6 area high schools improve graduation rates

scetrone@heraldonline.comNovember 13, 2012 

  • Want to see more? The 12th annual state reports cards released Tuesday are available online. They include a wealth of information about each school and district, including graduation rates, test scores, federal ratings and responses from teacher, parent and student surveys. They rate schools based on standardized test scores. Schools are judged on two factors: how students performed on tests overall, and how well students improved from the prior year. They can receive one of five ratings in each of the two categories: At-risk, Below Average, Average, Good and Excellent.
  • Graduation Rates The graduation rate in South Carolina is figured by tallying the number of ninth-graders who earn diplomas four years after they enter high school. Here’s a look at the latest graduation rates for high schools in York, Chester and Lancaster counties. School;Grad Rate 2012;Grad Rate 2011 Nation Ford High;94.08;90.26 Fort Mill High;92.57;92.16 Indian Land High;89.81;78.79 Clover High;84.35;77.33 Northwestern High;82.26;76.39 South Pointe High;76.4;70.39 York Comprehensive High;76.27;80.65 Lewisville High;75.86;80 Lancaster High;74.44;74.16 Rock Hill High;73.67;73.27 Great Falls Complex School;70.27;83.12 Chester Senior High;69.26;67.84

Six area high schools – Nation Ford, Clover, Indian Land, South Pointe, Northwestern and Chester – saw their graduation rates improve noticeably in 2012 over the previous year, according to South Carolina’s 12th annual school report cards released Tuesday.

Among the six other local high schools, graduation rates either remained the same or fell.

Indian Land High’s graduation rate climbed 11 percentage points to 89.81 percent, the area’s highest jump.

Indian Land Principal David Shamble credited the increase to better record-keeping and an effort to reach potential dropouts early. Students with poor attendance, grades and behavior are asked to meet with a behavior intervention team made up of an assistant principal, a teacher, a guidance counselor and one of the student’s parents. They meet throughout the year, at least four times, to set goals and evaluate progress.

“It’s been a concerted effort over a few years,” Shamble said. “We’ve been very successful.”

Nation Ford High’s graduation rate jumped nearly four percentage points to 94.08 percent, the state’s eighth highest after selective magnet schools and charter campuses.

Principal Beverley Bowman sees it as a by-product of the school’s overall approach.

“Our goal really is to make sure students are successful,” she said. “We improved in our HSAP (exit exam) pass rate and student attendance. Students are happy here. When students are successful ... that’s why they’re graduating.”

S.C. public schools track high-school completion in two ways: the graduation rate and dropout rate. The graduation rate is figured by tallying the number of ninth-graders who earn diplomas four years later. The dropout rate tracks how many students leave each year.

Schools are responsible for keeping track of students. If a South Pointe High student moves to another school, for instance, South Pointe must have records confirming the student enrolled elsewhere. Without proof, that student could count against South Pointe’s graduation rate.

South Pointe Principal Al Leonard said better record keeping has helped his school, which saw the graduation rate jump six percentage points to 76.4 percent.

Also, Leonard said, teachers are “working more closely with students we have here to make sure they stay on track.”

Each teacher is assigned a group of ninth-graders to keep up with throughout their high school careers, Leonard said. They meet once a week as a group for lessons on various topics such as study skills, social skills and scholarship search strategies.

The idea, Leonard said, is to give teens a mentor, someone they can turn to who they know cares about them.

The state report cards, overseen by the Education Oversight Committee, also show more than a dozen schools across York, Chester and Lancaster counties received stellar ratings for students’ performance on standardized tests.

The annual reports cards are intended to keep parents in the loop and spotlight both high and low performers. They include a wealth of information about each school and district, including graduation rates, test scores, federal ratings and responses from teacher, parent and student surveys.

They rate schools based on standardized test scores. Schools are judged on two factors: how students performed on tests overall, and how well students improved from the prior year. They can receive one of five ratings in each of the two categories: At-risk, Below Average, Average, Good and Excellent.

Here are the schools across York, Chester and Lancaster counties that received an Excellent in both categories:

Rock Hill

India Hook Elementary

Old Pointe Elementary

The Children’s School at Sylvia Circle

Rawlinson Road Middle

Dutchman Creek Middle

Fort Mill

Orchard Park Elementary

Riverview Elementary

Gold Hill Elementary

Fort Mill Elementary

Sugar Creek Elementary

Springfield Elementary

Pleasant Knoll Elementary

Banks Trail Middle

Fort Mill Middle

Springfield Middle

Gold Hill Middle

Nation Ford High

Clover

Larne Elementary

Kinard Elementary

Griggs Road Elementary

Bethel Elementary

Bethany Elementary

Crowders Creek Elementary

Oakridge Middle

Clover High

Chester County

Lewisville High

Lancaster County

Indian Land Elementary

Indian Land Middle

Indian Land High

To see them, visit: http://ed.sc.gov

Hover over “research portal,” click “report cards” and choose a year.

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