For Immediate Release: October 1, 2019
Taylor Fulcher, Chief of Staff
South Carolina Public Charter School District Charters are Fastest-Improving in the State
Since 2015, 23-point increase in graduation rate is tops among all districts
Columbia, South Carolina—This year, charter schools in the South Carolina Public Charter School District continued to improve, earning a 9-point gain in graduation rate—a rate which has now grown by 23 points since 2015, faster than any district in South Carolina. In 2019, 72.3% of students in SCPCSD charter schools graduated—a stark comparison to 2015, when only 48.9 % of students earned a diploma.
“We are so proud of our charter school leaders for their incredible improvement,” said John Payne, SCPCSD Board Chair. “Charter leaders know their students best and get to make their own decisions about how to use their dollars, teach their students, and support their teachers—our job is to create the conditions that support them in maximizing this autonomy, and SCPCSD-sponsored charter leaders are clearly putting this freedom to the best possible use for students and families.”
SCPCSD charter schools are demonstrating improvement in nearly every major category. With today’s Report Card release, 49% of schools in the SCPCSD are now rated “Excellent” or “Good”—up 13 points from last year’s 36%. Over the last three years, Math and English/Language Arts have improved each year, with six-point gains in English/Language Arts and four-point gains in Math. Compared to 2017-2018, English 1 and Algebra 1 End of Course scores have increased, and the percentage of College or Career Ready students rose from 68.5% to 72%.
In addition to the dramatically improved graduation rate and Report Card data, over the last two years, the SCPCSD has had two National Blue Ribbon Schools – Palmetto Scholars and York Prep Academy; has been named to the AP Honor Roll by the College Board for AP exam test score improvement and high participation rates; and consistently sponsors charters that rank in the state’s top ten in ACT and SAT scores. The SCPCSD—the only charter authorizer created by the General Assembly to improve student achievement and expand quality school choices—has also made dramatic gains in student diversity, from only 28% students of color in 2015 to 40% in 2019. “We are thrilled to share the awesome work of our charter schools and their leaders and teachers—they are the ones who are achieving historic gains in graduation rates and preparing more and more students to succeed in college and today’s workforce,” said Elliot Smalley, SCPCSD Superintendent.
The SCPCSD is the highest-achieving statewide authorizer of charter schools, with the fastest-growing graduation rate out of all districts in South Carolina since 2015. The SCPCSD oversees 35 public charter schools serving approximately 22,000 students across the state.