Buncombe Schools superintendent touts improving grades

SCHOOL GRADES: The Buncombe County Board of Education met one day after school grades were announced by the N.C. Department of Public Instruction. Buncombe received mostly higher marks than a year ago. Photo courtesy of Buncombe County Schools

In the first Buncombe County Board of Education meeting since the start of the 2023-24 school year, Superintendent Rob Jackson touted Buncombe Schools’ mostly improved grades over last year.

For the first time since 2015, students at 20 Buncombe Schools exceeded learning expectations during the 2022-23 school year, eight more than last year. Three fewer schools were designated as “low performing” compared to last year, while the same three schools earned an A grade.

“We know that certainly we have work to do in areas to improve. We’re not satisfied,” Jackson told board members at the Sept. 7 meeting. “For now, though, these results coupled with our highest ever cohort graduation rate and matching our current year highest ACT county average makes me very excited and enthusiastic for the future.”

Among full school populations, one school — Enka Intermediate — lost a letter grade, moving from a C last year to a D in 2022-23. Four schools moved from a D to a C — Reynolds Middle, Avery’s Creek, Leicester and Sand Hill-Venable elementary schools.

While Woodfin Elementary improved from an F to a D, one school earned an F grade for the second straight year — Johnston Elementary.

A school that earns a D or F is classified as low performing. It must come up with an improvement plan and inform parents of its performance grade, according to the N.C. Department of Public Instruction.

On the flip side, three schools earned an A grade for at least the second straight year — Early College High School and Middle College High School — both located on the A-B Tech campus — and Nesbitt Discovery Academy.

West Buncombe and Glen Arden elementary schools improved from a C to a B last school year.

Overall, 19 of Buncombe’s 45 schools earned a C and 12 received a B grade last year.

For comparison, at Asheville City Schools, five schools received a C grade, three got a B and one school got a D.

To calculate school grades, NCDPI uses 80% achievement, or various test scores, and 20% academic growth. For the second year in a row, 33 of Buncombe’s 45 schools met or exceeded growth expectations, which are calculated based on end of course assessments, according to NCDPI.

Two Asheville City schools — Asheville High and the School of Inquiry and Life Sciences at Asheville — exceeded growth expectations and only one, Isaac Dickson Elementary, did not meet expectations. The other six schools met expectations, according to NCDPI.

In other news

As part of the consent agenda, Buncombe board members approved a comprehensive list of advisory council members for each school for the 2023-24 school year.

According to board member Rob Elliot, since 1992, administrators at each Buncombe County school have put together advisory councils of teachers, parents, community members and students to help drive policy making by the school district. Councils consist of five to 20 people at each school, depending on interest.



Thanks for reading through to the end…

We share your inclination to get the whole story. For the past 25 years, Xpress has been committed to in-depth, balanced reporting about the greater Asheville area. We want everyone to have access to our stories. That’s a big part of why we've never charged for the paper or put up a paywall.

We’re pretty sure that you know journalism faces big challenges these days. Advertising no longer pays the whole cost. Media outlets around the country are asking their readers to chip in. Xpress needs help, too. We hope you’ll consider signing up to be a member of Xpress. For as little as $5 a month — the cost of a craft beer or kombucha — you can help keep local journalism strong. It only takes a moment.

Before you comment

The comments section is here to provide a platform for civil dialogue on the issues we face together as a local community. Xpress is committed to offering this platform for all voices, but when the tone of the discussion gets nasty or strays off topic, we believe many people choose not to participate. Xpress editors are determined to moderate comments to ensure a constructive interchange is maintained. All comments judged not to be in keeping with the spirit of civil discourse will be removed and repeat violators will be banned. See here for our terms of service. Thank you for being part of this effort to promote respectful discussion.

One thought on “Buncombe Schools superintendent touts improving grades

  1. T100

    I was a Prof at a peer university to NC State for 40 years. I can attest to the FACT that improved grades are not necessarily indicators of increased knowledge.. It is a LOT easier to implement grade inflation than improved actual results in education. Give the students the 1970 SAT and see how they do. But I am NOT blaming the teachers. Success in learning is a function of: aptitude, motivation, and skill of the instructor. Of the three the LAST one is the LEAST significant.

Leave a Reply

To leave a reply you may Login with your Mountain Xpress account, connect socially or enter your name and e-mail. Your e-mail address will not be published. All fields are required.