Graduation Rate Rises Again 
By Alex Saitta 
December 7, 2013 
 
This is from a letter I sent to the local papers in late November. 
 
Academic performance in Pickens County continues to improve. In 2013, 86.1% of the students passed the math and English parts of the high school exit exam on the first attempt. Thatís our highest score since 1999.  
 
The on-time graduation rate has risen from 72.6% in 2011, to 75.2% in 2012 and to 76.8% in 2013 as the district marches toward its 5 year goal of 80%.  
 
In 2013, the percentage of students scoring at or above grade level on the PASS fell 0.5% of a point. That slight pullback followed a 2 point gain in 2012, so the current level is above 2011, 2010 and 2009. Elementary and middle school performance is rising too.  
 
This has all being done in a difficult economic period with tight budgets, where the district/ board has not raised tax rates, borrowed money or run down savings like surrounding school districts. With focused educational goals and sound financial management a district can get better academic performance and live within a budget. 
 
Credit goes to the former Superintendent Dr. Henry Hunt and the current leadership of Superintendent, Dr. Kelly Pew, curriculum director Sharon Huff and personnel director Stephanie Lackey, as well as the entire district office staff, the principals, teachers and all support areas of the system. When you look at innovation and thinking out of the box, I would say the curriculum effort is leading the way on that.  
 
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