It’s only a few short months into the new school year and the Beaufort region already has some reasons to be proud. The South Carolina Department of Education recently released its by-school district assessment of the state’s students and the report shows Beaufort County School District ahead of the state average in multiple major areas. Hand-in-hand with the Beaufort County School District, the two Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) schools located on Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort also received encouraging feedback from the most recent National Assessment of Educational Progress report. The successes of both local and DoDEA schools are an excellent highlight of how the communities of the Beaufort region continuously sees the benefits of strong partnerships with the local military installations.
Students in grades K-12 residing in Beaufort County attend one of the 34 schools of the Beaufort County School District or one of the two DoDEA schools located on Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort. South Carolina’s Department of Education report released in late October found that all but two of the district’s schools were average, above average, or excellent. The district also scored well in comparison to the rest of South Carolina schools, beating sate averages in graduation rate and in all four major metrics in English and Mathematics scoring. Beaufort Elementary School also received the highest rating possible for a South Carolina school.
Meanwhile, a report compiled by the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) provided some excellent news for Beaufort’s DoDEA schools supporting MCAS Beaufort students. The report, a regular national survey of the America’s schools, focused heavily on how the COVID-19 pandemic affected reading and mathematics proficiency from 2020-2022. As could be expected, the data showed a significant decrease in average scores nationwide including the largest drop in reading scores in thirty years and the first ever decrease in math scores since regular assessments began in 1973. However, the report also showed DoDEA schools, including the ones on MCAS Beaufort, weathered the COVID-19 pandemic particularly well. DoDEA schools were the only schools where students showed improvements in any assessment areas. In some cases its students’ average scores gained 15-23 more points than the national average. These success stories were definitely made possible by the outstanding teachers, administrators, parents, and children of the Beaufort region, but studies have shown that student performance is greatly affected by local environment as well. In Beaufort, the strong cooperation between residents and military communities has allowed for mutual support between both the Beaufort County School District and local DoDEA schools for decades. The Beaufort region has always provided for the area’s military installations and created countless opportunities for military families and servicemembers. The Department of Defense, in turn, provides a wealth of funding to the area, including in direct support of the school system such as a grant awarded to Beaufort County School District which provided a total of $750,000 to eight schools for expanded science and technology capabilities. With the continuation of these partnerships, the Beaufort region can look forward to raising smart, capable young scholars far into the future.