PICKENS COUNTY — After receiving a positive progress report from the accreditation agency AdvancED, things might be looking up for the School District of Pickens County.
The 47-page AdvancED report came as a response to a December 2015 report filed by SDPC to the agency that was required after a March 2015 review showed a lack of progress.
According to SDPC Information Specialist John Eby, as a reflection of the progress made, AdvancED monitoring teams will no longer be sent into the district.
Of the main areas that had been listed by the agency as needing improvement, half directly related to the school board itself.
Listed as “Improvement Priority 1,” the SDPC Board of Trustees originally received the lowest rating of the five standards.
“The governance, or legislative leadership, of the district – the Board of Trustees, have rejected opportunities of training and working together to improve conditions in the district,” read the initial findings. “Members of the governing board reported themselves that not all of them share the vision of the district administration. Training offered by the state association is not attended for increased understanding of the defined roles and responsibilities as mandated by state statute. Their decisions and actions have not served the best interests of students because of a focus on finances beyond their role and responsibility.”
The newly released progress report tells a different story: “AdvancED acknowledges the tremendous commitment to addressing this (improvement priority),” the updated progress report states. “The school system has hosted two monitoring reviews and responded to findings from both … Congratulations on progress made and we celebrate with the students of the system.”
In addition to a more cohesive Board of Trustees, the report also indicated a need to properly maintain facilities, services and equipment and to systematically adjust curriculum, instruction and assessment throughout the district in response to assessments to students learning and examinations of professional practice.
“Showing progress on our board governance was key to earning this positive report,” said Dr. Danny Merck, SDPC superintendent. “I am extremely grateful for the very hard work our board has done to make sure our schools continue to be some of the best in the state.”
Reach Kasie Strickland at 864-855-0355.