State Report Cards: Richland 2 ‘Excellent’ with Mixed Results

BLYTHEWOOD – The Richland 2 School District maintained its second straight absolute rating of Excellent with a growth rating holding at Good, according to state report card data released last week by the S.C. Department of Education.

The District’s attendance rate clocked in at 97.3 percent, compared to 95.7 percent in similar districts. Enrollment in Advanced Placement courses slipped somewhat to 23 percent in 2013 from 23.9 percent in 2012. The percentage of students seeing success in those courses was also down from 2012, to 67.4 percent in 2013 from 71.1 percent a year ago. The District’s dropout rate, meanwhile, held at 1.6 percent. The percentage of teachers holding advanced degrees grew slightly, to 71.9 percent in 2013 from 71.8 percent last year. The percentage of classes not taught by highly qualified teachers was down from a year ago, from 4.6 to 3.9 percent.

The shining star among local elementary schools continues to be Bethel-Hanberry, which saw its absolute and growth rating hold at Excellent for the third consecutive year. Round Top also earned its third straight Excellent absolute rating, while its growth rating went from two years of Excellent to Good in 2013. Likewise, Lake Carolina Elementary showed its third absolute rating of Excellent in a row, while its growth rating also went form two years at Excellent to Good in 2013. Langford Elementary earned its second straight absolute rating of Good, still down from its 2011 rating of Excellent. Its growth rating slipped, however, to Below Average after two consecutive years at Good.

Local middle schools showed some drop off in 2013, with Blythewood Middle School’s absolute rating falling from Excellent in 2011 and 2012 to Good in 2013, while its growth rating plummeted from Excellent in 2011 and 2012 to Below Average in 2013. Kelly Mill Middle School saw its absolute rating return to its 2011 grade of Average after having climbed to Good in 2012, while its growth rating fell drastically from two years of Average to At-Risk in 2013. Muller Road Middle School maintained its absolute rating of Average for the second year in a row (there was no data for the school in 2011), while its growth rating improved from Below Average in 2012 to Average in 2013.

Westwood High School, only a year old, generated no overall report card from the Department of Education. However, the Department did have available the WHS graduation rate, which came in at 77.1 percent in 2013. That number compares favorably with similar schools, which turned in a graduation rate of 75.2 percent in 2013.

Blythewood High School earned its third consecutive absolute rating of Excellent in 2013, with a growth rating that moved from two years at Good to Excellent this year. The high school’s passing rate of 94.5 percent, however, is less than the 96.1 percent of similar schools. The BHS on-time graduation rate came in at 87 percent in 2013, compared to 86.7 percent at similar schools.