Published on October 3rd, 2019 | by Millennium Magazine Staff


Richland One Celebrates Highest Graduation Rate in District’s History

Pictured Cheerleaders and W.J. Keenan Marching Band

At 82.2%, Richland One’s 2019 high school graduation rate is not only the highest in the district’s history, it’s also higher than the statewide average of 81.1%.

Ecstatic Richland One students, employees, parents and community partners celebrated reaching those milestones in a big way on recently at W.J. Keenan High School, with a marching band, dancers and cheerleaders representing all of the district’s high schools.

The latest graduation rate data was released Tuesday by the South Carolina Department of Education as part of the 2019 school, district and state report cards.

At Richland One’s celebration, Superintendent Dr. Craig Witherspoon credited the historic increase in the district’s graduation rate to the bold new strategies the district implemented last summer, including creating school and district graduation teams to track student progress, holding meetings with seniors and their parents to identify needs and barriers to graduation and providing mentors to motivate students who may need an extra push.

“It does take a village with everyone working together,” said Dr. Witherspoon. “Reaching this number – 82.2% —starts in elementary school. Graduation doesn’t just happen. You can’t start in their senior year. It’s a culmination of people doing a lot of work at the district, school and community levels.”

Richland One Board Chairman Jamie Devine encouraged the district to keep striving to increase the rate each year. “We will do all we can to make sure all of our students cross the finish line,” he said. “The work is not over. We can’t stop now.”

Other speakers at the celebration included Lower Richland High School Principal Dr. Ericka Hursey, as well as district community partners represented by Prisma Health executive and former Richland One board member Vince Ford and United Way of the Midlands President and CEO Sara Fawcett.

“The United Way is so proud to partner with Richland One through its tutoring and mentoring programs,” Fawcett said. “But as a mother of three Richland One students, I’m proud of you and more than pleased with the education my children are currently receiving.”

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