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4 schools work off "Low Performing" status & Carver Heights Elem. demonstrates huge gains in first year under new leadership

On Wednesday, September 4, the 2018-19 Accountability and School Performance Grades Report was presented to the State Board of Education. Locally, there were many positive gains that can be found across Wayne County Public Schools (WCPS). Four WCPS schools worked their way off the state’s “Low Performing” list: Brogden Primary, Carver Heights Elementary, Mount Olive Middle, and Northeast Elementary. All WCPS elementary schools experienced increases in EOG scores in 2018-19. Overall, the largest EOG composite score increases were +14.2 (Northeast Elementary), +12.4 (Grantham Elementary) and +11.6 (Carver Heights Elementary). The largest EOG Math Score increases were +18.3 (Northeast Elementary), +15.7 (Grantham Elementary), and +12.8 (Carver Elementary). Mount Olive Middle had the largest EOG composite score increase (+6.2) among WCPS middle schools.

Carver Heights Elementary Results
Some of the most significant results are reflected by Carver Heights Elementary, which will no longer be classified as a “Low Performing” school by the state. Superintendent Dr. Michael Dunsmore shared the following statement about the school’s gains:

“Last fall, Carver Heights Elementary was among the lowest performing schools in the state and was under threat of state takeover. In order to address issues locally, my administrative team with the full support of our Board of Education moved forward with its own restart efforts at the school by replacing the principal with school turnaround expert Dr. Patrice Faison. As a result, we were able to implement immediate and enhanced support efforts in order to quickly begin impacting student performance, staff morale, and family engagement.

While much credit goes to the school for its success this past school year, I would be remiss if I did not again extend my gratitude to Representative John Bell, Senator Don Davis, Representative Raymond Smith and the many other members of the North Carolina General Assembly for their efforts to implement legislation that ultimately resulted in Carver Heights Elementary remaining under local control. That single piece of legislation gave the North Carolina Board of Education the flexibility and opportunity to show their unanimous support of our district’s restart efforts that had been put in place and were well underway. More importantly, it instantly settled any uncertainties and concerns about the school’s future, allowing students, staff and the school community to remain focused in its resolve to increase learning and performance. While there is still much heavy lifting to be done, we congratulate Dr. Faison and her staff for their herculean efforts in accomplishing such significant growth and progress in a short time.”   

Overall and in the following tested areas, Carver Heights Elementary demonstrated some of the most dramatic gains:

+11.6 increase in EOG composite scores (3rd highest increase by a WCPS elementary school in 2018-19)
+9.3 increase in EOG reading scores (Highest increase by a WCPS elementary school in 2018-19)
+26 increase in EOG science scores (Highest increase by a WCPS elementary school in 2018-19)
+14 increase in School Performance Grade (CHE moved from an F to a D School Performance Grade)

District-Wide Results
Fora full breakdown, click on WCPS Academic Growth Measures and School Performance Results. As a local snapshot, the 2018-19 Accountability and School Performance Grades Report states:
  • Five schools improved their School Performance Grades (Carver Heights Elementary, Grantham Elementary, Mount Olive Middle, Northeast Elementary, and Wayne School of Engineering.)
  • Four schools are expected to be removed from the state's list of “Low Performing” schools (Brogden Primary, Carver Heights Elementary, Mount Olive Middle and Northeast Elementary).
  • The district’s four-year Cohort Graduation Rate is 82.6%, compared to 82.5% the previous year. The state’s Cohort Graduation Rate is 86.5%.
    22 of 30 schools (73.3%) met or exceeded expected growth up from 63.3% a year ago.
  • Based on a 15-point scale, the following School Performance Letter Grades were received: Two A’s (85-100), One B (70-84), Sixteen C’s (55-69), Eight D’s (40-54), and Two F’s (Less than 40).
  • 94% of WCPS 12th graders earned Math Course Rigor by successfully completing a Math III course.
  • 18 of 29 schools (62.1%) posted higher school performances scores than in the previous year.
  • WCPS achieved an English Learner (EL) Progress rate of 40.5%, compared with 38.6% statewide.
  • 41.5% of WCPS 11th Grade students who took the ACT earned at least a 17, the UNC system minimum score.
  • 72.2% of WCPS students, who are Career & Technical Education concentrators, earned a Silver certificate or higher on the ACT WorkKeys assessments.

What is the state’s school accountability program?
North Carolina’s school accountability program uses the uniform implementation of valid and reliable grade-appropriate assessment instruments in order to measure student achievement. This achievement can then be gauged against state and federal standards.

How are School Performance Grades calculated?  
As required by state legislation, the School Performance Grades are based 80 percent on the school’s achievement score and 20 percent on students’ academic growth. Elementary and middle schools’ achievement scores are based only on test scores. These include end-of-grade reading and mathematics tests at the 3-8 grade levels; end-of-grade science tests at grades 5 and 8, if applicable, end-of-course tests in Math I, and English Learner Progress.

The high school achievement score is based on student performance on Math, English II and Biology end-of-course tests, and on the percentage of students who score 17 or above on The ACT (UNC System’s minimum composite score requirement) or who achieved a Silver Certificate or better on the ACT WorkKeys, the percentage of 12th grade students who have successfully completed Math III, the school’s four-year cohort graduation rate, and English Learner Progress.

What is Academic Growth?
Academic Growth is a valuable indicator of the school’s impact on a students’ learning. A student’s academic growth is calculated using his or her achievement scores from state end-of-grade assessments.  While a single achievement score is a reflection of a student’s performance at a single point in time, a student’s academic growth charts his/her performance over multiple points in time. 

Should parents be concerned if their child’s school has a low School Performance Grade?
One letter grade cannot capture all of the positive things happening in a school. Parents are encouraged to talk to a school’s principal and teachers and to look at all of the school measures reflected in the North Carolina School Report Cards to determine how their child’s school is doing in comparison to others in the district and across the state.

How is WCPS working to improve academic performance in schools?
“Our teachers and staff are working diligently in all of our schools to increase rigor and student performance,” states Dr. Michael Dunsmore, WCPS superintendent. “Overall, we have seen a number of gains that were not necessarily reflected across the state. Additionally, we have four schools moving off the state’s ‘Low Performing’ list and many others demonstrating growth and performance increases. While there is still much work to be done, we can be confident that the local steps being put in place to address academic achievement are working.”

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