COLLETON COUNTY, S.C. (WCSC) - The state department of education has released their annual school report cards, detailing the performance of schools and districts.
While the report gives school districts a chance to see areas they improved, it also shows how they fell short.
Keeping teachers in schools has been a problem for Colleton County, much like across the state.
This year’s report card shows that although salaries increased, the number of teachers staying in the district are still low.
The total number of teachers working in the district is 357, down from 358 in last year’s report. The percentage of teachers continuing their contract went down from 67 to 60.5 percent.
The average teacher salary is $45,722, up from $44,931 in 2018’s report card.
Colleton County School Board member William Bowman Jr says he’s heard from teachers that some of the reasons are because they aren’t happy with how the district is being run and the salaries may still be too low.
“We do the best that we can with getting teachers to be employed with Colleton County School District,” Bowman said. “One of the things that we did this year is we had to adhere to the salary increase that the state mandated for us.”
According to Bowman, teachers also had concerns about student safety.
This school year’s report card shows that there were 66 incidents of threats of physical attack without a weapon and 40 incidents of bullying and harassment within the school district.
Bowman says they’re making changes that could help teachers deal with these issues.
“We did an allocation to increase security at our schools by installing more cameras and we revamped our teaching framework to show our teachers how they can apply our student code of conduct consequences. We’re also training our principals how to systemically apply consequences to issues in our schools,” Bowman said.
All Colleton County schools improved in at least one category and all of them had gains in student engagement, according to the recent report card.
The district says they will take the information from the report card and see what they can do better within the district.
In a news release a spokesperson for the district said, “As part of our continuous improvement journey, we will utilize the information found on the report card to develop a plan to provide differentiated support for schools, enhance our focus on data analysis, implement the best practices to support student learning, and collaborate with our stakeholders on areas needing improvement.”