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Lexington Three responds to release of new state report cards

Batesburg-Leesville, SC - On Thursday, November 29th, the South Carolina Department of Education and Education Oversight Committee released new school and district report cards as part of the state’s merged state and federal accountability system. The 2018 report cards reflect school and district performance during the 2017-2018 school year and contain information on school safety, college and career readiness, classroom environment, and graduation rates, just to name a few of the indicators.

While all elementary, middle and high schools receive overall ratings under the new system, school districts do not. Instead, school districts receive a report card without ratings. This year, there are also no reports for primary schools. The ratings follow terms South Carolina public schools are familiar with from previous school rating systems: Excellent, Good, Average, Below Average and Unsatisfactory. However, while the rating terms look the same, state officials caution comparing school ratings from previous years.

“While previous systems looked exclusively at student achievement measures, the new system also looks at measures like student engagement and the progress English learners are making in learning the English language,” stated SC Education Oversight Committee (EOC) Chairman Neil Robinson. “I can’t overemphasize that this new system sets higher expectations for students, focusing on their preparedness for college and careers, not just their ability to graduate from high school.”

For Lexington County School District Three, the new report cards indicate areas of strength and identify areas where improvement is needed. In the Spring of 2018, Lexington Three proactively updated its five-year Strategic Plan in anticipation of these report card changes so that the district’s long-term goals would directly align with the new ESSA (Every Student Succeeds Act) accountability system. Therefore, the district is already using the information from these report cards to ensure that it is “Preparing Students for the Future … Now!” Lexington Three’s overall results are listed below.

B-L Elementary School - Overall Rating of “Average”

B-L Middle School - Overall Rating of “Good”

B-L High School - Overall Rating of “Below Average”

"We hope the state continues to explore more accurate methods of measuring the progress of students and schools while moving away from a comparative growth model. In its present form, we do not feel the report cards are a precise reflection of the great things happening in our schools. For example, B-L High School performed high in the School Quality and Graduation Rate indicators, but received an overall report card rating of Below Average. Without a doubt, the new system is a work-in-progress and adjustments need to be made to acknowledge the hard work that our dedicated staff and students put in on a daily basis. From Montessori and the School of Journalism in our lower grades, to our AVID Program and increased Dual Enrollment and Career and Technology offerings at our middle and high schools, we have seen the strides being made in Lexington Three and feel these opportunities are aligned with the Profile of the South Carolina Graduate," said Lexington Three Superintendent Dr. Randall Gary.

Full report cards for all schools and districts in the Palmetto state can be found by visiting SCReportCards.com. The SC Education Oversight Committee has also published a guide that’s very helpful in understanding the new report cards. It can be found here.

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