Schools receive report cards
The N.C. Department of Public Instruction released its annual school performance grades on Sept. 5. As of the 2013-14 school year, the N.C. General Assembly has required that schools receive individual letter grades composed of student achievement (80 percent) and growth (20 percent) on state standardized assessments.
Detailed school report cards will be released in November, including data on academic performance by grade level and subject.
Asheville City Schools
Top marks in the Asheville system went to the School of Inquiry and Life Sciences, which received a grade of A and met growth expectations.
Asheville schools receiving B’s included Asheville High School and Isaac Dickson and Claxton elementary schools. Asheville City Schools’ other six sites earned C’s. The system touted its high school graduation rate of 89.4 percent as its highest ever; the statewide rate is 86.3 percent.
Buncombe County Schools
In Buncombe County, A grades went to Nesbitt Discovery Academy (which exceeded growth expectations), Buncombe County Early College (which met growth expectations) and Buncombe County Middle College (new last year).
In a press release, Buncombe County Schools highlighted Valley Springs Middle School, which the system says “experienced six straight years of exceeding growth and had the highest growth index among all BCS schools,” as well as Emma Elementary, which “experienced five consecutive years of exceeding growth.” Additionally, “six BCS schools improved from ‘not meeting growth’ to ‘exceeding growth’ last year.”
The lowest-ranking county public schools included Erwin Middle, Johnston Elementary and Oakley Elementary, which received D’s.
Buncombe County’s high school graduation rate was 87.8 percent.
Henderson County Schools
Henderson County Early College and Hendersonville High School received A’s, and Hendersonville High also saw the system’s largest individual growth index at 6.03, followed by Bruce Drysdale Elementary with its growth index of 4.93.
Twelve of the system’s schools received B grades, while eight received C’s.
“The release of the state accountability data always gives us a chance to review areas of strength and opportunities for continuous improvement,” said Jan King, assistant superintendent for instructional services, in a press release.
Madison County Schools
Madison Early College High received an A, while Mars Hill Elementary got a B and exceeded growth expectations. Two other Madison schools received B’s and two received C’s. Only Madison High School, with a grade of C, failed to meet growth expectations.
Transylvania County Schools
Three schools in Transylvania County received B’s and five received C’s, with three meeting and five not meeting growth expectations; one Transylvania school is an alternative program.
Henderson County establishes virtual public school
Using online educational tools and Henderson County teachers, the Henderson County Public Schools launched a virtual public school to serve a range of student needs at the high school level.
Students at any of the district’s five high schools can access courses including coding, accounting, forensic science, creative writing and Advanced Placement psychology and Spanish; total course offerings encompass 20 sections of 16 courses.
According to Scott Cowan, Henderson County’s eLearning adviser, the online options provide flexibility for students who want to enrich their educational program, take a course not offered at their school, plan to graduate early or have medical issues that prevent them from attending classes on campus. The flexibility also allows HCPS to serve students who have struggled in face-to-face classes, as well as those behind in credits seeking to catch up.
“What is unique about this option compared to other online vendors is that the teachers are just across town — not in Wilmington or Raleigh — if students need on-site support or a parent conference is needed,” said Jan King of HCPS in a press release. “It is an asset to the program that students receive guidance, feedback and instructional support from a local teacher,” added Cowan.