Thursday, February 21, 2013

Did you know?

Over the last several weeks we have discussed our upcoming AdvancED SACS/CASI District Accreditation Review visit. We have outlined why accreditation is important, how accreditation is achieved, and the standards of quality that will measure the effectiveness of Oconee County Schools and ultimately determine the district’s accreditation outcome.  In addition, the members of the review team have been revealed, the schedule of the three-day visit reviewed, and the schools selected for visits discussed.  What we have not talked about is the tremendous amount of self-assessment the process provides for our students, teachers, and community stakeholders and what that reflection has brought to light about OCS.  

Thus, today’s column will highlight the wealth of information this process has brought into focus and serve as a “Did you know?” opportunity for our community of learners.  In the lines below we will highlight the successes and challenges of our system as discovered and discussed by the standards review leaders and their teams.

Here are some facts you may not know:
·         OCS has the highest SAT scores in the state of Georgia for any school system with 35,000 students or fewer and ranks third when measured against all systems
·         OCS is one of only 539 school districts in the U.S. and Canada to be placed on the Advanced Placement Honor Roll by the College Board for achievement and access
·         OCHS and NOHS have been selected as two of the Top High Schools in America
·         OCPS, CFES, OCES, RBES and OCMS are all Title I Distinguished Schools
·         RBES, MBES, HSES, OCES, CFES, MBMS, NOHS, OCHS are SSAS Award winners
·         OCS has improved the graduation rate from 81.8% in 2002 to 93.5% in 2011
·         OCS student enrollment has grown 18.75% since 2000 and is currently 6,680 students
·         Oconee County’s population has increased 25% since 2000 and is currently 32,808
·         Thirty-four percent of Oconee County’s population is under the age of 18
·         OCS’ free and reduced lunch student population has increased from 16.59% in 2005 to 23.68% in 2012
·         OCS students currently speak over 25 languages
·         OCS is the largest employer in Oconee County with nearly 1,000 employees
·         OCS boasts a teacher workforce that is 100% highly qualified, as defined by federal law
·         OCS has had $27 million in austerity cuts from the state since 2003
·         The OCS budget is currently funded 49% from the state and 51% from local taxes
·         In 2003, the OCS budget was funded 63% from the state and 37% locally
·         Oconee County’s tax digest has declined 14% since 2009
·         OCS was rated one of the top school systems in the nation for return on educational investment by the Center for American Progress

While not all inclusive, student achievement information, budget information, employee qualifications, and stakeholder feedback help shape our self-assessment ratings and provide valuable information to our review team and system leaders.  We are ready – three days and counting as of this writing …

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