DHS Graduation Rate Takes Dramatic Rise

The new administration at Dillon High School has produced significant results after just one year at the helm of the county’s largest school.
Second-year principal Dr. Shawn Johnson, who leads a talented cast of Assistant Principals Michael Rogers and Blue Huggins and Curriculum Specialist Sandy Cook, brought the school’s graduation rate to 79.5% in 2013, up from 57.1% in 2012.
“I am grateful for the hard work of our students and staff last year,” said Johnson.  “We built on the good things that (former principal) Lynda Cottingham had done and were able to get the students and staff to buy in to what we were doing.”
The improvement extends beyond the graduation rate.  Each year, schools are given an absolute rating and a growth rating.  These ratings are assessed on a scale including at risk, below average, average, good and excellent.
In 2011 and 2012, Dillon High School received an absolute rating of below average.  In 2013, the school improved its absolute rating to average.
In 2011 and 2012, the growth rating was at-risk.  In 2013, the school earned a growth rating of excellent.  The school’s 2013 growth rating was raised one additional level because of substantial improvement in the achievement of students belonging to historically underachieving groups of students.
Dillon District Four is also given a rating on the same scale and received an average absolute rating and an excellent growth rating.  These marks represent the best ratings for the district since 2004.
“This is a product of everybody working together, across the district, to benefit the students of District Four,” said Dillon District Four Superintendent Ray Rogers.
In addition to Dillon High School’s rating improvements, the scores on end of course tests increased 12% from the 2012 mark.
Letter grades were recently published for Dillon County Schools, and Dillon High School was given an F.  These grades, based on federal guidelines, are given using previous years’ data, including the previous year’s graduation rate.  Due to the success of 2012-13, the school’s administration expects its letter grade to improve following this school year.
“We will be just as ambitious this year knowing our students are capable and want to perform at their best,” said Johnson.  “We want to be the best at academics, athletics and attitude.”