State Report Cards - Results
District 56: One of the State’s Top 15.
Issuing State Report Cards touched off a celebration last Tuesday for the Clinton-Joanna schools of District 56.
“Could I have not called us together? Sure,” Superintendent Dr. David O’Shields said. “(But we wanted to say) Thank You, you do not get told that often enough.”
O’Shields said the administration has known for some time that District 56 would be ranked as one of the 15 best school districts in the state (out of 81 districts). But state embargoes on the information prevented its official release, which happened Oct. 1.
“This is an exciting time,” O’Shields said. “For some time, we’ve known, but because of state embargoes, today is a day of celebration in this little corner of the universe that we call Clinton. How our students did on 2018-19 report cards, it’s no small feat that it is on your shoulders.
“Everyone worked together to be what we are today.”
The assembled faculty received T-shirts - the District’s 6 schools are named in a different shade of red surrounded by key terms defining #TheExperienceMatters, district theme for 2019-20. All employees will be given the commemorative shirts.
O’Shields said it starts with the MS Bailey Child Development Center, “the start by which the three elementary school are given the first leg of the relay and the baton hand-off. We see in readiness, distinct improvements that benefit the elementary schools.”
In 2017, 27.8% of MS Bailey students demonstrated readiness to move to 5K - in 2019, that figure was up to 59.5% demonstrating readiness. “They have a community,” O’Shields said of the Bailey Bears. “That’s all of them (contributing to the success).”
At Clinton Elementary, student progress goes from good to excellent, and the overall rating is excellent. O’Shields said, “One of the few schools in the state that earned an excellent rating.”
At Eastside Elementary, student engagement maintained its level - Average - “which means you’re where you’re supposed to be,” O’Shields said. “We are making the gains necessary.”
The superintendent said he was hurrying through his 3:30 p.m. presentation so the Eastside faculty and staff could prepare for their Literacy Luau.
At Joanna Woodson Elementary School, academic achievement went from below average to average, and student engagement went from below average to excellent. O’Shields said, “Average is where they should be, (we are) moving students at the pace they need to move.”
Of Clinton Middle School, O’Shields said, “We see academic achievement, and you know middle school is tough.” CMS went from below average to average in student progress, and overall from unsatisfactory to average.
“Comfortably in the Average category - in the mid to upper range - from Unsatisfactory (last year),” O’Shields said. The State Department of Education provided the school an academics coach following its unsatisfactory rating.
“Clinton High School is graded somewhat differently. Maureen Tiller and company went from average to good in graduation rate, and in job readiness from average to good.
“It is one of the few high schools in the state rated as Good,” O’Shields said. Tiller is becoming the first principal of the new Fountain Inn High School, and Dr. Martha Brothers now leads the faculty and staff at Clinton High School.
O’Shields said, “My intention was to have an Avengers theme. That is what would have been my idea for a shirt - it didn’t work. Our experience with the students matters.
“We have competition. Next year, we’re going to have more, and we will have further competition clamoring for the hearts of our students. But we know, if left alone, we can teach out students better than anyone else because we know our students better than anyone else.”
In District 56‘s education consortium, only two other districts have what the Clinton-Joanna Schools have - 0 schools in the below average or unsatisfactory rating. Those districts are Anderson 3 and Lexington 3.
O’Shields told the assembled faculty, “The efforts you and your students did last year and will do this this year made all the difference - with our students and the issues I know you deal with (poverty). ... There ain’t but 15 of us and the stakes get higher every year. We achieve at and far above.
“If we just get out of your way, you will do what’s right for our students. Please be proud of who you are, please be proud of the title of teacher. ... As you leave, we have ice cream. Get some you some ice cream and scream for the talents you have.”