Data: DD2 sees rise in percentage of students living in poverty

Published: Sep. 18, 2023 at 4:47 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 18, 2023 at 8:06 PM EDT
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SUMMERVILLE, S.C. (WCSC) - Dorchester District Two has seen an increase in the percentage of students living in poverty over the past several years, according to data from the South Carolina Department of Education.

District leaders said one of their highest priorities is making sure students can read at grade level by third grade because they say that sets them up for future success.

The percentage of students living in poverty in the district has gone up by 3.3% over the past five years, state data said.

Comparatively, Charleston has seen a decrease of that same number -- 3.3% -- over the past five years, while Berkeley County’s numbers have remained steady.

DD2 Deputy Superintendent Chad Daugherty said the district receives $6.4 million in Title I funding that goes to 18 elementary and middle schools.

He said the money goes toward reading intervention, reducing class sizes and professional development.

Daugherty said students in poverty can struggle to read, but added the programs available to them are available to all.

“That’s why when we do that schoolwide approach, it’s every student, not just those students in poverty,” Daugherty said. “However, that money coming in, the money that comes into our buildings, that $6.4 million, it affects every student, so it’s not just going for those students in poverty because there are students that are not in poverty that can’t read at grade level. We’re trying to address their needs, as well.”

Officials said they also have their own federal McKinney-Vento program to help out children who may be transient or homeless.