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Jasper County Schools Are 'At Risk', Beaufort County Schools Rated 'Good'

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Jasper County, S.C. -

The mood at Bluffton High School is celebratory, after hearing that the Beaufort County School District is rated ‘Good' overall on its annual state report card. However, not all Low country districts can say the same.

Beaufort County Superintendent Jeff Moss acknowledged the district's improvement, stating "We won't be satisfied until we see a rating of Excellent. But improving to a Good rating is certainly reason to celebrate and to recognize the hard work of our students and educators."

For Bluffton High Principal Mark Dievendorf, it's hard work that is paying off. His school has some honors of its own, too.

"We are privileged to receive an absolute rating of ‘Excellent' for the second year in a row," Dievendorf says.

He gives credit to the school's Academic Achievement Improvement Plan. He says this plan features things like the writing initiative, which gives students practice writing essays for the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT).

"Our student achievement has been incrementally growing in the long term, in a sustainable way, because we've been getting at the root of our students' needs," Dievendorf says.

However, the Jasper County School District's report card shows an ‘At Risk' rating.

The report card shows ‘at risk' ratings from 2009 to 2013, with this year's total points adding to 27.3 out of a possible 100. That's a decrease from last year's 39.5 points.

It also shows the percentage of students who did not meet state standards in English/Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, Social Studies, and Writing, exceeded the amount who did meet standards.

Superintendent Dr. Vashti Washington said, "We are not where we ought to be academically, but with patience, consistency, and determination, the Jasper County School District will live  the dream."

Washington says all schools are rated higher in terms of growth. She says Hardeeville Elementary increased from ‘Below Average' to ‘Average,' Ridgeland Elementary increased from ‘At Risk' to ‘Average,' Ridgeland Middle School went from ‘At Risk' to "Average,' and Ridgeland-Hardeeville High School went from ‘At Risk' to ‘Excellent.'

However, Washington says their learning plan of action must be implemented from here, so that they can improve in 2014.

"We salute the teachers, students, parents, administrators, and support staff for the intense work involved in providing an environment where learning is center stage. To our parents, we ask that you continue to support your children and our schools; your child's future depends on it. To our community, the school district needs you," Washington says.

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