Berkeley officials disappointed in drop from ‘A’ to ‘B’
Berkeley County School District officials were disheartened that the district dropped 2.8 points to an 87.5, falling from a “A” to a “B.”
Reward Schools for Performance and Reward Schools for Progress
Reward Schools for Performance are the highest-performing low-income (Title I) schools. Reward schools must have earned an “A” or “B” in the two most recent school years and not have any significant achievement gaps.
Berkeley: Berkeley Intermediate*, College Park Elementary*, Cross Elementary*, J.K. Gourdin Elementary*
Charleston: Charleston Development Academy*, Jane Edwards Elementary, Dunston Elementary, Military Magnet Academy*, Minnie Hughes Elementary*, Mitchell Elementary, Murray-LaSaine Elementary*, Stono Park Elementary*
Dorchester 2: Pye Elementary, Spann Elementary
Dorchester 4: Harleyville Elementary*
*Second year for the school to be a Reward Schools for Performance
Reward Schools for Progress are low-income schools that demonstrate substantial progress for all students, or for specific subgroups of students. Reward schools must have earned an “A”, “B” or “C” in the two most recent school years and be one of the top 10 percent of qualifying Title 1 schools demonstrating progress.
Charleston: Jane Edwards Elementary
Source: S.C. Department of Education
The letter grades are based on results from PASS tests, exit exams, end-of-course tests and graduation rates.
“The grade doesn’t reflect the improvements that were made in the test scores,” said Chief Academic Officer Kevin O’Gorman. “We are disappointed in that calculation. It’s kind of conflicting and confusing.”
The district’s numerical grade ranked 24th in the state last year and 23rd this year.
“We actually made a gain, yet our grade has gone down,” he said.
The district had three scores fall to “F” ratings this year: Cross Middle High fell 35.4 points to 42.6; College Park Middle dropped from an 88.6 to 50.3; and St. Stephen Middle had the biggest drop of all, falling 51.9 points to a 30.5.
While that might point to a problem with middle schools in the district, of the rest of them, two earned “A” grades, four had a “B” and three had a “C.” On PASS testing, there were no significant gains or losses for the district’s middle school students.
“We will break down the data and ... look at it from quite a variety of lenses in order to make decisions,” O’Gorman said. “What we don’t do is look at a ‘B,’ if you will, and try to make decisions from that. You can’t. You’ve really got to drill down the data to figure out what’s working and what’s not. We’ve certainly had a lot of great things going on in the district, and we want to replicate that.”
The district’s four Title 1 Reward schools — Berkeley Intermediate, Cross Elementary, College Park Elementary and JK Gourdin Elementary — received Distinguished School of Performance designations for achieving an “A” or “B” score and having a subsidized lunch count of 50 percent or more.
O’Gorman said the district’s teachers are being trained on new standards while still being assessed on the old ones.
Superintendent Rodney Thompson agreed that is a challenge.
The district “is leading the advancement of common core state standard adoption,” Thompson said. “The district’s teachers are currently leading the writing of our new curriculum and pursuing improved technological capabilities.”
That work is not reflected in this year’s grades, he said.
“The gap from old standards to new standards will take nearly three years to evolve,” he said. “I am confident that when testing mechanisms, the new curriculum design, and the accountability system are aligned, BCSD students and schools will achieve results that better reflect proficiency with the subject matter.”
Reach Brenda Rindge at 937-5713 or on Twitter @brindge.