Sumter County School Board Hears State of Schools

Published 8:25 pm Tuesday, March 19, 2024

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The Sumter County School Board met on March 11th. Renee Mays, principal of Sumter County Primary School, reported to the Board. Mays gave the STAR early literacy data for kindergarten, with 98 students starting out at urgent intervention, and with 120 students currently at or above the benchmark.

There were some students in first grade that were still taking the STAR early literacy test, designed for kindergarten, the precursor to the STAR literacy test. Out of 124 students tested for STAR early literacy in first grade, 27 students were urgent and 29 were above the benchmark. The final test showed 22 students were urgent intervention and 26 at the benchmark.

143 first graders took the STAR reading test. 29 students tested at the beginning level, and 46 at distinguished. Currently, 33 were at the beginning level and 46 were distinguished.

Students must make a high enough grade on their STAR early literacy test to move on to STAR literacy. Mays mentioned that readers volunteered from the colleges and Kiwanis. Hamilton commented. “Half of our kids are reading a year behind.” Mays concurred. “They are.”

Sumter County Elementary School Principal Teira Wallace presented next. She noted an increase in third grade distinguished learners.

She gave the first semester course subject pass rate: Reading: 74% passing in second grade, 80% third grade, 76% in ELA in both grade levels. Math was 83% pass rate in second grade, 67% pass rate for math in third grade, and social studies 100% in both grade levels.

Star early literacy for second grade started with 21 students, now only 5. For third grade, they started with five, and now all have graduated out of STAR early literacy.

Dr. Mohan Gugulothu, Principal of Sumter County Intermediate School, gave the STAR reading results, stressing the importance of STAR results due to their high correlation with the milestones test. STAR reading for 4th grade at urgent intervention went from 53% to 50%. For 5th grade, urgent intervention dropped from 54% to 50%. For 6th grade, beginning learners were 55%, but are now 54%. Hamilton mentioned that half of the kids were still either two or more grade levels behind.

Sumter County Middle School Principle Dr. Calvin Poole presented to the Board. In math, at the beginning of the year, he stated that for 7th grade, 60% of students were three or more grade levels below, 17% were two or more grade levels below, and 20% were one grade level below. For eighth grade at the beginning of the year, 58% of students were three or more grade levels below, 17% were two or more grade levels below, and 21% were one grade level below.

Calvin presented middle of the year data. For 7th grade, 49% of students were three or more grade levels below, 18% were two or more grade levels below, and 26% were one grade level below. For eight grade middle of the year testing, 51% of students were three or more grades below, 17% were two or more grades below, and 23% were one or more grades below.

Dr. Marnie Dutcher, Sumter County High School Principle, reported to the Board. Dutcher reported that 52% of seniors are developing and above. Dutcher reported they had a winner at the RESA young authors in the 11th grade, and a tenth grade runner up.

She also reported that students were working in the greenhouse and building greenhouse, learning how to fill out job applications, and that English learners were dialoguing with Spanish learners. Dutcher also mentioned that 91 students are dual enrolled in college. She mentioned that all other student infractions have decreased, but not cellphones, with the new cell phone policy responsible for high numbers overall.