McDuffie County Schools are on a continued path of improvement and will keep on working in that direction in 2006, according to Superintendent Mark Petersen. The number one focus will be AYP, or Adequate Yearly Progress results.
"We'd like to change that AYP to OYP - outstanding yearly progress," Dr. Petersen said. "Obviously student achievement is number one at the forefront."
McDuffie school system acheived AYP in 2005 for the second year in a row. All schools passed with the exception of students with disabilities at Thomson Middle School on the math portion of the test.
"The interesting part is (their) scores were better than they were last year, and better than the year before. So I was proud of our special ed. folks at the middle school, because they are on a path of continuous improvement, and that's a good thing," Dr. Petersen said.
Dr. Barry O'Neill, assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction, said the school system has some new software that will assist in improving AYP results even more. Dr. O'Neill said the software allows students to take benchmark tests online, allowing quicker assessments, and allowing teachers to know how their individual students have done at meeting their goals. Benchmark tests are administered at the end of every nine weeks, covering curriculum covered during that time.
Dr. O'Neill said assessments also revealed that attendance for middle school students with disabilities was poor, so "we've done things to‚Ä¶make sure the students are present so we can assist them, so that they win and we win, too."
In addition to AYP results, Dr. Petersen said the school board is looking at building the new junior high school.
"We've got to build a new school. The plans are at the state department of education, so we can look at putting out bids. Our goal is around the fall of 2007 to be in that new school," Dr. Petersen said.
The junior high school, to be built across the street from the high school, will be used for eighth and ninth grades, in a building that has an octagon-shaped supervision station surrounded by four wings, and having a capacity for 850 students. Dr. Petersen said groundbreaking for the school is planned for May of this year.