|Anderson School District Four
Pendleton, South Carolina
|“We talk about college and career readiness for all students. But to be honest, our efforts have fallen short for historically underrepresented students.
We have learned through the Lead Higher Initiative that by aligning students’ talents with their career interests more students can experience the rigorous challenges of Advanced Placement courses. Their support has helped us to successfully navigate those tough conversations that, if left unspoken, create barriers for students of color and poverty.
By rethinking possibilities and opening access to these opportunities, the school culture at Pendleton High is transforming. More importantly, we soon will be able to say with conviction that college success is not just for the fortunate few, but for any student regardless of race or income who is willing to apply identified assets to meeting higher academic challenges.”
Superintendent, Dr. Joanne Avery
Our Reason for Tackling AP/IB Equity Work
The Lead Higher initiative aligns with the Anderson School District 4’s academic goals. Our flagship high school, Pendleton High, was ranked in 2015 by US News and World Report as a leading school in South Carolina. We take pride in offering programs that support the growth, development, and success of all students in a small school setting (850 students). We offer ten Advanced Placement programs, with 2016 success rates exceeding state and national averages. Pendleton High offers fifteen majors within ten national career clusters, while meeting all state performance indicators. In addition, we are able to offer over thirty different athletics programs. Why did we decide to partner with the Lead Higher Initiative and Equal Opportunity Schools?
After reviewing the school-wide ACT performance of 2015, we sadly noted that less than five percent of our eleventh grade African-American students were college ready. Even more disturbing was the fact that many of them reported plans to attend a four-year college. This conundrum demonstrates the misalignment of student expectations for themselves and their level of performance. This achievement gap can only be addressed through targeted intervention, data-informed course planning, and increased awareness and participation of our students in additional rigorous programs.
Anderson School District 4 is aligning resources, training, and personalized attention to this issue of higher end equity. Lead Higher aligns with our organizational goals and would provide greater leverage points in data and recruitment of students with the potential for success. This partnership will help further our district and student achievement.
The Most Inspiring Aspect of the Work
We anticipate the most inspirational and life-changing aspect of the work will be building upon the positive teacher-to-student relationships used to develop personalized learning and global opportunities for students in Anderson School District 4, as we provide greater access to our most rigorous programs.
Who Benefits Most
Our students will benefit most from the AP equity work. Faculty and staff will have a common language and framework for communicating our culture of high expectations for all students.
We advise other educational professional to be open-minded concerning the data outcomes in order to best prepare to serve their students and equip them to achieve at their highest potential.