Scotland County Schools working on growth of students

By: Katelin Gandee - Staff writer

LAURINBURG —The Board of Education met Sunday for the Committee of the Whole End-of-Year meeting, and looked closer at the 2017-18 state report cards for each school.

The Department of Public Instruction released the report for the 2017-18 school year earlier this month and Scotland County schools all seem to continue getting higher grades with student growth.

The report cards gave SEarCH an A, Laurel Hill Elementary School a B, Wagram Elementary, Carver Middle, Spring Hill Middle and Scotland High School all received a C — while Covington Street Elementary, I. Ellis Johnson Elementary, North Laurinburg Elementary, South Scotland Elementary and Sycamore Lane Elementary all received a D.

A more in-depth look from Valerie Williams, assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction, showed that five out of the seven elementary schools met growth and both kindergarten and second graders are above state expectations.

Growth is the personal and academic growth of a student and is averaged to give each school a number. The state has a scale that they want the schools to be at which ranges from a negative two to a positive two, with zero being where the state wants them. Below a negative two is not passing and above a positive two is exceeding the average growth.

Covington Street, I. Ellis Johnson, Laurel Hill, North Laurinburg, and Wagram all met growth. While the state expects for kindergarteners to have an average growth of three levels Scotland County students grew 3.47 levels and second graders were expected to grow three levels as well by grew on average 3.64.

Williams also explained that the percentage of kindergarten through second graders who are reading at proficient or higher levels has increased from 40-percent to 48-percent of the past four years.

For secondary schools only SEarCH and Spring Hill Middle School made growth leaving Carver and the high school falling below.

“We don’t have Carver up here as meeting this year, but if you go back and look at Carver’s data, Carver hasn’t met on the last four years — but they have decreased their negative growth by close to 50 percent,” Williams said. “So they were at a negative 6.24 and they have continued to chop their way, chop their way that negative and they’re down to a negative 3.63 so if we can get it down a little bit more at least we will be at the negative two.”

The high school has also gone up significantly in growth, from a negative 10.36 in the 2014-18 year to a negative 6.74.

Some of the goals Williams gave that the schools will be working on is continuing the strong focus on first-grade literacy and writing as well as literacy across the district as well as implementing the new math standards for grades kindergarten to eighth grade. The schools will also be starting the One to World technology initiative for third through eighth grade.

The schools also reached an all-time high for graduation rates and an all-time low for drop-out rates. The graduation rate for Scotland County schools was an 87.1 percent beating the state average by .8 percent.

The drop-out rate for the 2016-17 year was 28 students at a 1.6 percent and for the 2017-18 year there were 22 students but the rates won’t be submitted until October.

The drop-out rate has decreased significantly and Jamie Syan, director of School Support Services, says that programs such as the 3 to 6 program at the high school and online classes.

“As far as I’m concerned, if we have one that’s one too many,” Syan said. “Because we all know the importance of that high school diploma.”

Out of the 22 students, there were five students who dropped out in ninth grade, seven in 10th grade, nine in 11th grade, and three in 12th grade.

Scotland County is currently ranked No. 1 in the least amount of dropouts in the region.

Katelin Gandee

Staff writer

Reach Katelin Gandee at 910-506-3171 or at [email protected]

Reach Katelin Gandee at 910-506-3171 or at [email protected]