Look past the numbers

Published 6:30 pm Friday, October 28, 2016

At a recent Beaufort County Board of Education meeting, a small group of schools presented their plans for improvement.

Labeled as low performing, S.W. Snowden Elementary School, Chocowinity Middle School, Southside High School and Washington High School all received ‘D’ ratings as part of their school performance grades for the 2015-2016 school year.

While these schools are required to present improvement plans to the Board of Education, the presentations spoke to something much bigger than state ratings.

Sure, the state Department of Public Instruction may view these schools are low performing, but the more important factor to consider is their attempts at improvement.

Numbers on a spreadsheet simply do not tell the whole story. There are many positive things happening at these schools — and all over the county.

An example of this is found at S.W. Snowden. Although the school scored a ‘D’ rating, it actually improved from an ‘F’ the previous year. Students also scored higher on reading and science proficiency exams, and the school’s growth is on the uptick.

Not only that, S.W. Snowden is working hard outside of test scores, too. With the creation of the social media campaign #SnowdenStrong, the school is building relationships within its own walls and strengthening bonds. Students and staff are also becoming more involved in community activities.

These positive aspects are true of the other schools, as well. Chocowinity Middle students have shown growth on some of their exams, and the school has partnered with outside organizations to host STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) activities and tour the community college. Southside High showed improvement on ACT scores and is working hard to incorporate technology into the classroom. Washington High boasts a strong bond between students, staff and parents, who are committed to success.

There are good things happening in the Beaufort County school district, and rather than only taking a face-value glimpse at the data, it’s important to look deeper at what’s really happening.