CCSD students’ performance fairly steady despite pandemic

Published: Sep. 2, 2021 at 1:00 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 2, 2021 at 6:28 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Despite the pandemic, schools within Charleston County seem to be doing better than the state average. That’s according to the state report cards which were released Wednesday.

Karolyn Belcher, CCSD’s Chief Academic Officer, says the overall story is positive. She says while there are dips in performance, CCSD students are staying fairly steady. But, she says, there are areas that need improvement.

“Our challenge remains that some of our kids that were behind before COVID remain behind now,” Belcher says. “The gaps are even more exacerbated. So that’s really where our focus needs to be.”

According to the state report cards, 49 percent of CCSD students met or exceeded expectations compared to the state’s average of 43 percent. In math, those numbers were 47 percent compared to the state’s 37 percent. Belcher says, to get those numbers up, they’re hoping to use the federal ESSR funds.

“Making sure that we’re really leveraging the gift of the federal funding to make sure that we’re closing achievement gaps through things like extra tutoring programs after school, our summer enrichment program which just wrapped up and we anticipate doing something similar in the coming summer, so that we’re really using this time to accelerate instruction and close gaps,” Belcher says.

About 74 percent of students are college or career ready which Belcher says they’re really proud of.

“I think all of us worried that this group of students from last year and moving into this year would be behind,” Belcher says. “That doesn’t seem to be as true. We don’t have that. We have places where we really need to focus our energies but it is not a system-wide COVID gap.”

Belcher says they are seeing a difference though in certain groups.

“I think our students who come from economically disadvantaged families or economically disadvantaged parts of our community, they need more support because there are clear gaps between them and their more privileged peers,” Belcher adds. “I worry about our special needs students and our English language learners. We need to make sure that we’re providing more individualized support for those students.”

She adds they’re also putting in place additional tutoring programs after school and Saturday school to help the students who have fallen behind.

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