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KCSD is ‘excellent’ in state ratings

Posted: November 21, 2013 5:16 p.m.
Updated: November 22, 2013 5:00 a.m.

The Kershaw County School District (KCSD) received an excellent rating on its S.C. Department of Education’s (SCDOE) 2013 Report Card.

Kershaw County is one of two Midlands districts to receive the excellent rating and one of only 18 districts in the state, KCSD Superintendent Dr. Frank Morgan said during the Kershaw County Board of School Trustees meeting Tuesday night.

The district received an “excellent” absolute and growth rating this year, KCSD Director for Student Assessment Lavoy Carter said, while presenting the district and each individual school’s rating during the meeting. In 2012, the district earned “Good” on both ratings.

The absolute and growth rating are state ratings. A separate Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) grade is a federal rating. State ratings are calculated on a weighted model and based on individual student performance. The federal ESEA rating is calculated on a composite score and student subgroup performances, Carter said. Subgroups are groups of students divided by race, socioeconomic and other similar factors, he said. The growth rating increased one level due to the district’s efforts to close an achievement gap, the report card noted.

The district earned a “B” ESEA rating on accountability data from SCDOE. The district’s score is only 1.3 percent below the score required for an “A” rating, KCSD Director of Communications Mary Anne Byrd said in a press release. The ESEA rating puts Kershaw County in the top 20 percent of South Carolina school districts, she said. The federal government gives Title I schools accountability indicators that classify schools as reward schools for performance and progress, focus schools and priority schools, Carter said. The indicators show how well a school has closed its performance gap. This year’s Title I “Reward” schools are Baron DeKalb, Bethune, Blaney, Midway and Mt. Pisgah elementary schools. These five elementary schools also received Reward status in 2012, Byrd said. Pine Tree Hill Elementary School (PTHS) is designated as a “Focus” school this year. Schools with this designation have the “highest average performance gap between subgroups.” PTHS also received the “Focus” designation in 2012.

Lugoff and Wateree elementary schools and North Central High School (NCHS) earned “excellent” absolute ratings, according to the report card. Camden and Bethune elementary school received “excellent” growth ratings. Lugoff-Elgin High school received both “excellent” absolute and growth ratings for the second year in a row. Midway Elementary School earned the highest grade in weighted points. Both NCHS and Bethune Elementary School improved their state ratings to “good” and “excellent” this year.

In other news:

• Tim Hopkins presented the board with new kindergarten report cards. The report cards are handed out every nine weeks and are considered, overall, easier to read and understand. A 20-person committee made up of kindergarten teachers and parents worked through a period of several months to redesign the report card, which was previously “unintentionally complex,” Hopkins said. New Common Core standards brought on a reason to make the report card more concise. The report card allows teachers and parents to work together to detect any learning disabilities, Hopkins said. Trustee Shirley Halley said the new report card is parent-friendly. Chair Mara Jones said the new report card will help parents figure out how they can help their child perform and prepare for the future.

• The board reviewed school bus transportation times. Jones said it was “appalling” that certain students are riding the bus for more than two hours a day. The board hasn’t had to vote on bus privatization, as they expected to last year, but the district still don’t have enough busses and two-thirds of the ones they do have are more than 15 years old. If Phase 2 of the district’s facilities equalization plan goes into effect as planned, the board will have to look at “Express” bus routes for students traveling to a proposed new elementary school in the North Central area. The board reviews bus route times each year.


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