CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - School districts throughout the Tri-County received glowing reviews in this year's State Report Card.
Berkeley County, Charleston County, and Dorchester District 1 and 2 school districts each received an "Excellent" absolute rating in the annual report. A district's absolute rating is determined by the percentage of students meeting standard on the state's standards-based assessments, passage rates on end-of-course assessments and exams, and graduation rates.
This year's state report card showed an improvement in Absolute Rating for Berkeley and Charleston County, which were rated "Good" in 2013, and DD4, which was rated "Average" in 2013.
State Superintendent of Education Dr. Mick Zais commended the overall improvement of South Carolina schools.
“I am pleased that students, teachers, administrators, and parents have contributed greatly to the improvements we've seen this year,” said Zais in a statement.
He went on to note the confusion between having separate state and federal report cards, as each use different performance measures. The two report cards will be combined in two years.
CCSD gets first ever "excellent" rating
The Charleston County School District accomplished a huge milestone.
The state's second largest school district nailed its first ever "excellent" rating after three straight years of getting a "good" on the state report card.
Friday's announcement didn't go without mentioning the work of former superintendent Dr. Nancy McGinley.
The high energy music lifted the excitement in the room school board meeting room.
"We are thrilled with these results," said Interim Superintendent Michael Bobby.
Chief Academic Officer, Lisa Herring said, "48,000 children every single day. We are clear about our mission."
Charleston County School District leaders couldn't wait to share the historic news.
Bobby said "For the first time ever, Charleston County School District received an absolute rating of excellent on the state report card."
To help achieve that rating, district leaders say they focused on reading, graduation rates, and improving their end of the year test scores.
"Dr. McGinley used to say, and we will continue to say "victory's in the classroom," said Bobby.
Nearly every speaker during the celebration acknowledged the work of former superintendent Dr. Nancy McGinley.
Bobby said to the crowd, "Want to publicly thank Dr. Nancy McGinley for steering this ship."
Charleston mayor Joe Riley said, "I congratulate Nancy and thank her for what she's done."
State Representative Wendell Gilliard felt the same way.
"I think she was trailblazing, she had a wonderful Chief Academic Officer working with her," said Gilliard.
School board member Michael Miller says he's proud of the academic gains. His next goal it to focus on diversity as the district continues to grow.
Miller said, "How are we doing with our achievement gap numbers? Children who live in poverty who are African American, Hispanic children, how are they doing? Are we moving them as well as the district?"
Local leaders agree that the momentum from the historic rating will serve as a building block to the future.
The report cards also revealed the number of "at risk" schools in Charleston County has dropped from 22 to 2 since 2007.
For a complete breakdown of the 2014 State Report Card,