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85 percent of SCS’s schools meet, exceed growth in academics

Only three of Stanly County’s 20 public schools failed to meet or exceed the state’s academic growth standards in results released Wednesday by the N.C. Department of Instruction for the previous school year.

Albemarle High, North Stanly Middle and South Stanly High are the only schools to have not met growth. Albemarle High and North Stanly Middle both remained C-grade schools while South Stanly dropped from a B-grade school to a C.

Albemarle Middle, Badin Elementary, Endy Elementary, East Albemarle Elementary, Millingport Elementary, Oakboro Choice STEM, Richfield Elementary, West Stanly Middle and South Stanly Middle exceeded school growth while Aquadale Elementary, Central Elementary, Locust Elementary, North Stanly High, Norwood Elementary, Stanfield Elementary, Stanly Early College and West Stanly met school growth. For charter schools, Gray Stone Day School also exceeded school growth.

No data was available for the Stanly Academy Learning Center and Stanly County Virtual Education.

Around 73 percent of the state’s 2,523 public schools met or exceeded their expectations for student progress on exams, according to the News and Observer.

Several schools showed improvement from 2017-2018 to 2018-2019. Albemarle Middle, Endy, Millingport, Oakboro Choice, Richfield, South Stanly Middle and Gray Stone exceeded growth after not meeting growth the year before, while Locust and Norwood met growth after not meeting growth the year before.

“Overall, things look pretty good,” Director of Testing and Accountability Timothy Hatley said. “To me, the fact that we are ‘growing’ our students is one of the most telling measures. With over 85 percent of our schools meeting or exceeding expected growth, that is huge.”

In addition to measuring academic proficiency and growth, the NCDPI accountability results assign schools grades. SCS is home to one A school (Stanly Early College High), six B schools (compared to five the previous year), 12 C schools (compared to eight the previous year) and one D school (compared to six the previous year).

Comparing 2017-2018 data to the 2018-2019 data released Wednesday:

  • Albemarle High remained a C school;
  • Albemarle Middle went from a D to a C school;
  • Aquadale went from a B to a C school;
  • Badin remained a B school;
  • Central went from a C to a D school;
  • Endy went from a D to a C school;
  • East Albemarle remained a C school;
  • Locust went from a C to a B school;
  • Millingport went from a D to a B school;
  • North Stanly Middle remained a C school;
  • North Stanly High remained a B school;
  • Norwood went from a D to a C school;
  • Oakboro Choice went from a D to a C school;
  • Richfield remained a C school;
  • West Stanly Middle went from a C to a B school;
  • South Stanly High went from a B to a C school;
  • South Stanly Middle went from a D to a C school;
  • Stanfield remained a C school;
  • Stanly Early College remained a A school;
  • West Stanly High remained a B school; and
  • Gray Stone went from a B to a A school.

Though her school received a D, Central Elementary principal Melissa Smith was proud it had met school growth.

“We come to work early, we leave late,” she said.

Though the school didn’t grow as much as it would  like, “our children still grow,” she said.

Smith is confident about the school’s future and that students can continue to grow.

“We’re on our way,” she said. “We’re going back to the mountain top.”

School performance grades are made up of two weighted factors: 80 percent on achievement (reading and math assessments along with other tests) and 20 percent on growth.

“In creating the School Performance Grading system, the state gave us a consistent tool of measurement that considers both proficiency (where one is at) and growth (how far they have moved),” Hatley said. “The inclusion of both factors is extremely important as that attempts to level the ‘playing field.’ ”

He said that whereas some schools — often more affluent — consistently achieve high proficiency scores but fail to move or grow their students, it’s the exact opposite for many other schools.

A school’s achievement score (multiplied by .80) and its growth score (multiplied by .20) are combined to get the school’s performance score which dictates the school’s letter grade.

For more information, visit: http://www.dpi.state.nc.us/accountability/reporting/

About Chris Miller

Chris Miller has been with the SNAP since January 2019. He is a graduate of NC State and received his Master's in Journalism from the University of Maryland. He previously wrote for the Capital News Service in Annapolis, where many of his stories on immigration and culture were published in national papers via the AP wire.

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