
Along with WES, six other schools in the district scored an ‘A’ on the reports. They are Sampit Elementary, Pleasant Hill Elementary, Plantersville Elementary and Maryville Elementary.
Also scoring a grade of ‘A’ were both Carvers Bay High and Carvers Bay Middle, the only high and middle schools in the county to receive an ‘A.’
Among the other high schools, Andrews and Waccamaw scored a ‘B’ while Georgetown received a ‘C.’
Waccamaw Middle received a ‘B’ while Georgetown Middle earned a ‘C.’ Rosemary Middle was the only school in the county to receive a ‘D.’
The other schools receiving a ‘B’ are Waccamaw Intermediate, Kensington Elementary and Browns Ferry Elementary.
McDonald Elementary and Andrews Elementary both received a grade of ‘C’.
Hammel notes Plantersville Elementary and Sampit Elementary have been placed on the list of ‘Reward Schools’ for their performance. This means they are among the highest-performing and highest-progressing schools in the state.
She also says because of their performances, Andrews Elementary and Rosemary Middle will again offer the ‘choice’ option for students for the 2012 – 2013 school year as part of the “Focus” Schools’ requirement. This means parents with children in that attendance area can choose to send their child to a higher performing school in the district.
“As we move into the new school term we have and will continue to provide opportunities for focus groups in schools to target students’ needs. We continue to offer small class sizes so that all students receive one-to-one attention,” Hammel said.
An additional English/language arts or mathematics teacher has been added to each middle school. 
“We continue to focus on a balanced approach to teaching reading and will implement the Common Core Standards. High Progress Literacy has been piloted and will expand to Rosemary Middle School,” said Hammel. “A recent purchase of 60 laptop carts and laptops will add to the interactive learning in each classroom as well as our expansion of wireless infrastructure.”

By Scott Harper
sharper@gtowntimes.com

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