SPRINGFIELD — Delayed news was good news for the Effingham County School District.
The Georgia Accrediting Commis-sion (GAC) recently notified the Effingham County Board of Education that all its schools will be “designated with the highest level of accreditation by the commission.
Assistant Superintendent Travis Nesmith discussed the report with the board during its Nov. 19 meeting. He explained that the 2019-2020 school year marked the fifth-year benchmark for hosting GAC and Cognia/AdvancED reviews but both were delayed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Between Sept. 30 and Nov. 6, GAC consultant Dr. Edie Baxley conducted phone interviews with principals of each Effingham County school and examined their evidence notebooks.
“A successful (remote) visit is the result of the hard work and preparation of our building leadership,” Nesmith said. “As you will read, the schools were well prepared and Dr. Baxley found that all the schools meeting all the standards of the Georgia Accreditation Commission. Therefore, Dr. Baxley has recommended that all schools be designated with the highest level of accreditation by the commission, ‘Accredited with Quality.’ ”
Baxley wrote glowing narratives about each school.
The board learned that SAT and ACT scores for seniors in the district dipped in 2020. Their graduation rate increased slightly.
The district total mean score of 1063 on the SAT remains above the state and national averages of 1043 and 1030, respectively. Effingham County High School tallied a 1054 and South Effingham High School posted a 1073.
In 2019, Effingham County and South Effingham scored 1084 and 1088, respectively, giving the district a mean score of 1086, also above the state (1048) and national (1039) averages.
A perfect SAT score is 1600.
The district’s composite score on the ACT was 21.2, down from 21.8 the previous year and below the state score of 21.7. The 2020 scores at Effingham County and South Effingham were 20.8 and 21.7, respectively.
The state and national composite ACT scores for 2020 were 21.7 and 20.6, respectively. They were 21.4 and 20.7, respectively, in 2019.
A perfect ACT score is 33.
The Effingham County school district’s overall 2020 graduate rate was 90.77 percent, up 0.29 from the previous year. It increased to 95.2 percent, up from 91.22, at South Effingham and dropped 2.53 points to 87.25 percent at Effingham County.
Every subgroup in the district graduated at a higher rate than the previous year except white students.
Georgia’s overall graduation rate for 2020 was 83.8 percent. Every district subgroup topped that rate.
Superintendent Dr. Yancy Ford told the board that there is a “sense of urgency” to improve the graduation rate at Effingham County.