NHCS Announces Release of NC School Performance Grades

By / Life on the Island / Monday, 02 March 2015 05:00

FEBRUARY 5, 2015---New Hanover County Schools announced today the release of the NC School Performance Grades for most of our schools: http://www.ncpublicschools.org/accountability/reporting/. The General Assembly passed legislation in 2012 that requires the state to issue A-F grades for nearly all schools in North Carolina. The grades are based on a 15-point scale for this first report card, but will be reported on a 10-point scale in the following years.
Most schools in NHCS performed well based on this new assessment and received grades A-C. For those schools that received lower grades, we will assist and support them in a variety of ways, such as continuing to provide high quality staff, continuing to use the most effective educational practices and ensuring high-quality professional development for all teachers. Overall, the district is proud of the work and achievements of all of our schools. Many factors must be considered when analyzing test data such as socioeconomic issues, new administrators, test anxiety and more.
Each school within NHCS is different, but they all offer opportunities for students to learn, grow and be successful. The district has dedicated teachers, principals and support staff who are making a difference daily in the lives of students. A snapshot report card cannot capture all of the great things happening within our schools.
For example, Virgo Preparatory Academy is a community school, with high student attendance, relatively low student discipline and a higher percent of students applying to early colleges than other schools in the district. The school reopened in 2012 with only a sixth grade class and has added a grade level each year. Unfortunately, with the current calculation of School Performance scores, Virgo is placed at a disadvantage by not having an eighth grade class. While other middle schools are able to include Math I scores, 8th grade Reading scores, 8th grade Math scores and 8th grade Science 8 scores, Virgo is not. The current school year is the first year that Virgo has had all three grade levels and the district is confident that future School Performance scores will be a better indicator of the student outcomes.
"While we celebrate those schools that received high marks, we know that our schools are more than just a score. This is just one measurement that does not fully reflect the quality of education being provided in our schools. Our goal is continuous improvement in all areas and I am confident that our schools will continue to perform better if this assessment continues. As a district, we will continue to stay focused on providing a high quality education for all students and working on those areas where we need to improve," said Dr. Tim Markley, NHCS Superintendent.  
NHCS is committed to a rigorous and comprehensive plan to improve educational outcomes for all students, close achievement gaps and improve the quality of instruction so that students are prepared for success in post-secondary education and the workforce.
"We are going to stay focused on helping our students master more challenging content so they can meet grade level standards- what the state refers to as “proficiency”- and we’re going to stay focused on making sure our students continue to grow every year – or what the state calls “expected growth,” Dr. Markley added.
For parents who want specific information on how individual schools will address the school performance grades, please contact your student's principal. The most recent Superintendent's Blog also contains more information about NHCS' School Performance scores: www.nhcs.net/word press/timmarkley.
Other Measures of Success:
- Each year, NHCS has students who qualify for Park Scholarships, National Merit Scholars, National Merit Finalists, Morehead Scholars, North Carolina Scholars, NC Governor’s School and the NC School of Science and Math.
-- Presently, the district has over 400 National Board Certified Teachers (NBCT) and continues to be among the leaders in the state with the highest numbers of NBCTs.
-- We have the Southeast Regional Principal of the Year - Dr. Robin Hamilton of Parsley Elementary School. The North Carolina Regional Teacher of the Year for the 2014-2015 school year is Melissa Gillespie, a teacher at Laney High School.
-- New Hanover County Schools is committed to ensuring that students have access to high quality online learning opportunities that prepare them for success. Over the past seven years, the district has worked to develop what is now one of North Carolina's top programs for online learning. Since the program began in 2007, it has grown to include middle school and opportunities for accelerated graduation.
--Laney High School launched a new STEM program designed to educate all students by providing rigorous educational opportunities that emphasize high standards and continuous improvement in science, mathematics, biomedical technology and engineering, to prepare them for citizenship, higher education, and global competition in the 21st century through partnerships with businesses, community organizations, and local educational institutions. New Hanover High School offers several unique academic programs, including the award-winning Lyceum Program. Ashley High School has the Marine Science Academy with partnerships with Cape Fear Community College and UNCW. Hoggard High School is preparing to launch an International Baccalaureate program which will support the school and its teachers to provide a rigorous, high-quality education, offering professional development that improves pedagogy and leadership. Forest Hills Global Elementary School offers immersion programs that provide a strong multicultural academic foundation in a positive, differentiated and dual language environment.
--Claire McFall, social worker at Sunset Park Elementary School, was named the North Carolina State Social Worker of the Year.


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