Elkin schools rank B in state grading; most others score C or better

By Kathy Chaffin - kchaffin@civitasmedia.com

The N.C. Department of Public Instruction’s “Ready Accountability Report” released Wednesday showed all three Elkin City Schools earning a “B” on statewide School Performance Grades (SPG).

The score for Elkin Middle was up a letter grade from last year’s C, while the letter grades for the elementary and high schools remained the same.

Shelia Settle, director of testing and accountability for the school system, said, “A ‘B’ score is a very good statement about a school system.”

Last year was the first year the state’s public school systems received a letter grade. The score is comprised of 80 percent proficiency and 20 percent growth and is calculated on a 15-point scale with 100-85 being an A, 84-70 a B, 69-55 a C, 54 to 40 a D and anything under that, an F.

Prior to last year, Settle said schools did not receive a letter grade. Systems were determined to have either “exceeded,” “met” or “did not meet” growth.

“This is the third collection year for data using the new curriculum and assessments,” she said. “All historical data trends prior to 2012-13 will not be comparable because everything has changed so much.

“In the baseline year (2012-13), you will expect to see lower scores,” Settle said, “because it is a learning year for teachers and students to cover new material. After the baseline year, you should see a gradual, steady increase in proficiency score.”

Numerical grades by school were as follows: Elkin Elementary, 73; Elkin Middle, 70; and Elkin High, 79. Elkin Elementary’s numerical score was up one point from the 72 it received last year. Elkin Middle’s numerical score was up four points from last year’s score of 66, and Elkin High’s numerical score was down three points from last year’s 82.

There are three categories in the “Growth Status” column of the results: “exceeded,” “met” and “did not meet.” Elkin Elementary, Elkin Middle and Elkin High schools all “met” growth.

Dr. Randy Bledsoe, superintendent of the Elkin City Schools, said the school system has many caring educators and education staff members “who work very hard to enhance various teaching methods and learning opportunities for every child. We have a long-standing tradition of excellence where every student is expected to achieve at his/her highest level, and we value the strong support that our parents and community members provide.

“Our test scores and data comparisons reflect our focus on ‘excellence’ in academic achievement. I am most proud of our teachers and staff for meeting the growth standards at all three schools … As a district, we met 97.2 percent of our Annual Measurable Objectives (AMO). This reflects individualized instruction and student achievement. Elkin City Schools will continue to place emphasis on Producing Globally Competitive Students.”

The graduation rate at Elkin High School was 92 percent, up from 89.5 percent last year. Settle said the school system puts a lot of effort into keeping students in school. “We work really hard to stay in touch with students and to help them obtain that goal,” she said.

Elkin High Principal Joel Hoyle said while he is pleased that the percentage is up from last year, “our goal is to have 100 percent of our students graduate. We don’t want to lose any of them.”

Hoyle said it is important for school staff to get to know students from the time they enter high school and maintain a relationship with them the whole time they are there. “Hopefully, we make them feel welcome and let them know that somebody here cares about them,” he said. “That goes a long way.

“Being a smaller school helps in that process, too.”

The graduation rates for other high schools in the immediate area are as follows: East Wilkes High School, 84.2 percent; Surry Central High School, 90.6 percent; Forbush High School, 93.4 percent; and Starmount High School, 91.7 percent.

Dr. Travis L. Reeves, superintendent of the Surry County Schools, said he is proud of the school system’s high graduation rates. The school system’s overall 2014-15 graduation rate was 89.6 percent, which is 4.2 percent above the state average.

””””I appreciate the work of all our principals because I understand that graduation rate is a Pre-K-12 effort,” Reeves said. “I especially appreciate the efforts of all our high school principals who make graduation for all students a priority. High school principals and their staffs make home visits and personalize individual students’ schedules through flexible options such as our virtual academy in order to maximize opportunities for graduation.”

In Surry County, schools in the immediate area scored as follows on performance grades: Surry Central High School, C with a numerical score of 64; Surry Central Middle, C with a numerical score of 68; Copeland Elementary, C with a numerical score of 67; Dobson Elementary, C with a numerical score of 66; Mountain Park Elementary, C with a numerical score of 56; and Rockford Elementary, C with a numerical score of 62.

As for the growth status results, Copeland, Mountain Park and Rockford elementary schools all met growth. Surry Central Middle scored an “exceeds growth,” while Surry Central High and Dobson Elementary did not meet growth.

Surry Early College earned an A+NG with a numerical score of 92.

In Wilkes County, letter grades and numerical scores by local schools were as follows: C.B. Eller Elementary, a C with a 69 numerical score exceeding growth; East Wilkes High, a C with a 61 score, which did not meet growth; East Wilkes Middle, C with a 65 numerical score exceeding growth; Ronda-Clingman Elementary, a C with a 55 which met growth; and Traphill Elementary, a D with a 49 which did meet growth.

Wilkes County Schools Superintendent Dr. Marty Hemric was out of town and could not be reached for comment on the story.

In Yadkin County, letter and numerical scores by school were as follows: Boonville Elementary, C with a 64 which exceeded growth; Courtney Elementary, B with a 75 which met growth; East Bend Elementary, C with a 60 which met growth; Fall Creek Elementary, C with a 67 which exceeded growth; Forbush Elementary, B with a 79 which exceeded growth; Forbush Middle, C with a 60 which did not meet growth; Forbush High; B with a 72 which met growth; Jonesville Elementary, C with a 60 which did not meet growth; Starmount Middle, C with a 65 which exceeded growth; Starmount High, B with a 70 which met growth; and West Yadkin Elementary, C with a 64 which exceeded growth.

The Yadkin Early College scored an A with a 91.

Dr. Todd Martin, superintendent of the school system, said he was pleased to see graduation rates up at the two high schools. “We’re almost at 90 percent,” he said, “which is the highest it’s ever been.”

Martin said school performance grades also went up. “We did not have any schools that scored a D,” he said. “Last year, there was one.”

Test scores also showed that 12 of Yadkin’s 14 school systems met or exceeded school accountability growth results. “That means the teachers are doing a good job and students are learning,” he said. “Overall, I’m seeing some positive results for Yadkin County,” he said.

Martin said preliminary test results provided by state officials were shared with principals at the system’s summer leadership meetings to use in working with teachers and other staff to develop goals for the 2015-16 school year.

Kathy Chaffin may be reached at 336-258-4058.

By Kathy Chaffin


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