Channel 12, WRDW recently featured a story reporting that Strom Thurmond High School and J-E-T Middle School are on probation with the South Carolina Department of Education. South Carolina has two systems of Accreditation – South Carolina Department of Education and AdvancED. In February, Edgefield County School District received System Accreditation through AdvancED with a rigorous internal and external process that measures the quality of our district. Edgefield County School District was evaluated in the areas of leadership, curriculum, instruction and assessment. The district was recognized and accredited as a quality district.
The South Carolina Department of Education accreditation process focuses on a school district’s compliance to the state board regulations in the area of teacher certification. Two major factors impacted our District’s schools.
First, over five thousand teachers state wide left the profession last year and South Carolina’s teacher education programs in our State’s universities graduated just over seventeen hundred new educators. This difference causes in large part, our rural districts across the state to have a difficult time recruiting and retaining teachers.
The second factor to recognize is how the South Carolina Department of Education reports a school’s compliance. A school may have as few as three separate incidents of teachers with a technical certification issue over a three year period and be considered out of compliance. An example of a minor issue is a beginning teacher who is waiting to pass a required test to become certified. Another example is an experienced and talented teacher who is moved to a different position and is working on the new required certification.
Edgefield County School District is implementing a teacher recruitment and retention program that ensures all students continue to receive a quality education in Edgefield County. The district is actively addressing the teacher certification issues identified by the South Carolina Department of Education (SCDE). Once the district receives an “All Clear” from the SCDE regarding its compliance issues, the district’s AdvancED Accreditation is valid until 2022. Edgefield County School District will provide continuous updates as progress is made to ensure the community is informed.