Thank you Orangeburg County community! Serving as the superintendent of the Orangeburg County School District is an honor that fills my heart with gratitude each day. For the past 3-1/2 years, the joy of supporting and working alongside our students and teachers in OCSD has been a source of constant inspiration.

Looking back over the last year, it’s notable to see the remarkable achievements we have made together as a district. Our community, with its steadfast spirit and commitment, has been the driving force behind these accomplishments.

One of our proudest moments this year was witnessing our students earn over 3,000 dual-credit hours. This achievement signifies not just academic proficiency but also the determination of our students to pursue higher education goals.

Equally impressive was the state’s Seal of Biliteracy attainment by 21 of our students. Our academic excellence continued with 61 students achieving perfect scores on state tests such as the SC Ready, SCPASS, and End-of-Course testing. These outstanding results reflect our teachers’ and staff’s high-quality education and dedication to nurturing our students’ potential.

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This year marked the beginning of the Hope Initiative in partnership with Orangeburg-Calhoun Technical College. This initiative is a significant step towards providing every student in our District with the opportunity to receive provisional acceptance into college, thus opening new horizons for their future.

Also, the creation and release of the OCSD Arts Magazine was another significant achievement, aligning perfectly with our strategic plan and emphasizing our commitment to nurturing creativity and innovation.

In a concerted effort to enhance our students’ overall well-being, we welcomed five athletic trainers through our partnership with the Medical University of South Carolina. This initiative is part of our holistic approach to education, where we prioritize our students’ physical and mental health.

Our district’s progress report cards for the 2022-23 school year showed remarkable improvements, with 73% of our schools rated average or above. This is a significant increase from the previous year and indicates our entire educational community’s dedication and hard work.

We also made strides in supporting our staff. The district’s board of trustees approved a $2,000 retention bonus for all full-time employees and $1,000 for part-time employees. Additionally, teachers and principals had the opportunity to receive merit-based stipends, thanks to the LIFE2: Leveraging Innovation for Educator Excellence federal grant in partnership with Voorhees University.

2 OCSD schools named among America’s Healthiest

Financially, our district maintained a firm footing with the second consecutive year of a clean audit and no increase in taxes. Our fund balance grew impressively from $7.1 million in 2019-20 to $36.1 million, demonstrating our commitment to fiscal responsibility and sustainability. Also, we received an “A” bond rating, and all negative outlook(s) have been removed.

OCSD report cards improve

A significant highlight of the year was the rollout of building projects across the district, made possible by the $190 million bond referendum approved by county voters. These projects are crucial in enhancing our learning environments and catering to the evolving needs of our students. Some of the accomplishments include but are not limited to:

  • Building the expansion at Clark Middle School
  • Building the expansion at Lake Marion High School
  • Building the East Lake Elementary School
  • Installing turf fields
  • Completing the installation of new controls to the district HVAC systems
  • Signing deeds giving three vacant buildings for community use

Our efforts to improve communication within and beyond the walls of our schools have been pivotal. We have worked to ensure that our community remains connected and well-informed, fostering a transparent and inclusive environment. Our enhanced employee perks program is a testament to our dedication to providing the well-being and satisfaction of our staff.

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Finally, with the most recent excitement, OCSD opened our inaugural E-Sports Lab at the OCSD Technology Center. The state-of-the-art facility will allow our students to learn and compete at the highest level in an interactive environment, all while learning teamwork, strategic thinking, and digital literacy. We plan to open labs at the other technology centers across the district in the near future.

I am profoundly thankful for the opportunity to lead such a vibrant and dynamic district. Our community’s unity, strength and commitment continue to inspire me every day. Together, we have achieved remarkable milestones, and I am excited to see what the future holds for the Orangeburg County School District.

Dr. Shawn Foster is superintendent of Orangeburg County School District.

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