Fifteen Kershaw County schools -- six more than last year -- were among 853 schools statewide recognized by the S.C. Department of Education for academic achievement and closing achievement gaps in 2011.
This is the district’s best performance in the 11 years of operation for the Palmetto Gold and Silver awards program; previously the greatest number of local schools honored in one school year was nine.
“I am thrilled with this news,” said Kershaw County School District Superintendent Dr. Frank Morgan. “These results are absolutely due to the hard work of our schools at a time when resources were limited, and it would have been understandable if our performance had slipped. Instead, our staff, students and families not only worked together to maintain our academic progress, but more importantly continued to increase our success.”
The state awards program honors schools with high levels of absolute performance, high rates of growth and substantial progress in closing achievement gaps between groups of students. The program includes two parts -- recognition for general school performance as well as progress in closing achievement gaps between groups of students.
Schools received general awards for overall performance based on both the absolute and growth ratings and the growth index found on school report cards. These ratings are determined by PASS scores for elementary and middle schools. For high schools, the ratings are based on exit exam results, graduation rate and percentage of students passing end-of-course tests.
Four schools -- ATEC, Doby’s Mill Elementary, Lugoff Elementary and Lugoff-Elgin Middle -- received Gold Awards in the general performance category. Silver Award winners were Bethune Elementary, Blaney Elementary, Camden Elementary, Camden Middle, Jackson School, Mt. Pisgah Elementary, Stover Middle, North Central Middle, Pine Tree Hill Elementary and Wateree Elementary.
For the second award category, schools received recognition for closing the achievement gap based on academic gains made by students who fall into four subgroups -- African-American students, Hispanic students, students participating in federal free or reduced-price lunch programs and students with non-speech disabilities.
North Central High received a Silver Award for closing the achievement gap.
Silver Awards for Closing the Achievement Gap are based on the 2014 graduation rate goal of 88.3 percent, which was adopted by the Education Oversight Committee in April 2008. Schools receive silver awards for exceptional growth when at least one of their four student subgroups meets or exceeds the annual increase in on-time graduation rate needed to achieve the 2014 goal.
The state’s Education Oversight Committee establishes criteria for the awards, and the Department of Education applies those criteria to determine which schools are honored.
(This information was provided by the Kershaw County School District.)