School district earns ‘good’ rating on report card

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The Beaufort County School District earned its first-ever overall Good rating on 2013 School Report Cards issued today by the South Carolina Department of Education.

In addition, 2013 marked the first year since Report Cards were first published in 2001 that no district school was rated Below Average or At Risk.  All district schools were rated either Excellent, Good or Average.

District officials attributed the higher district rating to improved student achievement and increased on-time high school graduation rates.

“We won’t be satisfied until we see a rating of Excellent,” said Superintendent Jeff Moss.  “But improving to a Good rating is certainly reason to celebrate and to recognize the hard work of our students and educators.”

Nineteen of the district’s 31 schools were rated Good or Excellent, down from 22 the previous year. Looking at trend data, the number of schools rated Good or Excellent has increased from seven in 2009 to 19 in 2013 (25 percent to 61 percent).  The district uses 2009 as the base year for longer-term comparisons because South Carolina adopted a new statewide testing system for all students in grades 3-8.

Each South Carolina school and district receives a rating — Excellent, Good, Average, Below Average or At-Risk — based on student test scores.  Rating formulas are based on student achievement levels set by the Education Oversight Committee, created by the General Assembly to guide implementation of South Carolina’s Education Accountability Act of 1998.

Beaufort County’s 2013 ratings were boosted by generally higher elementary and middle school scores on Palmetto Assessment of State Standards (PASS) exams and by improved scores on high school exit and end-of-course exams.  In addition, the district’s four-year “on-time” high school graduation rate continued to improve.

Overall, the district had eight schools rated Excellent, 11 rated Good, and 12 rated Average.

Schools rated Excellent were Beaufort High, Bluffton High, Hilton Head Island International Baccalaureate Elementary, Hilton Head Island High, Okatie Elementary, Pritchardville Elementary and Riverview Charter School (elementary and middle grades).  Riverview is viewed as two “separate” schools for Report Card rating purposes because it serves both elementary and middle grades.

Schools rated Good were Battery Creek High, Beaufort Elementary, Beaufort Middle, Bluffton Elementary, Bluffton Middle, Coosa Elementary, Hilton Head Early Childhood Center, Hilton Head Island School for the Creative Arts, Michael C. Riley Elementary, Port Royal Elementary and Red Cedar Elementary.

Schools rated Average were Broad River Elementary, H.E. McCracken Middle, Hilton Head Island Middle, Joseph Shanklin Elementary, Lady’s Island Elementary, Lady’s Island Middle, Mossy Oaks Elementary, Robert Smalls Middle, St. Helena Elementary, Whale Branch Elementary, Whale Branch Middle and Whale Branch Early College High.

The district’s overall 2013 rating was Good, an improvement from its Average rating in 2012.  Its Absolute rating index (the numerical indicator on which letter grades are based) improved from 3.08 last year to 3.22 this year.