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By Lillian Armstead – Narrowing the achievement gap for African American students is of great concern for school district officials in South Carolina, according to Dr. Nancy McGinley, District Superintendent for Charleston County. Student achievement has increased as demonstrated by higher graduation rates and higher literacy scores.
Statistics point to a 10% increase in the number of African American graduates over a five year time frame, states Corey Davis.
In order to assist students in harder subjects, “double dosing” was created. This initiative allows students to complete more difficult courses like Algebra 1 or English in two semesters versus one semester, explains McGinley.
According to Dr. McGinley the the gap between Caucasians and African Americans is 11%; in previous years the gap was 17%.
Admittedly, the results of student progress must be shared with the collaboration efforts of teachers and other school officials, notes the superintendent.
Although the Charleston County school district is one of the largest – 43,000 students, the goal of Dr. McGinley is that every student’s achievement level rises over time.
Knowing that students must graduate from high school in order to enter the next phase in life, Dr. McGinley is determined to get as many students’ achievement levels higher; and to get them to the coveted “High School Graduation.” Upon graduation students can begin to pave their way to higher living and learning opportunities, explains the superintendent.
Not only have graduation levels increased for students in Charleston County – the overall advancement of African American students is impressive, states Dr. McGinley.
The superintendent admits that the school district has an eagle’s eye on the achievement of students from diverse backgrounds. Although the superintendent admits the narrowing of the gap, she realizes that she, her staff and the students still have a long way to go.
Dr. McGinley has served with the Charleston County School District longer than any other superintendent. Prior to her superintendent role, her responsibilities were of Chief Academic Officer for the district.