S.C. d⁠i⁠s⁠t⁠r⁠i⁠c⁠t⁠ has plans ⁠t⁠o ge⁠t⁠ schools back on ⁠t⁠rack

December 3, 2023

Bryce Fiedler

CALN Founding Member & CALN Board of Directors Secretary

After several of its schools received low marks on their 2022-23 report cards, the Orangeburg County School District (OCSD) has formalized plans to improve academic performance and get them back on track. The plans were first reported in a story by the Orangeburg-based Times and Democrat. 

Four elementary schools and four high schools in the district received scores of either “unsatisfactory” or “below average,” prompting steps for improvement.

To turn things around, the district is pursuing changes to increase academic support for students, improve access to testing and exam workshops, and put a bigger emphasis on dual enrollment and career readiness, among other measures.

From the article:

“I hope we are going to be very intentional about our plans and that we are going to monitor them and do follow-ups,” OCSD Vice Chair Dr. Debora Brunson said. She stressed the importance of consistently monitoring the improvement plans and ensuring they are being implemented as intended.

The plans seemingly highlight a broader local initiative to bolster student performance, which shows promising signs. For the 2022-23 school year, five Orangeburg schools earned a rating of “good” (up from three the year prior), while 15 schools earned a rating of “average” (up from 10 the year prior). Year over year, the district’s total number of “below average” or “unsatisfactory” school ratings decreased by seven.

Speaking on the recent progress, district Superintendent Dr. Shawn D. Foster said, “these [outcomes] emphasize our academic strategies’ positive impact on our students.” 

In October, OCSD held an annual Awards Banquet to celebrate local stories of academic achievement. The event honored 54 students across elementary, middle and high schools who received perfect scores on the SCREADY test and end-of-course exams.  

Two students from W.J. Clark Middle School showed off their piano skills to banquet attendees. Kaori Jamison played her interpretation of Bach’s “Air on the G String,” while Cameron Rivers performed a rendition of George Gershwin’s “I’ve Got Rhythm.” The banquet can be watched in full here

The district’s latest improvement plans will need to be approved by the S.C. Department of Education, after which the county superintendent and school board will have to provide annual updates on their progress.