CAYCE, S.C. — A Lexington County school has had its accreditation returned to the "highest level" after being placed under watch by the state department of education less than a year earlier, school officials say.
Lexington School District Two announced late Friday that Brookland-Cayce High School had been returned to the top accreditation level. The district also added that South Carolina Superintendent of Education Ellen Weaver noted that it had made "significant progress in resolving" issues that arose during an audit on June 22.
The audit was triggered after a request for a diploma from the high school guidance office was sent to the state education department. Confusion over the student's graduation date led to a review of that student's transcript, which found that the student had failed four of the classes required for graduation in the 2020-2021 school year.
The audit also found that the school was in violation of Lexington School District Two's credit recovery policy, the state's uniform grading policy, and two other regulations in granting the student a South Carolina high school diploma.
The state department of education then reviewed a random sampling of all of Lexington District Two's senior transcripts for the 2020-21 school year and a preliminary look at the 2022 graduating class.
The state board of education also cautioned the school district not to order diplomas until the audit was complete.
It ultimately found 28 violations at Brookland-Cayce including:
- a student taking English III before English II
- a student taking the year-long physical education class twice in the same year, failing one class and passing another, prompting the remark from the auditor: "How is it possible to take two initial credit courses twice in one year if the classes are year-long?"
- a student taking health science I and III but not II.
- total credits attempted and earned being incorrect on some transcripts.
- a student passing a class but then taking credit recovery (CR) for the same class. CR courses are for students that fail the class the first time and retake the class to gain credit for the course.
- some students taking a course five times before passing it. The audit asked what interventions or content recovery were being used to help these students.
- the BCHS principal verifying the 2022 spring graduate list without first confirming that every student met the requirements for graduation. Students who did not meet the requirements were removed from the diploma order tracking system.
The school was later dropped to the status of "accredited advised" but, months later in October, the state department of education said the school was on the right track toward fixing its issues.
Lexington School District 2 said that, in a letter dated Feb. 3, Superintendent Weaver stated that the department "appreciates the District's efforts and cooperation" in addressing the violations.
In the district's announcement on Friday, school superintendent Brenda Hafner said, in part, that:
“This is an affirmation of the work this administration has been focusing on across the District – from our middle and high school counselors to our school-level educators and administrators – to keep the focus on a quality education for all of our students.
Our teachers at Brookland Cayce High School, and at all of our schools, have worked hard to ensure that our students have always and will continue to receive a quality education that prepares them to be college and career-ready, workforce-ready, or military-bound, knowing that our ultimate goal is that they return to be productive citizens in a community that is rich in tradition and history.