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Highest graduation rate ever puts Florence 1 among top three districts in new SCDE data

The latest graduation rates have been released by the South Carolina Department of Education and Florence 1 Schools is ranked 3rd among all school districts in the state; among the top 20 largest districts in the state, Florence 1 ranked second. This is the third year in a row that Florence 1 has topped its previous record graduation rate.


Just three school years ago, the district was ranked 44th in the state with 83.66 percent. For 2022, Florence 1 achieved a 94.3 percent graduation rate. Each of the district’s three high schools also had an individual graduation rate above 90 percent. West Florence had the highest graduation rate at 95.6 percent this year and Wilson is very close behind at 93.9 percent; South Florence held steady at 93 percent. 


“When you look at our achievement through the lens of poverty and compare our 70 percent poverty rate to the other top school districts, it is extremely amazing how far we have come as an academic institution,” said Florence 1 Superintendent Richard O’Malley.


Graduation Rate
Top 3 School Districts in South Carolina


School District

# of Graduates

Graduation Rate

Poverty Rate

District Median Income

(Median state income is $54,864)

#1 York #4 (Fort Mill)





#2 York #2 (Clover)





#3 Florence One Schools












Of the three high schools, Wilson has consistently improved its graduation rate over the last several school years. Principal Eric Robinson said it has been through hard work by everyone at the school that students are reaching this milestone.


I am so proud of our students for this great achievement of surpassing our graduation from a year ago,” Robinson said. “I am also extremely proud to be part of a school district that is ranked in the top of the state. This is all a result of teachers and school counselors who support our students.”


Florence 1 Board of Trustees Chairman Porter Stewart said that his gratitude extends to all district employees who play a role in creating excellence across the district.

“The climb to higher graduation rates in our community should be deeply appreciated by everyone,” Stewart said. “It reflects hard work and dedication by graduating students, strong instruction methods from teachers, leadership and focus on results from administrators, and abiding support from our Florence families. Thank you, everyone. And while we’re at it, let’s not forget everyone else along our students’ journeys, including lower grade level teachers that got them there, and our dedicated support staff, custodians, food service workers and transportation employees, all of whom help to create our excellent learning campuses. Our Florence public education community is awesome!”


According to the SCDE data, Florence 1 had 1001 graduates while York 4 (Fort Mill) and York 2 (Clover), the two districts ranked higher, had 1157 graduates and 599 graduates, respectively. Superintendent Richard O’Malley said the growth in the district has been tremendous.


“It does not go unnoticed by me, the hard work and dedication it takes on the part of our staff and all of our students to achieve these results,” O’Malley said. “Graduation rates are used to rank schools throughout the nation and we are showing that our schools truly are among the best. When I came here I said that I wanted to build a winning school district, on the athletic fields, in the music room, in the band room and in the classroom. We want to be number one and we are almost there.”