ORANGEBURG COUNTY, S.C. — The Orangeburg County School District highlighted several milestones and areas for milestones and areas for improvement in its State of the District Address. Superintendent Dr. Foster says the four areas of focus include facility repairs, financial improvement, recruitment and retention, and technology and instruction.
“We have been working extremely hard to establish programs that are innovative and unique but also to put some things in place that will set a solid foundation for those families that have younger children," said Dr. Foster.
Foster adds, the census shows Orangeburg County has experienced the largest decline in population over the last ten years in comparison to other counties. He says this is affecting their enrollment.
“The recent announcement of our facilities projects. Increasing, enhancing our current facilities to make sure that when those people drive through that they can see that what’s outside is just as great as what’s happening inside," said Dr. Foster.
Some highlights included the district being fully staffed with teachers and having measures in place to help with retention such as recognizing the teacher of the month and holiday bonuses.
“Recognition goes a long way. Whenever people are doing a line share of a job and doing it well just to say thank you, I appreciate you," said Dr. Foster.
The district also piloted a new early learning program for its kindergartners last year. Foster says this has resulted in these students exceeding the national average for iReady scores testing their reading and phonemic skills.
The district has also seen improved graduation rates. Currently, there is an 80.4% graduation rate. During the pandemic, it was around 75%.