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West Columbia’s Gray Collegiate Academy receives an “Excellent” rating on its Report Card – See how Airport and Brookland-Cayce were rated

Gray Collegiate Academy, a charter high school, in West Columbia received an Excellent rating, a score of 82, on its report card from the SC Department of Education. Gray’s is the highest possible rating the school could have achieved. The score is reflective of the 2021-2022 school year. Gray’s score was announced last week and it is the highest of all public high schools in Lexington and Richland counties.

Click for a link to schools Report Cards

Dr. Brian Newsome, Gray’s Principal said he was “honored that Gray Collegiate Academy for the second time in its history has been rated as an “Excellent” High School.” The overall ratings of Excellent, Good, Average, Below Average, and Unsatisfactory are assigned to schools annually.

Airport High School received a score of 41 and Brookland-Cayce High School scored 40. Both Lexington Two schools were rated as Below Average.

“I want to thank the school board and especially the board’s chair, Teresa Brazell for her consistent support and encouragement, Newsome said. “Through COVID and difficult learning obstacles, we remained steadfast without excuse to maintain a culture that is inviting, positive, and focused on improving student achievement. This rating today is a testament to achievement of these expectations and we look forward to a bright future. As we always say, it’s a great day at Gray, and today is truly great.”

Melanie Shull is a member of PACE or Parents Advocating for Children’s Education.

She said: “How do Gray Collegiate, Airport High, and Brookland Cayce High schools, who serve the same community, have such a discrepancy in their report card scores?”

From what I’ve observed, the difference between below average schools and one of excellence is a matter of focal clarity and strong leadership. Airport High, Brookland Cayce High, and Gray Collegiate serve the same community which encompasses a diverse population with a variety of family dynamics, but only one appears committed to academic rigor. Unlike Lexington Two, Gray Collegiate is not consumed with cultural distractions and social experiments, both of which waste time and resources. They also understand that parents/guardians are the primary stakeholders in their children’s education. 

No school is perfect, but those scoring in the excellent category are focused on the mission, not the distractions. Airport and BC are distracted, but they don’t have to be. Excellence is possible if we would shift our focus back to academics, high expectations, and accountability with consequences. Another consideration would be to return to the philosophy of developing “critical thinkers”  instead of simply “learners.” This was the goal at the conception of public education, so to achieve excellence, we must return to the original mission.

Athletic teams in Gray’s High School League Region have refused to play Gray and they were not fined by the SC High School League. A state legislative committee is looking at ways to restructure the SC High School League in an effort to stop discrimination against Charter Schools.

The 2022 report card includes results from state assessments administered in the Fall of 2021 and Spring of 2022. For Gray Collegiate Academy specifically, the 2022 report card incorporates state assessment results including the End-of-Course Examination Program (EOCEP) given at the high school level, and the Ready to Work (R2W) career readiness assessment administered to 11th grade students.

Along with receiving the Excellent rating, the school also continued its tradition of an especially high on-time graduation rate. Gray’s graduation rate for 2022 was 99.3%. Gray’s overall report card rating and on-time graduation rate far exceeds the local school district, making Gray a high-quality option for school choice in the Midlands.

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