The annual school district report card released on Tuesday shows Aiken County students are improving overall, but more work needs to be done.

Overall, the Aiken County schools were rated “Average” once again, and improved its growth rating from “Below Average” to “Good.”

There were many success stories in the annual report from the S.C. Department of Education. Graduation rates are up, exit exam passage rates are up, end of course test scores are up for the most part.

One a disturbing note: On Palmetto Assessment of State Standards tests, local student scores lagged behind districts similar to Aiken County.

It’s easy to look at these reports cards and make county-by-county comparisons. It tells an important story, but not the entire story. Each student is a unique individual with unique scores, abilities and desires. Each school is different. Education can’t be a one-size-fits-all. Unfortunately, it’s the system we have, but rushing to judgment about a group’s success or failure isn’t always helpful.

The goal for school administrators is to dig into the information in these reports, find the successes and failures and use that to make improvements. They can’t change the student makeup of a particular school, but they can dissect the data and learn from it.

Aiken County school officials have worked hard to make progress and it shows. Everyday we hear about innovative programs and success stories. Much of that is overshadowed by the negative news that comes out of these reports.

Overall, we’re proud of the work our students, teachers and administrators are doing. Yes, there’s room for improvement and we trust that all school officials are working diligently to make each unique school better and each unique student more successful.