County schools receive annual ‘report card’

Published 4:45 pm Friday, September 22, 2023

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GATESVILLE – While students are settling into their studies for the new year, school districts across North Carolina are receiving their “report cards” from the previous year.

The North Caroline Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI) released the annual School Performance Grades on Sept. 6, based on data from the 2022-23 school year.

The “report card” system has been in place since the NC General Assembly approved it in 2013. The grades are calculated based on each school’s achievement score (weight of 80 percent) and each school’s academic growth (weight of 20 percent). Achievement scores are based on test results while academic growth results are divided into three categories: exceeded expectations, met expectations, and did not meet expectations.

A numerical grade is determined and then each school is assigned a letter grade based on a 15-point scale.

In Gates County, four out of five schools received C grades, with Buckland Elementary improving by one letter grade compared to last year.

Only one school – Central Middle – was designated as “low performing” by the state, which is defined as schools that receive a performance grade of D or F and do not exceed growth expectations.

The four-year graduation rate at the district’s high school was 86.6 percent.

Buckland Elementary: 62 (C grade) – exceeded expectations

Gatesville Elementary: 62 (C grade) – did not meet expectations

TS Cooper Elementary: 60 (C grade) – met expectations

Central Middle School: 49 (D grade) – met expectations

Gates County Senior High: 68 (C grade) – met expectations

“It is important to acknowledge that these ‘grades’ do not fully reflect the efforts and improvements in student growth and academic success that has been achieved, nor do they reflect the tremendous work and dedication our teachers, staff and administrators put forth on a daily basis to educate our students,” stated Dr. Barry Williams, who serves as superintendent for Gates County Schools.

Williams pointed to gains in multiple areas that indicate positive growth within the district, and noted that standardized tests do not show how many hours teachers spend on lessons and making sure students get the support and care they need. He expressed appreciation for the hard work being done by teachers and staff.

“Education is a continuous journey, and it’s clear that Gates County Schools is dedicated to improving academic outcomes for our students and to providing a supportive and caring learning environment. With continued persistence and dedication, our academic growth continues and our students continue to thrive,” he concluded.

In statewide statistics, the four-year graduation rate was 86.4 percent, the same as it was last year. There were 804 schools across North Carolina that were designated as “low performing” which is a decrease from 864 last year. The number of low performing districts in the state also dropped from 29 to 25.

Despite the learning disruption in the wake of the pandemic which caused declines in last year’s scores, this year’s results showed strong gains in math and reading.

“It’s hard to overstate the impact of the pandemic, but teachers across North Carolina are working harder than ever to help students recover, and more importantly, advance in their learning,” said State Superintendent of Public Instruction Catherine Truitt in a press release.

“We’ve now seen two consecutive years of gains that were greater than any of the several years preceding the pandemic losses,” she continued. “Students and schools still have a way to go to catch up, but we have good reason to think that progress will continue.”