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KCSD four-year graduation rate up
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Kershaw County School District’s (KCSD) graduation rate is at 87 percent this year.

KCSD’s Director of Assessment Lavoy Carter presented data on KCSD’s four- and five- year graduation rates to the Kershaw County School Board of Trustees at their meeting in the newly dedicated Dr. Gilbert G. Woolard Auditorium at the Applied Technology Education Center Tuesday night.

General Education Degrees (GEDs) are included in the district’s calculated fourth- and fifth- year graduation rates. “Non-diploma track special education” students are not included in the data.

KCSD’s performance goal is for all KCSD students in both the GED and South Carolina’s High School Diploma track to graduate, Carter said during the board meeting.

“I don’t have any strong belief that a four year graduation rate is any more valuable than five. I don’t think there is anything magic about a four-year rate; that’s why we’ve talked about five-year rates since 2009,” KCSD Superintendent Dr. Frank Morgan said.

The district graduated 5.4 percent more four-year students this year than in 2011. Approximately 87.4 percent of four-year students graduated; 87 percent of five-year students graduated.

“Ninety-five (percent) is where I want to get within the next few years,” Morgan said.

Another important factor with high school graduation rates is what students do after they graduate, Morgan said. That will be a focus for the school district from now on, he said.

At least 30 percent of students from each KCSD high school attend a four-year college/university; at least 22 percent attend a two-year college. The board started discussing “how beneficial” a two-year college can be in terms of finances and technical field possibilities, Morgans said. Fifty percent of North Central High School students attend at least a two-year college after high school graduation.

Trustees were presented with 2010 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics that reported 45 percent of available jobs in South Carolina required some college or an associate’s degree.

“Seeing students graduate with two-year degrees is right in line with where our job market is,” Morgan said.

Some of the plans to improve graduation rates include a focus on attendance, counseling, greater collaboration with adult education programs and emphasis on High School 101 programs, which help ninth-graders transition from middle school to a high school environment.

In other news:

• The board unanimously voted to allow Central Carolina Technical College President Dr. Tim Hardee to provide one full scholarship to a Kershaw County GED graduate with the highest GED score based on the following conditions: scholarship recipient must be enrolled in the Kershaw County Adult Education Program during 2012-2013 academic year and earn a GED by July 31, 2013; recipient must be a resident of Kershaw County; and score the highest score on the GED examination during the academic year. The scholarship will provide a full tuition scholarship for the 2013-2014 school year at CCTC in any program of study.

• The board unanimously voted to increase substitute food service employee pay to $8.25 per hour. The increase is a response to the difficulties in retaining an “adequate pool of substitutes.”

• The board unanimously voted to accept a $65,000 bid for yearly trash pickup. The current cost for trash pickup is $87,000 per year. The new company, Allied Waste, already provides services to certain businesses to Kershaw County.

• The old Camden Middle School, located on Laurens Street, has tested negative for asbestos. The demolition continues.