Local “report cards” show mixed results

Impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic are still being felt in many aspects of life, and local school districts are no exception.

The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI) released their annual School Performance Grades on Sept. 1, sharing data from the 2021-2022 school year. This is the first time these grades have been fully calculated since the 2018-2019 school year, the last one before the pandemic made an impact on education locally and throughout the state and nation.

NCDPI calculates the school performance grades based on each school’s achievement score (weight of 80 percent) and each school’s academic growth (weight of 20 percent). Achievement scores are calculated through test results while academic growth results are divided into to three categories: exceeded expectations, met expectations, and did not meet expectations. Each school is then assigned a letter grade based on a 15-point scale.

According to the NCDPI data, local school performance grades were generally similar to previous years. Out of the 27 schools (public and charter) in the Roanoke-Chowan area, D was the most common letter grade received from the 2021-22 results. Two schools attained an A grade while five received a failing F grade.

Fourteen local schools were designated as “low performing,” which the NCDPI defines as a school with a performance grade of D or F and a growth status of “met” or “not met” expectations. A total of 864 schools across North Carolina were designated as low performing, an increase from 488 schools identified in 2018-19.

Hertford County, Northampton County, and Bertie County districts were all designated as “low performing” based on the data for the 2021-22 year. NCDPI defines low performing districts as those that have more than 50 percent of their schools identified as low performing.

The statewide four-year graduation rate was 86.2 percent.

In Gates County’s district, three out of five schools received a C grade. The four-year graduation rate at Gates County Senior High was 87.9 percent.

Buckland Elementary: 50 (D grade) – met expectations

Gatesville Elementary: 57 (C grade) – did not meet expectations

T S Cooper Elementary: 56 (C grade) – exceeded expectations

Central Middle School: 54 (D grade) – exceeded expectations

Gates County Senior High: 62 (C grade) – met expectations

Dr. Barry Williams, Superintendent of Gates County Schools, noted accomplishments in test scores. Across the four-county region (and including Halifax County), Gates County Schools ranked first in 15 of 18 tested subjects scoring 4 or 5 for College Career Readiness (CCR) and ranked first in 14 of 18 tested subjects scoring levels 3, 4, or 5 for Grade Level Performance (GLP). In a few subjects, Gates County students performed higher than the state average.

“Overall, there are many accomplishments to celebrate as well as areas to focus on,” Dr. Williams stated. “The 2021-22 school year was still impacted by COVID-19 with an extremely large number of students and staff absences due to quarantines. Our focus will be to target areas of learning loss and build upon the strengths of our students and staff.”

Dr. Williams added that the district will continue to work to master content and demonstrate that mastery on state assessments.

“We look forward to the 2022-23 school year with the hope of minimal disruptions to the learning process,” he concluded.

Among the seven schools in Bertie County, the early college program had the highest grade in the district. The four-year cohort graduation rate at Bertie High rose to 90.9 percent while Bertie Early College High maintained a rate higher than 95 percent.

Aulander Elementary: 61 (C grade) – exceeded expectations

Colerain Elementary: 45 (D grade) – met expectations

West Bertie Elementary: 47 (D grade) – met expectations

Windsor Elementary: 53 (D grade) – exceeded expectations

Bertie Middle: 42 (D grade) – met expectations

Bertie Early College High: 74 (B grade) – exceeded expectations

Bertie High: 50 (D grade) – did not meet expectations

The grades for schools in Hertford County’s district were spread out, ranging from A to F. The graduation rates also ranged widely, from as low as 67.6 percent at Hertford County High School to more than 95 percent at Hertford County Early College and CS Brown High.

Ahoskie Elementary: 36 (F grade) – met expectations

Bearfield Primary: 43 (D grade) – met expectations

Riverview Elementary: 33 (F grade) – met expectations

Hertford County Middle: 38 (F grade) – met expectations

Hertford County High: 41 (D grade) – did not meet expectations

Hertford County Early College: 89 (A grade) – exceeded expectations

CS Brown High: 96 (A grade) – no expectations data listed

In Northampton County, the early college program received the highest grade in the district, as they have in previous years as well. Northampton Early College also had a graduation rate of more than 95 percent, while Northampton County High School’s rate was 72.4 percent.

Central Elementary: 41 (D grade) – met expectations

Willis Hare Elementary: 33 (F grade) – met expectations

Gaston STEM Leadership Academy: 39 (F grade) – met expectations

Conway Middle: 50 (D grade) – exceeded expectations

Northampton Early College: 78 (B grade) – no expectations data listed

Northampton County High School: 41 (D grade) – did not meet expectations

Northampton Virtual Academy: Insufficient data