D19 rated ‘average’ on 2014 state report card

Though the 2014 federal report card classifies Barnwell District 19 as failing, the recently released state report card says otherwise.
The 2014 state report card gives the district ‘average' absolute and growth ratings. This means they met the standards for progress toward the state's 2020 Performance Vision. Last year, they saw a slightly higher growth rating of ‘good'.
"Results indicate that 97.7 percent of students tested in 2013-2014 were matched for the purpose of computing the Growth Rating. In comparison to districts like ours, only two in the state performed better. Most scored average with six scoring ‘below average' or ‘at-risk'. We are working hard to achieve a rating of excellent for 2014-2015," said Superintendent Dr. Teresa Pope in a press release.
To accomplish that, Pope said they have several "areas of focus", including increasing the attendance rate, reducing out-of-school suspensions, increasing rigor and actively engaging students. "Technology continues to be a strong component of our academic program and more activities for students to use technology daily will be another focus area," she said.
While she is pleased with the increase in parental involvement and communication, Pope said they plan to continue promoting activities to engage parents.
Macedonia Elementary School
The elementary school received a ‘below average' absolute rating on their 2014 state report card, meaning they are in jeopardy of not meeting the standards, and an ‘average' growth rating.
Forty-seven other elementary schools with students similar to MES also received a ‘below average' rating while 99 were ‘average', 16 were ‘at-risk', and only seven were ‘good' or ‘excellent'.
According to data for the PASS test, the elementary school surpassed the state average of students meeting the standards in math, social studies and writing, though they came close in English language arts.
Pope said the Teacher Advancement Program (TAP), which is in its second year, and its alignment of what is taught with a focus on the standards, has helped them make significant gains in student growth for third and sixth grades.
"This is our second year of TAP and we are expecting to see more growth this year," said Pope of the program that is in all three schools. "While TAP provides imbedded professional development for teachers, we have plans to increase conference attendance and to encourage our teachers to pursue advanced degrees."
"The faculty and staff are continuously analyzing data gleaned from MAP and PASS assessment and the ESEA waiver to determine strengths and weaknesses, drive instruction, and improve the school's instructional program," states former Principal Eryl Smalls and School Improvement Council Chairperson Bridget Brown in a report published in the report card.
They received an ‘F' on their federal report card.
Blackville-Hilda Junior High School
The junior high school received ‘below average' ratings for both absolute and growth, though this is better than last year's ‘at-risk' absolute rating. Their growth rating in 2013 was ‘average'.
Only 31 schools like theirs received a higher absolute rating of ‘average'. Twenty-three received ‘below average' while seven were labeled ‘at-risk'.
The percentage of the school's students meeting expectations on the PASS test exceeded that of the state middle school average in English language arts, though the school came close in math. They tied the state average in writing, according to the report card.
"A number of changes have been made to the structure of the school day at Blackville-Hilda Junior High to attempt to address the needs of the students for academic achievement gains," such as TAP, having the Ruth Patrick Center from USC Aiken work with teachers, instituting a character development program, and using the advisory period for clubs, according to a report published in the report card from former principal David Norman and School Improvement Chairman Angelia Williams.
They received an ‘F' on their federal report card.
Blackville-Hilda High School
The high school had the highest absolute rating in District 19 with an ‘average'. While this was the same as 2013, the school improved their growth rating from ‘at-risk' to ‘below average'.
Their rating aligned with most high schools with students like theirs as 22 other schools had an ‘average' as well. Ten schools were rated lower while nine were higher.
The school had a higher passage rate on HSAP (high school exit exam) than the average of high schools with students like them. They had 91.8 percent of students pass it by spring 2014 while the average of similar schools was 84.3.
"During the 2013-2014 school year, Blackville-Hilda High School was in its third year of the High Schools That Work Initiative, and we continued the development of rigorous academic and career/readiness programs of study while expanding the culture of high expectations for all students," according to a report published in the report card from former principal David Norman and School Improvement Chairman Angelia Williams. "We also implemented (TAP) which has impacted both student and teacher growth."
Pope said they are also hoping to partner with neighboring districts to increase Advanced Placement (AP) offerings for high school students.
The school received a ‘C' on their federal report card.