2013 Annual School & District Report Cards

DCSD HAS BEST GRADUATION RATE IN THE STATE; RANKED #6 IN THE STATE IN TERMS OF ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT

(November 8, 2013) -- The Darlington County School District has the highest graduation rate in the state, according to the South Carolina Department of Education. The district ranks sixth in the state in terms of academic achievement, a slight drop from the #3 ranking of 2012. The school district and nine schools earned EXCELLENT absolute report card ratings, the highest rating given in the annual school and district report cards released today by the South Carolina Department of Education. All but one district school scored Average or above on the report cards.

 “We are very proud of what our schools, teachers and students have accomplished – but we cannot rest on our laurels,” said Dr. Eddie Ingram, district superintendent. “We must continue to push ourselves and our students, exceeding expectations and providing the best education possible. Our teachers are more than up for the challenge and we will continue to give them the tools and support they need to reach their goals.”

Graduation rates at the four high schools and the district continue to be among the highest in the state. The district’s on-time graduation rate, as determined by the South Carolina Department of Education, is 93.4 percent, slightly higher than last year’s district average and almost 16 percentage points higher than the state’s overall on-time graduation rate of 77.50 percent. 


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Mayo High School for Math, Science & Technology, with 100% graduation, has the highest graduation rate among the state’s 226 high schools. Darlington High’s graduation rate increased one-tenth of a percent to 92.34% and Hartsville High School’s graduation rate increased from 90.49 to 91.82%. Lamar High School’s graduation rate slipped from 100% to 93.85%. In addition, district’s gap between African-American students and white students continues to close. The district’s graduation rate for white students is 95.5 percent, while the district’s graduation rate for African-American students is 91.5 percent.

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“The graduation rates in Darlington County are not simple calculations,” said Ingram. “These aren’t just numbers. These are actual students. Our high schools work hard to ensure all students graduate on time. It isn’t always easy, but I applaud the combined efforts of our teachers, administrators, counselors, families and communities to see that every child graduates on time in Darlington County.”

The Darlington County School District is one of only 30 districts in the state to receive a rating of Excellent on the annual report card. The district is now ranked sixth in the state in terms of academic achievement, outranking all other Pee Dee school districts.
The annual school and district report cards rate our schools based on student achievement levels set by the South Carolina Education Oversight Committee. Schools receive Absolute ratings – Excellent, Good, Average, Below Average, or At-Risk – based on how their students perform on the Palmetto Assessment of State Standards (PASS), graduation rate, the high school exit exam and more.

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SCHOOL - 2013 ABSOLUTE RATING
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, average teacher salaries and the socio-economic status of students’ families.

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 82.66%.

According to Neil C. Robinson, Jr., Chairman of the EOC, conversations with superintendents and instructional leaders in improving school districts have pointed to an emphasis on improving teaching as the main reason for the significant increase in student performance between 2012 and 2013. The majority of South Carolina school districts have begun to implement the Common Core State Standards, a rigorous set of standards in English Language Arts and mathematics. The integration of the new standards has provided many professional development opportunities for teachers focused on transforming the practice of delivering quality instruction to students.

Although the results are encouraging, Robinson points out that South Carolina cannot claim victory for students just yet. By 2020, 65 percent of all jobs will require post-secondary education, training, and/or certification. Many high school graduates do not have the skills to be “highly qualified” in an increasingly competitive job market. Additionally, high school graduates often require remediation at the state’s two-year institutions.

The Darlington County School District is considering several initiatives that will enhance education opportunities for students. These include introducing robotics programs at several schools, an increased emphasis on STEM (science & technology education) at all levels, one-to-one technology deployment, more dual credit courses (high school & college), learning partnerships with area businesses, and expanded foreign language classes.

“We are evaluating several programs that will expand educational opportunities for our children at every level,” said Ingram. “In doing so, we believe our students and our community will benefit.”

QUICK FACTS:

•  The Darlington County School District has the highest graduation rate in the state, as ranked by the South Carolina Department of Education for the 2013 annual school and district report cards. (District Performance Data, 2013 Annual Report Card, SCDE).

• The Darlington County School District has the 4th lowest dropout rate in South Carolina (0.4%), according to the South Carolina Department of Education. When talking about dropout rates, the lower the rates, the fewer the dropouts. (District Fact File, 2013 Annual Report Card, SCDE).

•  The Darlington County School District ranks sixth in South Carolina in terms of the annual report card ratings issued by the South Carolina Department of Education (Ratings & Indices, 2013 Annual Report Card, SCDE).

•  In every high school in our district, more than nine out of every ten high school freshmen will graduate in four years, according to the South Carolina Department of Education. Mayo High School for Math, Science & has a 100% graduation rate (High School Performance Data, 2013 Annual Report Card, SCDE).

•  More children are reading at or above grade level by grade three, thanks to the efforts of our primary schools (grades K-2). Reading at or above grade level by third grade ensures children have a better chance of success later in school.

•  Of the 22 schools in the district, nine schools have received the highest rating of  “Excellent” on the 2013 annual report cards issued by the South Carolina Department of Education.  The Darlington County School District is also rated  “Excellent”. (2013 Annual Report Card, SCDE)

•  All but one DCSD school are rated “Average” or higher on the 2013 annual report cards from the South Carolina Department of Education. Rosenwald Elementary/Middle School is ranked Average for the elementary portion of the school and Below Average for the middle school portion of the school.

• Mayo High School for Math, Science & Technology is ranked #1 in terms of graduation rate. Lamar High, Darlington High and Hartsville High are in the top 15 schools in the state in terms of graduation rate.
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HIGH SCHOOLS BY GRAD RATE

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