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School board reviews its own report card
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The Effingham County Board of Education reviewed the school system’s progress in an in-depth analysis of student performance, personnel effectiveness and the learning/working environment at its Aug. 4 meeting.
The central office compiled information from the last four school years based on the balanced scorecard performance management design, which is traditionally applied to corporate strategy. 
“A board member wanted to get this started to get a snap shot of what we’re doing and look for areas of improvement and also to determine, for us strategically, what’s most important for our system,” Superintendent Randy Shearouse said.
Criteria were selected according to their pertinence to the school board’s mission of “providing rigorous and relevant instruction in a safe environment.” Targets for the next three school years were set for each area as well. This being the first year using a balanced scorecard to examine Effingham schools, Shearouse said that they consulted with other districts and model cards.
“We tried to put items on there that we thought were beneficial for the public and also for the school system to see so that we could make continuous improvements,” he said.
In addition to student scores on standardized tests, grade promotions, course pass rates and attendance, the report monitors fighting and bullying incidents. Shearouse pointed these out to the board showing that in 2006-07, there were 123 fights in high schools, 80 in middle and 44 in elementary, and in 2009-10 those incidents decreased to 51, 54 and 15, respectively — a benefit anticipated when the uniform policy was installed
in 2007. The target is now for fights to diminish to 25 in high schools, 30 in middle and six in elementary by the 2012-13 term.
The scorecard showed that the learning/working environment of the school system is steadily improving and in general, student performance is creeping upward one tenth of a percentage point or so at a time. Facilities are modernizing and becoming more efficient; teachers are highly qualified and more are earning post-graduate degrees.