Education

Fort Mill schools top S.C. report cards. Results mixed in York, Chester, Lancaster County

Latest South Carolina report cards show mixed results for York, Chester and Lancaster County schools.

The 2019 school report cards were released Oct. 1 by South Carolina’s Department of Education and Education Oversight Committee.

The Fort Mill school district continues to be at the top compared to other districts in the region and state. Several local schools districts saw scores above South Carolina averages.

Report cards follow the format released last year.

School ratings -- excellent, good, average, below average and unsatisfactory -- are based on a 100-point scale that considers student performance on state and national tests, student progress and graduation rates, according to the South Carolina Department of Education. Points are totaled and ratings are assigned to individual schools based on their standing when compared to other schools in the state.

The top 15 percent of schools are ranked “excellent,” the next 20 percent “good,” the next 35 percent “average,” the next 20 percent “below average” and the lowest 10 percent are ranked “unsatisfactory,” The Herald previously reported.

Across the state, 77% of schools either maintained or improved last year’s rating, according to the education department.

For more report card data, visit screportcards.com and search by district or school.

School ratings factor test scores, student engagement, graduation rate and school quality, according to the education department. The rating also factors school safety and progress that English learners are making.

“While report cards present an opportunity for communities to learn what they can do to help students and schools, they are not the only measure of the success,” reads a statement from the state department. “Visiting schools and talking to parents, students, teachers and graduates can paint a more complete picture of the overall educational experience.”

For academic achievement, the report cards look at the percent of students in the district who scored “meets expectations” or “exceeds expectations” on the SC Ready for English Language Arts and math:

The cards also include the percent of students in the district who scored a C or higher on the end-of-course exams in English 1 and Algebra 1:

The report cards also include data on science and social studies scores.

Poverty level also is a factor to consider when looking at a school’s overall rating.

Fort Mill had 21.1% of students living in poverty, according to the 2019 report card. Rock Hill had 61.2%, York had 67.9% and Clover had 35.7% of students in poverty.

In the Chester County School District, 78.8% of students were living in poverty, according to the report card. In Lancaster County, that number is 55.1%.

Fort Mill

The Fort Mill School District had nine schools rated “Excellent,” five rated “Good,” and two rated “Average,” according to the report cards.

Both Nation Ford and Fort Mill High School were ranked “Excellent,” with respective scores of 75 and 80. Catawba Ridge High School is in its first year, so it’s not included in the 2018-’19 report cards.

Fort Mill’s elementary schools received a mix of “Excellent,” “Good” and “Average” ratings. All five of Fort Mill’s middle schools were ranked “Excellent.”

Fort Mill leads the state in percent of graduates enrolled in a two- or four-year college or technical school and has the highest percentage of students found to be “college and career ready” among traditional K-12 schools, according to the district.

Fort Mill also topped other regional districts for percent of students who scored “met or exceeds” on the S.C. Ready for English Language Arts and math, according to state report cards. The district, compared to others in York, Chester and Lancaster County, also had the highest percent of students score a C or higher on end-of-course exams in Algebra 1 and English 1.

“If you look at the academic indicators, each of our schools did very well. They all performed well above the state and national averages,” Jenny Overman, district spokesperson, said in a prepared statement.

Rock Hill

Cherry Park Elementary School of Language Immersion and the Sunset Park Center for Accelerated Studies in the Rock Hill school district both achieved “Excellent” ratings, according to the report cards.

Rock Hill had four elementary schools rank “Below Average” -- Ebinport Elementary, Independence Elementary, Mt. Gallant Elementary, Rosewood Elementary School. Rock Hill’s other elementary schools ranked “Good” and “Average.”

Saluda Trail Middle School, a S.T.E.A.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) school, and W.C. Sullivan Middle received “Below Average” scores, according to the report cards. Dutchman Creek Middle School was ranked “Good.” Castle Heights and Rawlinson Road Middle School were rated “Average.”

Rock Hill’s three high schools each were rated “Average.”

“Rock Hill Schools has more work to do, but overall the district is pleased with the achievements highlighted in this year’s S.C. Report Card,” reads a statement from Mychal Frost, spokesperson for the district. “We doubled the number of schools to be rated excellent, and we saw eight schools improve their overall rating in 2018-2019. Notably, four of our five middle schools improved their overall rating; middle school ratings improved by an average of seven points.”

All grades third through eighth saw their English Language Arts levels improve, Frost said in the statement. The district’s math scores in third and fourth grade, improved for two years in a row, can be attributed to additional support provided at elementary schools, he said.

English learners in Rock Hill also improved on last year’s progress, Frost said in the statement.

York

Cotton Belt Elementary and Hunter Street Elementary in the York school district both were ranked “Excellent,” with respective scores of 73 and 67, according to the report cards.

York Intermediate School achieved a score of 49 for an “Average” ranking and York’s other elementary schools were ranked “Good.” York Middle School ranked “Average” with a score of 46.

York Comprehensive High School ranked “Good” with a score of 60.

York’s percent of students who scored “met or exceeds” on the S.C. Ready for English Language Arts was lower than the state’s, according to the report card. However, that percent increased by 4.8% from 2017-’18, according to the district.

“York School District One is proud of the student growth demonstrated on this year’s report card, particularly in the area of literacy,” reads a statement from the district. “The district attributes this growth to the focused effort of our teachers as they continue to implement a Kindergarten through eighth-grade balanced literacy curriculum.”

The district’s percent for math was higher than the state’s, according to the report card.

“The district believes the sustainable school and district improvement is based on analyzing a variety of qualitative and quantitative data; the report cards represent only one set of these measures,” reads the statement. “Our principals, teachers, and support staff have worked tirelessly to increase academic achievement and provide innovative opportunities for our students.”

Clover

In Clover, Oakridge Elementary School was ranked “Excellent” with a score of 62, according to the report card. Larne Elementary School ranked “Below Average” with a score of 34.

Clover’s other elementary schools ranked “Good” and “Average.” Clover Middle School scored 46, or “Average.” Oakridge Middle School was ranked “Good” with a score of 49.

Clover High School received a “Good” rating with a score of 66.

Clover had a higher percent of students who scored “met or exceeds” on the S.C. Ready for English Language Arts and math than other districts in York, Chester and Lancaster County, except for Fort Mill. The same trend applies for the percent of students who scored a C or higher on end-of-course exams in Algebra 1 and English 1.

“High achievement scores continue to be the strength of our schools,” reads a statement from the district. “On average, Clover schools finished in the top four across the state of South Carolina in ELA and Math in the third through eighth grade.”

Multiple Clover schools saw growth in student progress. An “Average” rating in student progress means the students meet the profile of the S.C. graduate, according to the report card.

“We are pleased with the ‘Average’ growth ratings at Bethel, Kinard, Crowders, Oakridge Elementary, Oakridge Middle because it means that their students on average held their levels of achievement from the prior year,” reads a statement from the district. “Because our schools’ overall achievement is among the highest in the state, we want to ensure we at least hold that level year over year with their students.”

“We have some work to do to ensure that all of our elementary and middle schools hold or improve each student’s performance from year to year,” reads the statement.

Chester County

The Chester County School District had a mix of ratings from “Unsatisfactory” to “Excellent.”

The Chester Park Center of Literacy Through Technology ranked “Unsatisfactory” with a score of 27, according to the state report card. Chester Park Elementary School of the Arts had a “Below Average” score of 34.

Chester County’s other elementary schools ranked “Average,” except for Great Falls Elementary School, which received a “Good” rating.

Last year, Great Falls Elementary ranked “unsatisfactory” and was listed among the worst-performing schools in the state.

South Carolina identifies Comprehensive Support and Improvement schools every three years, The Herald previously reported. The group includes Title 1 schools that perform in the lowest 5 percent and any high school with a graduation rate of less than 70 percent.

Title 1 schools receive extra federal funds for low-income students, The Herald previously reported.

In the Chester County School District, 78.8% of students are living in poverty, according to the 2019 report card.

Great Falls Elementary is the only area Title 1 school to be included in the lowest performing 5 percent of all Title 1 schools in the state in last year’s report.

CSI schools are given a state transformation coach, a school needs assessment and money for school improvement, The Herald previously reported.

“We are proud of all the hard work put forth this past year by teachers, principals, and district staff, along with parents and the community, in our efforts to increase student achievement in the Chester County School (CCSD) District,” reads a statement from the district. “We plan to continue to work hard so that every school in the CCSD obtains positive ratings next year on the School Report Cards.”

Chester County middle schools each received “Good” and “Average” ratings except for Great Falls Middle School, which was ranked “Below Average,” according to the report card.

Lewiville High School scored 71 and was the only Chester County school to receive an “Excellent” rating, according to the report card. Chester High School received a “Below Average” score of 47 and Great Falls High School was ranked “Good” with a score of 61.

Lancaster County

Lancaster County School District elementary schools scored from “Unsatisfactory” to “Excellent.” Brooklyn Springs Elementary was ranked “Unsatisfactory” with a score of 20 and Clinton Elementary scored 31, also ranking “Unsatisfactory,” according to the report cards.

Buford Elementary, Harrisburg Elementary and McDonald Green Elementary all ranked “Excellent.” Lancaster’s other elementary schools ranked “Good” and “Average,” according to the report cards.

Indian Land Middle School ranked “Good” and Lancaster’s other middle schools ranked “Average.”

Indian Land High School achieved an “Excellent” score of 70, according to the report cart. Andrew Jackson High School and Buford High ranked “Good” and Lancaster High School ranked “Below Average” with a score of 44.

“The district graduation rate is higher than the state average for two years. Scores across the board are above or at state average,” Lancaster County Superintendent Jonathan Phipps said in a prepared statement. “The district has seen improvements with the STEAM initiative; it has helped us have a better focus on instructional practice.”

Best rated high schools:

  • Fort Mill High School, Fort Mill - Excellent, 80
  • Nation Ford High School, Fort Mill - Excellent, 75
  • Lewisville High School, Chester County - Excellent, 71
  • Indian Land High School, Lancaster County - Excellent, 70

Best rated middle schools:

  • Pleasant Knoll Middle School, Fort Mill - Excellent, 69

  • Springfield Middle School, Fort Mill - Excellent, 69

  • Banks Trail Middle School, Fort Mill - Excellent, 63

  • Fort Mill Middle School, Fort Mill - Excellent, 65

  • Gold Hill Middle School, Fort Mill - Excellent, 56

Best rated elementary schools:

  • Cotton Belt Elementary School, York - Excellent, 73

  • Tega Cay Elementary School, Fort Mill - Excellent, 72

  • Springfield Elementary School, Fort Mill - Excellent, 68

  • Hunter Street Elementary School, York - Excellent, 67

  • Sunset park center for accelerated studies, Rock Hill - Excellent, 65

  • Buford Elementary School, Lancaster County - Excellent, 63

  • Harrisburg Elementary School, Lancaster County - Excellent, 63

  • McDonald Green Elementary School, Lancaster County - Excellent, 63

  • Cherry Park Elementary School of Language Immersion, Rock Hill - Excellent, 62

  • Oakridge Elementary School, Clover - Excellent, 62

Public charter schools

Riverwalk, a K-9 public charter school in Rock Hill, received a “Below Average” rating for both elementary and middle school, according to the 2019 state report card.

Riverwalk’s report card includes the percent of students who scored “meets expectations” or “exceeds expectations” on the SC Ready for English Language Arts and math:

York Preparatory Academy is a public charter school in Rock Hill serving grades K-12.

For elementary school, York Prep received an “Average” rating on the 2019 state report card. For middle school, the rating is “Good” and for high school, the charter school was ranked “Excellent.”

York Prep’s report card includes the percent of elementary and middle school students who scored “meets expectations” or “exceeds expectations” on the SC Ready for English Language Arts and math:

York Prep’s report card also includes the percent of high school students who scored a C or higher on the end-of-course exams in English 1 and Algebra 1:

Legion Collegiate Academy, Rock Hill’s newest public charter school, was not open last year.

Related stories from Rock Hill Herald

Amanda Harris covers issues related to children and families in York, Chester and Lancaster County for The Herald. Amanda works with local schools, parents and community members to address important topics such as school security, mental health and the opioid epidemic. She graduated from Winthrop University.
Support my work with a digital subscription
SUBSCRIBE TODAY
  Comments