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Education: Another excellent year for Waccamaw schools

By Charles Swenson
Coastal Observer

Waccamaw Intermediate earned “Excellent” grades for achievement and growth for the fourth straight year in the state report cards issued this week. The report cards are based on standardized test scores and high school graduation rates.

All four Waccamaw schools were excellent overall. The elementary, middle and high schools had “Good” ratings for growth. The ratings reflect progress toward the state vision that by 2020 all students will graduate with the knowledge and skills to compete in the global economy, participate in a democratic society and contribute to their families and communities.

The school district received an “Excellent” overall rating for the second year in a row. It’s growth rating was “Good,” up from “Average” last year. The district’s graduation rate rose .1 percent to 86.2.

Patti Hammel, the district’s director of student performance, said the results reflect sustained growth in getting students ready for college and careers. “We are constantly looking at the ways we engage our students in learning to accelerate their progress,” she said.

Georgetown High and Carvers Bay High also earned “Excellent” grades for achievement and growth.

Coastal Montessori Charter School received an “Average” grade overall and was rated “At Risk” in growth, although this was the first state report card for the school. The school exceeded the average of schools with similar demographics in meeting the standards on state tests, but had fewer scoring at the highest levels.

Starting in the 2014-15 school year, the state will change its standardized tests to reflect the Common Core curriculum, which has been adopted by 45 states.

Those tests will place more emphasis on written answers that explain the student’s thought process.

The state hasn’t picked the actual test, but the district has boosted efforts in writing to make sure students are prepared, Hammel said.

Although there is still debate about Common Core at the state level, “all of it says the same thing: Our students need to read, write and do math at a higher level,” Hammel said.

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