DD2 students set Academic Awards district record

Dorchester School District Two reports that students from Ashley Ridge High, Fort Dorchester High and Summerville High broke the district record for most academic letters and medals in a year!

Here are some results of the Academic Awards celebrations for the 2016-2017 school year:

  • A total of 1,105 sophomores, juniors and seniors earned Academic Awards this year, setting a district record. Last year, there were 973 honorees.
  • There were 267 students who received the Board of Trustees Award for earning an A in every subject.
  • Including this year’s recipients, 13,000 Academic Awards have been presented to district students since the program began.
  • Eleven businesses and organizations were sponsors of this year’s awards programs.
  • Program sponsors provided a $1,000 scholarship for a senior receiving an Academic Award from each of the three high schools.
  • Academic Award honorees nominated 319 teachers as Special Teachers this year. Special Teachers receive a personalized certificate commemorating the honor, an Academic Awards Special Teacher pin for first-time recipients and a copy of the Academic Awards program booklet that includes a listing of Special Teachers.

Way to go, Dorchester School District Two teachers and students!

District, college math professionals propose high school curriculum changes

Tri-County Cradle to Career Collaborative’s Math Pathways Project Team (MPPT), made up of math professionals at the district and college level, has reviewed and evaluated the region’s high school math curriculum.

Today, the team has released a statement with recommendations for the regional school districts, which include Berkeley County School District, Charleston County School District, Dorchester School District 2 and Dorchester School District 4.

These recommendations are intended to open pathways to college and career access related to science, business, technology, engineering and other STEM-related disciplines.

Statement regarding the tri-county region’s math curriculum

After careful study, the Math Pathways Project Team has reached consensus on the following recommendations directed to the four school districts serving Lowcountry students:

  1. All students should complete four credits of math in high school, including Algebra 1 and 2, Geometry and a fourth higher-level math course beyond Algebra 2.
  2. All students should enroll in and complete a math course each year of high school. Students who complete required math credits prior to ninth grade may receive graduation credit for that coursework; however, these students should still enroll in and complete a math course during each high school year.
  3. Students planning on pursuing a STEM career should take an Algebra-based course, preferably Pre-Calculus, as their fourth level math course. If Pre-Calculus is completed prior to senior year, students should enroll in and complete an additional Algebra-based course.
  4. High school math courses beyond Algebra 1 should include a final course exam that is common across the district and aligned exclusively to the set of priority standards that are set for that course.

In a study conducted by the U.S. Department of Education, findings showed that of all pre-college courses, the highest level of math a student completes has the strongest influence on postsecondary-degree completion, and completing a course beyond Algebra 2 more than doubles the odds that a student who enters a postsecondary program will complete their degree.

Local high school graduates arrive at college largely unprepared for college-level math courses. Almost nine in 10 tri-county students enrolling at Trident Technical College require math remediation, while nearly 40% of those taking the math placement test at other MPPT-member colleges fail to pass and must either remediate or lose access to STEM-related majors.

This lack of proficiency is, in part, because students do not take a math course their senior year of high school, and consequently do not have the required level of knowledge to succeed in college-level courses.

Requiring a math course every year would significantly improve the prospects of college-bound students to access a STEM-related field and avoid remediation. While the MPPT recognizes that many students will graduate high school with no interest in STEM or no interest in attending college, being current and capable in math equips all students with critical thinking skills important to any career as well as the completion of a two- or four-year degree down the road.

The MPPT has also concluded that most final exams for high school math courses beyond Algebra 1 are not common, district-wide assessments, and, therefore, may have little to no accountability for the content assessed.

To ensure that all students are assessed on their proficiency with the standards applicable to each course, the MPPT strongly encourages school districts to create or obtain and use common final course exams that are tied exclusively to the state adopted South Carolina College- and Career-Ready Standards for Mathematics.

Respectfully submitted,

Geoff Schuler, Math Pathways Project Team Convener

Todd Ashby, Charleston Southern University

Mei Chen, The Citadel

Catherine DeMers, Charleston County School District

Karen Fonkert, Charleston Southern University

David Harris, Trident Technical College

Deborah Jeter, College of Charleston

Robert Mignone, College of Charleston

Sarah Piwinski, Tri-County Cradle to Career Collaborative

Kelly Purvis, Dorchester School District 2

John C. Read, Tri-County Cradle to Career Collaborative

Candace Rice, Dorchester School District 4

George Roy, University of South Carolina

Ann Sanderson, Dorchester School District 2

Wendy Sheppard, Tri-County Cradle to Career Collaborative

Melissa Stowasser, Trident Technical College

Ryan Thomas, Charleston Southern University

Jennifer Thorsten, Berkeley County School District

Andrew Tyminski, Clemson University
David Virtue, University of South Carolina

Jan Yow, University of South Carolina

New board member elected

Today, Rev. Dr. Larry Goss, Sr., who is the pastor of The Destiny Worship Center in North Charleston, was elected to the TCCC Board of Directors.

The Board now consists of 27 community leaders.

Welcome to the team, Rev. Dr. Goss!

High School STEM Career Fair

We met so many wonderful tri-county region students today at the High School STEM Career Fair, presented by the Charleston Regional Business Journal, at the North Charleston Convention Center!

We shared tips on filling out the FAFSA and asked students to take a survey about what kind of career their interested in pursuing, the kinds of classes their taking and their knowledge of the FAFSA. We’ll be sharing the results of the survey with our High School Graduation Network to help them in their planning and decision making.

Let’s get ready to FAFSA!

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is how you apply for federal grants, including the Pell Grant, as well as work-study funds, student loans and scholarships.

If you plan to attend college between July 1, 2018, and June 30, 2019, you should fill out your FAFSA now!

Tips for Completing the FAFSA

1.) The official FAFSA website is fafsa.gov. You should never be asked to pay to complete the FAFSA. It’s always FREE.

2.) Fill out the FAFSA form as soon as possible. Some financial aid is awarded on a first-come, first-served basis, and some states and colleges run out of money early. Even if it seems like your school’s deadline is far off in the future, get your FAFSA done ASAP.

3.) It’s important to get an FSA ID before filling out the FAFSA form. When you register for an FSA ID, you may need to wait up to three days before you can use it to sign your FAFSA form electronically. An FSA ID is a username and password that you use to log in to certain U.S. Department of Education websites, including fafsa.gov. You AND your parent will each need your own, separate FSA IDs if you both want to sign your FAFSA form online. Create an FSA ID at: StudentAid.gov/fsaid.

4.) Colleges can’t see the other schools you’ve added, so you should add ALL colleges you are considering to your FAFSA form, even if you aren’t sure if you’ll apply or be accepted. You can add up to 10 schools at a time.

Tri-county region sees declines in key reading, math test results

Newly released year-end test results for the tri-county region show year-over-year declines in reading proficiency for third and eighth grade, both pivotal years in a child’s academic career.

Third grade math proficiency also declined, but increased at the eighth-grade level. Despite the eighth-grade math increase, too many students continue to fall short of grade-level expectations.

Tri-County Cradle to Career Collaborative closely tracks third and eighth grade test results in particular because those years are important indicators of later success. Third grade results can predict a child’s likelihood to graduate from high school, while eighth grade results are directly tied to college and career readiness.

Only 48 percent of tri-county third graders met or exceeded grade-level reading standards on the SC READY test at the end of the 2016-2017 school year, an 8 percent decline from the prior year. On the math assessment, 57 percent of third graders met or exceeded standards, a 2 percent year-over-year decrease.

At the eighth-grade level, 45 percent of tri-county students met or exceeded reading standards versus 51 percent the prior year. Math results in eighth grade showed a modest 7 percent year-over-year proficiency increase; however, a significant percentage of students, 60 percent, scored as “not proficient.”

“While these test results are but one indicator of student progress, they are very consistent with all of the other data we see at the regional and district level,” TCCC CEO John C. Read said. “It is apparent that the public education system our community provides and to which our kids are entitled is not getting the job done, especially for our most vulnerable children.”

When broken down by race and poverty levels, the SC READY test results show substantial disparity gaps continue to exist among tri-county students.

For instance, in third-grade math, 72 percent of White students met or exceeded expectations while only 43 percent of Hispanic students and 37 percent of Black students did the same. Similarly, in eighth-grade reading, 60 percent of White students met or exceeded expectations while just 36 percent of Hispanic students and 24 percent of Black students did the same.

Test results for students living in poverty were also lower than for those living above the poverty line. For third-grade reading, as an example, 69 percent of students not living in poverty met or exceeded expectations while only 32 percent of those living in poverty did the same. In eighth-grade math, 56 percent of students above the line met or exceeded expectations while 23 percent of those living in poverty did the same.

The S.C. Department of Education released state, district and school level data for end-of-year tests from the 2016-2017 school year earlier this week. Tri-county data include results from Berkeley County School District, Charleston County School District, Dorchester School District 2 and Dorchester County School District 4.

Test results were based on the SC READY exam, which was given to all S.C. students in 3rd through 8th grades. The test is intended to measure overall student performance and college-and-career ready standards in core content areas.

Photos from Phoenix

The TCCC staff is in Phoenix this week, along with more than 400 other community leaders from across the country, for the StriveTogether Cradle to Career Networking Convening.

To tag along as we travel and learn, follow us on Twitter at @C2CTriCounty or on Facebook.

TCCC Staff Heading to Phoenix

The Tri-County Cradle to Career Collaborative staff will be traveling to a national convening in Phoenix, Arizona this week!

Continuing our work to help all students in the tri-county region, we’ll be joining more than 400 community leaders from across the country for the StriveTogether Cradle to Career Networking Convening. This year’s theme is “Be the Change: Getting Results for Every Child.”

The StriveTogether Cradle to Career Network brings together cross-sector leaders who are committed to improving educational outcomes for all children. Representing 70 community partnerships in 32 states and Washington, D.C., we’ll share our work to unite communities around shared goals and measurable results in education.

We’ll attend sessions and workshops devoted to building a culture of continuous improvement, eliminating disparities, engaging the community, improving outcomes and leveraging existing assets.

To tag along as we travel and learn, follow us on Twitter at @C2CTriCounty or on Facebook.


The Tri-County Cradle to Career Collaborative office at 6296 Rivers Avenue, Suite 308 in North Charleston will be closed from Tuesday, October 3 through Friday, October 6.

To reach a staff member, please email or call them directly. Contact information for each staff member is listed here.

We apologize for any inconvenience and appreciate your understanding.