Friday, December 6, 2013
Members of the Dorchester District 2 Board of Trustees heard a report from Assistant Superintendent of Schools Sean Alford Monday, Dec. 2, on the outstanding success of the district’s effort to increase the number of students in advanced studies.
Alford began by asking the board what is the normal expectation for test scores if a district’s student population increases. They responded that the scores would be expected to go down. He then asked what would be the expectation if the number of free/reduced lunch students increased and, again, they responded that the scores should go down.
However, said Alford, in DD2, the number of students have risen from 17,000 in 2002/03 to 23,378 in 2012/13 and the free/reduced numbers have doubled – from 28 percent to 44 percent – per student expenditures have remained relatively consistent, certainly since 2007, and against all odds, the drop out rate has decreased from a high of 6.1 percent to 1.3 percent and the graduation rate has increased from 77 percent to 81 percent.
A phenomenal success story, he said.
But that’s not all. Enrollment in Honors, Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) classes as well as dual enrollment (college classes while in high school) has gone from 7,900 in 2011/12 to 10,232 in 2023/14.
The percentage of students scoring a 3 or better in the AP exams has risen 4 percent in three years.
It gets even better, he went on. Algebra 1 enrollment in middle school has gone from 50 to 172 in seventh grade and from 209 to 360 in eighth grade. Geometry enrollment in middle school has gone from 64 to 101 and Gifted And Talented (GATE) students have increased from 2101 to 2445.
Alford repeatedly credited the Superintendent Joe Pye’s and the district’s mission of “leading the way, every student, every day” as the reason DD2 is so successful.
South Carolina also leads in advanced studies as one of 32 states that mandates services, one of 24 that fund Gifted and Talented, one of 16 states allowing middle schoolers to earn high school credit and one of 29 states allowing dual enrollment, amongst other things.