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KCSD closer to 100 percent graduation rate

Posted: October 3, 2013 5:10 p.m.
Updated: October 4, 2013 5:00 a.m.

Graduation rates in Kershaw County rose 1.6 percent last year pushing the Kershaw County School District (KCSD) closer to its goal of a 100 percent graduation rate. The Kershaw County Board of School Trustees learned the news at its meeting Tuesday night.

The district’s 2013 four-year graduation rate is 89 percent and its five-year graduation rate is 89.8. Camden High School (CHS) students saw 90.3 percent of its seniors graduate last year; 92.6 percent of students graduated from North Central High School (NCHS) students, and 87.5 students graduated from Lugoff-Elgin High School (L-EHS).

One of the district’s performance goals is for all fourth- and fifth-year graduation high school students to graduate with either a state high school diploma or a General Equivalency Diploma (GED). The district includes GEDs in both the four- and five-year graduation rate; “non-diploma” special education students are not included. The district’s 2012 graduation rate was 87 percent.

KCSD Superintendent Dr. Frank Morgan said previously it is his personal belief that a four-year graduation rate is no more valuable than a five-year diploma and that’s why the district includes five-year graduations rates.

Board Chair Mara Jones said she looks forward to seeing this year’s results next year, as the district has implemented several alternative education programs this school year. Graduation rates are indicative of a school districts success rates, Jones said.

Forty percent or more of graduates from CHS or L-EHS attend a four-year college; little more than 20 percent from NCHS attend a four-year college. Twenty-five to 32 percent of district graduates attend a two year college, according to district administrators.

Twenty-three percent of graduates from NCHS go into the workforce immediately after high school versus only 6 percent from CHS and L-EHS. Board Vice Chair Kim DuRant said she would like to see more NCHS students make plans to obtain a four-year degree after high school. Trustee Ron Blackmon asked district administrators why more NCHS students go into the workforce versus the other two high schools.

Morgan said students from the North Central area generally go to the Applied Technology Education Campus (ATEC) to learn a skill and go into the workforce. Students from L-EHS and CHS typically go to ATEC to help them prepare for future careers, he said. NCHS has made significant progress in encouraging graduates to attend a two-year program, as several years ago the numbers of NCHS students who went to a two-year school were low, Morgan said.

Five percent of CHS students, 9 percent of L-EHS students and 16 percent of NCHS students did not know their specific plans for after high school graduation.

The number of students enrolled in advanced placement (AP) and dual enrollment classes has also increased, KCSD Director for Student Assessment Lavoy Carter said. He said there were a total of 456 students in AP and dual enrollment courses during the 2012-2013 school year compared to the 390 students during the 2011-2012 school year.

The board plans to present the graduation rates to Kershaw County Council later this fall.

In other business:

• The board voted to adopt the 2013-2014 board/superintendent goals.

• The board voted to waive a policy requiring the district to wait three years before naming a facility after “a deceased individual.” Through various donations, the L-EHS press box has been remodeled and dedicated in honor of Trustee Joey Dorton who died in 2012. For the dedication to occur during the football season, the board voted unanimously to waive the provision requiring the waiting period. The dedication will be held at an Oct. 11 game.

• The district will negotiate a contract with Cenergistic, an energy conservation company that has saved school districts an average of 26 percent of their energy costs. Cenergistic made a presentation to the board at its Sept. 24 finance/facilities meeting. Cenergistic said “no client has ever lost money” using its program and savings are guaranteed to exceed all investment in the program. There is no “upfront investment,” Board Finance/Facilities Chair Matt Irick said; there is no fee for the first four months of the program. DuRant said she thought it was a “win-win” to work with the company. Trustee Derrick Proctor said he is willing to look at a contract as did Trustee Shirley Halley. Jones said if they could save money, they can use it in other places.  

• Jones acknowledged L-EHS and CHS for their fundraising efforts for United Way.

• A Southern Association of Colleges and Schools accreditation visit will begin on Monday. Morgan said the district has been preparing for the visit for about 15 months.

• Morgan also said he expects all seventh-graders to have had the Tdap vaccination by today. Thirty-five students were non-compliant and had to be sent home Tuesday, the deadline to get the vaccine.


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