Rock Hill schools on right track, audit says

Rock Hill school board members took a look Monday at how the district is doing in the eyes of a specialized consultant who has said its schools are on the right track.

The board received an update on a special audit that was commissioned a year ago to determine how well the district is doing in educating students -- something consultant Don Thomas said is not always easy to figure out.

"In the private sector it's very simple," Thomas said in an earlier interview. "They either make a profit or they don't." Doing a good job at education is not so clear cut.

The audit shows where the district is in different categories, where it ought to be compared to districts with similar demographics and where it would be if it was doing "exemplary."

The categories include state and national test scores, attendance rates, teacher absences, enrollment in AP course and the drop-out rate.

The district did better on national tests, which tend to have a broader focus, and struggled more on state tests that target specific nuggets of information.

"I'm predicting that in this district three years from now in most categories, they will be in the exemplary level," Thomas said.

Harriet Jaworowski, an associate superintendent, presented some of Thomas' recommendations to the board on Monday.

Many of his suggested improvements are practices the district already has begun, such as disclosure documents that tell parents what their kids are learning, a summer program to help rising freshmen transition to high school and an alternative school for expelled students.

"It sort of supported the things we thought we should be doing," Jaworowski said.

The district goes back to the audit every year to look for changes.

Also at Monday's meeting the school board:

• Approved the hiring of Bill Mabry as the new associate superintendent of administrative services. John Hair, who holds that job, is retiring at the end of the year.

• Received an update on the timeline for reassigning students for the 2008-2009 school year.