Jasper County school officials say they're taking steps to improve the district's failing grade.
The district received an "F" grade on the Palmetto Assessment of State Standards test, and after two community organized rallies calling for superintendent Vashti Washington's resignation.
Several in the county agree that the image of failure has darkened the district for too long, and it's time for a change.
"Our 2012/2013 report card showed some things that we needed to improve on so this plan has been put in place to help us improve in the areas of ELA, Math science and social studies," said A. Lee Holmes, chief officer of academics, for the Jasper County School District.
Holmes said the plan is simple and involves the district going back to basics, and focusing on areas where students need the most help such as reading.
"We realize the students aren't doing as well as they can in the other areas because they're not comprehending based on their reading levels - the material that is presented - so we're focusing heavily on the ELA," said Holmes.
Another part of the improvement plan is the setting of quarterly achievement goals that teachers and students must meet.
"If they're not meeting those goals in a timely fashion based on what those goals are, then the administrators will sit down with them and look at what they need to do in order to make the difference," Holmes said.
"If everyone on board - from the school board down to the educators - if we all will work together to get the job done; I believe it will work because we do know that we are better than the grade that we received," said teacher Doretha Brown-Williams.
Brown-Williams said she supports the new plan, even though it puts more pressure on teachers.
"It's just like a guide, or a road map that we follow that helps to say, ‘at this point the child should be here,'" she said. "This is what the child should be doing, so the district has implemented that so that they would get a foundation in child development that is aligned with our common core state standards so that when they leave here, they will be on a kindergarten level."
The district said all teachers will be held accountable.
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