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COPE - A strong focus on English language arts and mathematics paid off this year in Orangeburg Consolidated School District 4.

Penny Sturgill, chief academic officer for grades K4-6, told OCSD4 trustees at a recent workshop that students made gains across the board in both areas on this year’s SC Ready assessment.

Two schools showed significant improvement in ELA, she said. Branchville Middle School moved up from 31.08 percent to 41.06 percent over last year while Lockett Elementary School improved from 36.0 to 47.9 percent.

In mathematics, only one school showed a slight decline, said Sturgill. All the rest made improvements, Sturgill said.

On the other hand, students across the district dropped by about 2 percent in science on the SC Pass test, she noted. The district also failed to show improvement in social studies, Sturgill said.

Only Lockett Elementary and Hunter-Kinard-Tyler middle and high schools improved in science while Branchville High School and Carver-Edisto Middle School showed improvement in social studies, she said.

Last year, the district focused strongly on improving ELA because it was believed that if students could read well, they could do everything else well, Interim Superintendent Dr. Lana Williams said.

That focus also showed up with improvements in English I in every school, she said. But high school students lost points in biology, basically because the standards changed, Williams said. Students across the state dropped, she noted.

Except for Edisto High School and H-K-T, the district also dropped in social studies.

“We can’t just focus on one area,” Williams said. “We’re going to have to become masters of all.”

In other business, the administration reported that three of the four days students missed because of the hurricane will be made up on Oct. 23, Dec. 21 and Jan. 7.

Oct. 23 was previously scheduled to be a parent conference/report card issue day, and students were to be out of school. Now, students will attend classes but be released early, and parent/teacher conferences will be scheduled from 2-5 p.m.

Dec. 21 was the day established for a makeup day for inclement weather on the original calendar. Jan. 7, previously scheduled as a professional development day for faculty and staff, will now be a regular school day.

All schools are required by law to make up the first three days missed due to the weather while the board can excuse the next three.

Williams told trustees that the school district family has collected two rooms full of donations for the Marlboro County School District, which was hit hard by Hurricane Florence. A truck will be coming to pick up the non-perishable items, she said.

Contact the writer: dlinderaltman@gmail.com.

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