Welcome to the McDuffie County School System! As Superintendent of Schools, it is my great privilege to work with parents and students, teachers and administrators, and members of our community to provide the best opportunities available for every pupil in our school system. As a parent of a Thomson High School graduate and a rising 6th grader in McDuffie County Schools, I recognize that it is not enough for our graduates to be college and career ready. They must also be fully prepared to compete internationally and to meet the challenges of tomorrow.
McDuffie is On the Move! You will continue to see this message throughout our community this school year, and it is more than a slogan. We are working to provide our students with the best possible facilities, technology, staff, opportunities and resources. To exemplify our commitment to our community, our system has served over 600 students this summer through our Rising Kindergarten Summer Transition Program; Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) camps for grades 1-12; Fine Arts Camp; Summer Remediation Program; and credit recovery options for our high school pupils. This number is three times larger than the number of students served in summer 2018. We’ve also held family literacy workshops and distributed materials to over 59 families. In the month of June alone, our school system served 16,000 meals for the young people in the McDuffie County community, 5,000 more meals than the previous year. As we recognize the need to maintain the best facilities possible, in the last three years we have replaced the roof of Maxwell Elementary School, built Norris Elementary School, completed renovations on all campuses, with a specific focus on major renovations at Thomson High School and Dearing Elementary School. In the area of technology, we are stronger than ever before, demonstrated through a ratio of 1.35 students per system device and wireless access points in all buildings. We are fortunate to have educators who hold award-winning credentials in their fields and who recognize students are our number one priority. Throughout this summer, our teachers and administrators have been immersed in professional learning opportunities to enable our system to afford students the best education possible. Over 100 job-embedded professional learning opportunities have been offered in the last year, including our newest partnership with Augusta University offering graduate level credit here in McDuffie County. We are blessed with a supportive community, and we are working diligently to add innovative programs that meet the unique needs and goals of our students.
McDuffie is Where Tradition Meets Innovation to actively prepare all learners for their future endeavors. We will always honor our tradition while recognizing the need to apply innovative programs and methods to equip our students with the ability to embrace changes in the world around us. As we embark upon a new school year, there are several ongoing initiatives: the offering of foreign language in our elementary schools; the addition of STEM at Thomson-McDuffie Middle School; additional Advanced Placement, science, and mathematics courses; and the construction and opening of our new welding lab at Thomson High School. Through the integration of foreign language; Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM); and fine arts, we are offering tremendous opportunities which surpass the general curriculum. In 2018-2019, over 41% of Thomson-McDuffie Middle School eighth graders attempted high school credit in literature; mathematics; science; fine arts; and Career, Technical and Agricultural Education (CTAE) courses. Meanwhile, Thomson High School programs continue to flourish, as we have our highest completion rate to date of the percent of graduates completing a career, advanced academics, fine arts, or foreign language pathway. In addition to the Fine Arts Diploma Seal offered by the district, 2019 graduates also had the opportunity to earn Career-Ready Diploma Seals and Civic Engagement Diploma Seals. In 2018-19, the district launched the Realizing Educational Achievement Can Happen (REACH) Mentorship and Scholarship Program designed to encourage students to persist in their educational pursuits. We have expanded our gifted models and Advanced Placement programs to offer our students the greatest opportunities for enrichment. Our efforts continue as we implement structured, evidenced-based reading, writing, and mathematics programs to support student achievement. We recognize the need to prepare our students to meet the challenges of the work force and continue to implement new strategies to ensure the success of our students.
I am always excited at the start of a new school year because I know that the coming year is full of possibilities! This year is no different in McDuffie County; we are excited about this chance to continue telling our story of McDuffie on the Move. We invite you to join our movement as we showcase our McDuffie County School System classrooms, students, and teachers. I believe that with every bus ride, daily lesson, friendly smile, healthy lunch, well-maintained school building, and carefully planned school day we are moving forward into a bright future! We believe a great education is the vehicle for a stronger workforce and a stronger community, and we are committed to moving our students toward success.
Whether you are an employee, student, parent, business owner, community leader or resident, you play an important role in what we do. We welcome your involvement in our schools, and we hope that you will feel comfortable reaching out to us if we can be of service. Working together, we will continue to provide a high-quality education for all students.
If at any point during the school year we can be of assistance to you, please call upon us.
Dr. Mychele Rhodes
McDuffie County Schools