Anderson School District One working to improve test scores

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By David Meade
During their meeting Tuesday, Anderson School District One Board members heard a report on district test scores, chose delegates for the delegate assembly later this year and heard a presentation on the architectural designs for new Palmetto Middle and Wren Middle Schools.
District One Finance Director Travis Thomas reported that Anderson County took in $2,167,000 from the Local Option Sales Tax in June. District One received 31 percent of that, or $674,942 in August, Thomas said.
Of that , $134,988 went to property tax relief and $539,954 to capital projects fund. The fund balance has $2,459,000 in it, according to Thomas.
In her report, Superintendent of Instruction Jane Harrison told the Board that District One has been celebrating state test scores which saw an increase in ELA and are above the state average in all areas and grade levels.
The testing includes ELA, Math, Science and Social Studies.
“We do very well in science,” she said, but even at 81 percent the District could be ranked 120 out of 400 districts across the state.
Harrison said that Social Studies at 80 percent. “We are working our way back up. We can’t stay status quo.”
To help improve Elementary school test scores, Harrison said the District has implemented a more rigorous reading program, guided match and professional development.
They are also providing reading coaches and planning and taking advantage of state department providing professional development instruction.
In Middle schools, the District is implementing Read 180, Fusion Intervention and Differentiated instruction for all, math instruction for teachers and professional development.
At the District Office level, District One is providing instruction and direction with Professional Development, Professional Learning Communities and Response to Intervention.
Harrison also recognized Wren Middle School for receiving first place in a national yearbook contest through the American Scholastic Press Association.
Assistant Superintendent Dr. Kelly Pew presented the Nutrition Program Report. Pew said meals served is up and adult meals served are up.
The program served 2400 boxed salads which she said “are very popular.”
She reported that the District will not be participating in the Community Eligibility Program (CEP) this year. The program provides free breakfast and lunches.
Only one school in the District meets the 40 percent requirement and the program would cost the District money if continued, Dr. Pew said. The nutrition program could see a $500,000 decrease in expenses and revenues associated with the program.
The Nutrition Program currently has a $2 million fund balance, but no expenses have come out of it yet. According to Pew, the financial report has changed with monthly expenses being paid in the month received instead of the month incurred.
The Board was asked to approve a resolution stating District One will not be participating in the program, which they did 6-0. Board member David Merritt was not present.
The Board also approved Pat Cox, Dr. Doug Atkins, Mike Wilson and Melissa Hood to serve as delegates for the delegate assembly in November.
The following personnel recommendations were also approved:
Leave – Lorin Benjamin, Fifth grade West Pelzer Elementary; Melissa Collins, K4 Hunt Meadows Elementary; Bethany Olmstead, K5, Spearman Elementary; Joanna Watkins, Media Specialist, Palmetto High.
Resignation – April Blackston, Fifth Grade, Hunt Meadows Elementary.
Retirement – Sheila Daughtry, Kindergarten, Cedar Grove Elementary.
Scott Powell, Principal Vice President with Craig Gaulden and Davis Architectural Firm in Greenville presented designs and information on a proposed phased construction of new Palmetto Middle and Wren Middle Schools.
The two designs are very similar and will be phased replacement of current aging facilities.
Superintendent Robbie Binnicker stated that the District began looking at the building program over one year ago.
“They worked unbelievably hard to hear the district, with lots of input into this process,” Binnicker said.
(See separate story)