Lexington District 5 Schools Beat Them All - DatelineCarolina

Lexington District 5 Schools Beat Them All

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Dutch Fork High teachers are already nearby to lend a helping hand. Dutch Fork High teachers are already nearby to lend a helping hand.
Sophomore Trey Martin says at Dutch Fork High hands on learning is commonplace Sophomore Trey Martin says at Dutch Fork High hands on learning is commonplace
 By: Princess Faith    

Lexington District Five schools' end-of-course test scores averaged highest scores of any school in the state of South Carolina this year.

 Dutch Fork High School is one of the seven schools in District Five that topped the EOC scores. Assistant Principal for Instruction Sarah Longshore was very proud of the students there.

 "What we have here at Dutch Fork High School is that we've created a culture of excellence where I think a lot of our students, most of them have really bought into that as well", she says.

  The EOC is given by the State Board of Education to promote teaching in certain subjects to encourage student achievement, and to measure student skill within each subject. The tests also serve as an instrument to measure the efficiency of the program, school, and school district. The categories tested were Algebra, Biology, English and U.S. History. 

  District Five schools passed with flying colors. Their Algebra and U.S. History scores were four percent above state average. English scores were three percent above the state's average, and Biology came in at six percent above the state average with a three percent increase in the number students who made A's on the Biology EOC.

 What is the secret to District Five's success? Teachers were willing to roll up their sleeves and put in extra time with their students, off the clock.

 "I saw, in, particular our biology teachers last year really banded together and they planned some school-wide events to work with students," said Longshore.

 She mentioned a night-long study session organized by the science department.

 Susan Elvis teaches science teacher at Dutch Fork High and she is the science department chair.

"On the study session night we had five different biology teachers here at Dutch Fork and when the students rotated, each teacher talked about a standard," she says.

 There are six. The six biology standards require students to demonstrate an understand of...
  • the structure and function of cells and their organelles
  • the flow of energy within and between living systems
  • the molecular basis of heredity
  • biological evolution and the diversity of life
  • the interrelationships among organisms and the biotic and abiotic components of their environments

 The final standard is scientific inquiry which is woven through the all of the other five.

 The teachers covered all of this in that study session. They even provided food to keep the students energized and pumped about learning. 

 "We had about 200 to 300 kids come and we drilled them and reminded them of the standards because all of our instruction is toward the standards", said Elvis.

 The teachers extended the helping hand and the students grabbed on for dear life. The moral of this story is: If you want to be great at something, you have to work hard at it. Even if that means you do on your own time.

 It pays off. Just ask Dutch Fork High students. But a teacher's work is never done. Elvis says she wants more.

 "I was happy. I was content. However, I'm never satisfied. I want every single kid to have that success and to fell successful after they take that states exam," she says.

 Does Dutch Fork High teachers have more tricks up their proverbial sleeve? Not really. Longshore says it's just a matter of figuring out what works.

"One thing we're committed to is using data and collaborating with one another continue evaluating our own professional practices. We have to always be trying new things and deciding what works with students and what doesn't."

 The future only holds brighter things for Dutch Fork and all of District Five.

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