MYRTLE BEACH — Schools have received last academic year’s report cards based on a variety of factors — including academic performance and safety — but COVID-19 prevented some categories from being graded.
South Carolina schools closed in mid-March as the coronavirus pandemic swept through the state. The U.S. Department of Education waived certain statewide assessments, resulting in schools having no academic achievement scores, or end-of-course test results, on S.C. report cards for the 2019-2020 academic year.
Though the pandemic stood in the way of some categories on report cards, other categories’ scores are still provided, including school safety reports, graduation rates and English Learners’ progress reports.
In both Horry and Georgetown counties, high school graduation rates were a mixed bag, some showing improvement, while others dipped. On the safety side, the Post and Courier Myrtle Beach found Horry County Schools’ middle schools had the highest amount of bullying cases during the 2019-2020 academic year, while high schools in the county had more than 3,700 out-of-school suspensions and HCS elementary schools had 3,209 in-school suspensions.
While some graduation rates declined at Grand Strand high schools, others seemed to improve from the 2018-19 academic year. Schools in Horry County with the highest graduation percentage were HCS Early College (98.9 percent) and Aynor High (89.9 percent) and the lowest were 80 percent at Loris High and 63.4 at Palmetto Academy of Learning Motorsports, report cards show. In Georgetown County, Waccamaw High had the highest graduation percentage at 93.7 percent, followed by Andrews High at 86 percent, Carvers Bay at 84.8 and Georgetown at 84.3.
State report cards also show an English Learners’ Progress chart, stating the goal is for students learning in the English language to be proficient in English within at least 5 years of enrolling in public schools. Carolina Forest High had the highest rating on the Grand Strand. Figures were not available for Aynor, Green Sea Floyds, HCS Early College, PALMS, Carvers Bay and Waccamaw high schools.
As growth continues in Horry County, Carolina Forest High had 2,615 students last academic year — the most of any high school in the county — while the least amount of students could be found at Green Sea Floyds High, HCS Early College and Palmetto Academy of Learning Motorsports.
Georgetown and Waccamaw high schools led Georgetown County with the most amount of students enrolled at the high school level.
In addition to academics and being college or career ready, school report cards also list a student safety section. Data is reported in the Incident Management System and includes the number of specific incidents — like cases involving a firearm and incidents of sexual assault — on school grounds.
St. James and Loris high schools were the only public high schools in Horry County to have incidents involving a firearm during the 2019-2020 academic year, according to the Incident Management System. The two high schools were also the only ones across Horry County Schools to have incidents of possession of a firearm or explosive.
Myrtle Beach and Conway high schools were the only high schools in the county with incidents of sexual assault.
Carolina Forest High had the highest number of incidents of physical attack without a weapon and the highest number of incidents of threats of physical attack without a weapon across county schools last academic year. In total at HCS’ 11 high schools, there were 43 incidents of physical attack without a weapon and 96 incidents of threats of a physical attack without a weapon.
Loris High had the most in-school suspensions and Carolina Forest High had the highest amount of out-of-school suspensions. Conway High had the highest amount of students expelled. Myrtle Beach High had the highest number of school-related arrests and referrals to law enforcement. The following figures show the number of disciplinary actions taken at Horry County Schools’ high schools:
- In-school suspensions: 7,896
- Out-of-school suspensions: 3,763
- Students expelled: 90
- School-related arrests and referrals to law enforcement: 138
Across HCS high schools, 14 bullying incidents were reported, with Palmetto Academy of Learning Motorsports having the most incidents.
Georgetown County high schools had one incident involving a firearm during the 2019-2020 school year that was reported at Georgetown High, according to the IMS. One incident of sexual assault was reported at Carvers Bay High School.
Waccamaw High had the most incidents of physical attack without a weapon involved in the county, with four reported. Georgetown High followed with three incidents of physical attack without a weapon, Carvers Bay High had one report and Andrews High had none.
Georgetown High had the highest number of “incidents of threats of physical attack w/out weapon.” The IMS reports 14 at Georgetown High, ten at Andrews High and five at Carvers Bay High. No reports of those types of incidents were reported at Waccamaw High during the 2019-2020 academic year.
Georgetown High also had the highest amount of in-school suspensions, while Carvers Bay High had the most out-of-school suspensions. Georgetown High had seven incidents of bullying and harassment, Andrews High had four, Carvers Bay had 4 and Waccamaw High had one.
Report cards showed no data for nearly half of Horry County middle schools under the English Learners’ Progress report. The data provided indicated Blackwater Middle had the highest percentage, while Loris and Ten Oaks middle schools had the lowest.
When it comes to school safety, Whittemore Park Middle was the only middle school in the county with an incident involving a firearm and Conway Middle was the only school where two sexual assaults were reported.
Middle schools had a total of 88 reported bullying incidents, with Myrtle Beach Middle reporting the most across the county. There were 6,078 in-school suspensions and 2,723 out-of-school suspensions in Horry County middle schools last year.
Georgetown Middle School had the largest student population last academic year, with Carvers Bay Middle being the smallest.
Georgetown Middle was the only middle school in the county with an English Learners’ Progress report. The school received a 40.9 percent.
The safety portion of the report card indicated Georgetown Middle had the most out-of-school suspensions (412) and threats of physical attacks without a weapon (11). Rosemary Middle had 186 in-school suspensions, which was the highest in the county.
Carvers Bay Middle was the only middle school in Georgetown County to have a report of a physical attack without a weapon.
Overall, there were 835 out-of-school suspensions in Georgetown County middle schools, 183 in-school suspensions, 32 threats of physical attacks without a weapon, 26 cases of bullying.
Just more than 15.4 percent of the 20,830 HCS elementary school students received an in-school suspension (3,209 cases), which equates to one in every 6.4 kids. There were 314 at Loris Elementary, while Waccamaw Elementary had 310 and both St. James Intermediate and Waterway each had 265.
In addition, 7.1 percent were handed an out-of-school suspension, or 1,488 cases. Loris was again the worst offender with 159 cases, while Waccamaw was close behind with 151.
There was only one school at the HCS elementary school level to have zero cases, Palmetto Academy.
According to the data released on Friday, HCS had 30 cases of bullying at the elementary school level.
At the HCS elementary school level, the student-to-teacher ratio is 15.3-to-1.
In Georgetown County, 9.7 percent of the 3,957 elementary school students received an out-of-school suspension, or 385 cases. Andrews Elementary registered 135 cases, while Maryville Elementary had 83.
The county was much less likely to hand out an in-school suspension, with only 2.3 percent receiving one. Andrews Elementary again led the district with 58 cases.
GCSD recorded 22 cases of bullying at the elementary school level.
The student-to-teacher ratio 13.6-to-1 in Georgetown County.