Local schools again showed well in statistics released by the state on Monday.
The N.C. Department of Public Instruction stated in a release this week that 56.5 percent of high schools in the state received a grade of A or B based on such information as end-of-year test scores, graduation rates, ACT tests, academic growth, and indicators of a student’s readiness for college or a career.
Across all grade levels in the state, just 35.8 percent received an A or B grade.
The rate is much higher than that locally — nearly double that at 68 percent. There are 26 schools in Surry County; B.H. Tharrington was not included in the report as it is a primary school and only those with grades three and higher were listed.
Mount Airy City Schools said for purposes of accountability, Tharrington was paired with Jones Intermediate.
Of the 25 schools on the report, Surry County had one A, 16 B’s and seven C’s. No school was graded below C.
Surry County Schools has 19 campuses. The Surry Early College received a score of A. Then 11 schools received a B, with seven schools receiving a C. The cutoff for a B was a composite score of 70-85; five of the seven schools to receive a C had a score of 66 or higher, so they just missed the next grade.
Mount Airy City Schools posted two B’s and a C. Elkin City Schools had two B’s and a C last year, but the middle school climbed up to make all three B grades this year.
• Drilling down into the data, the county district noted:
“Across all grade levels (3-8) on the Reading, Mathematics, and Science End-of-Grade assessments, 67.3 percent of Surry County students scored at Achievement Level 3 and above compared to 58.8 percent across the state. Surry County Schools had two End-of-Grade subject areas ranked in the state top 10: fifth grade Mathematics (3rd) and fourth grade Reading (8th). Six additional End-of-Grade subjects had rankings in the top 20: fifth grade reading (12th); fifth grade science (12th); fourth grade math (13th); and sixth grade math (13th); third grade reading (18th); and eighth grade math (18th).”
Similarly, on the English II, Math I, and Biology End-of-Course assessments, 66.7 percent of Surry County students scored at Achievement Level 3 and above, up 4.2 percent from last year. Proficiencies across the state averaged 60.8 percent. As in the End-of-Grade results, Surry County had a End-of-Course ranking in the state top 15: Math I (13th).
• Mount Airy schools said its three schools met 100 percent of their academic growth goals. Also the schools met or exceeded growth for reading and math at all three schools. All three met or exceeded growth in K-12 science. The district ranked in the top 20 percent in achievements for end-of-grade and end-of-course testing.
The district said, “Average student growth is exception with an increase of 3.02 from last year, showing our dedication to every child.
• Mount Airy said Jones Intermediate exceeded growth and is ranked number 3 on the EVAAS growth index for all elementary schools in the state. Its fifth grade mathematics and science ranked second in the state for proficiency. Fifth grade reading ranked ninth in the state for proficiency.
Mount Airy Middle School met growth with 100% of students passing Math 1 and nearly 80 percent of students passing their science EOG. Sixth grade reading ranked 19th in the state for proficiency. Eighth grade mathematics ranked 15th in the state for proficiency. Eighth grade reading ranked 20th in the state for proficiency.
Mount Airy High School exceeded growth in end-of-course exams in English, biology and mathematics scoring 7 percentage points above the state average and ranking in the top 20 percent of EVAAS growth index. Math I ranked seventh in the state for proficiency. English II ranked 16th in the state for proficiency.
Mount Airy High School students scored 26 percent better than last year on WorkKeys which puts the district at 85 percent, an indicator of career readiness.
• The Department of Public Instruction said the state’s four-year high school graduation rate continued its upward trend, moving to 86.5 percent from the 85.9 percent the year before. North Carolina’s public schools have set a record graduation rate for a 12th consecutive year.
The graduation rate was higher for all three districts.
Mount Airy City reported a rate of 88 percent. Elkin City had 94 percent.
Surry County has four high schools, all of which scored the state average or better, with an average of 90.6 percent. North Surry had 86 percent, Surry Central 93, East Surry 94 and the Early College is listed as 95+ (the report doesn’t list any number higher than 95). The district noted that North Surry’s rate was an all-time high.
• While the state report lists many spreadsheets of data, Surry County Schools said it also got an overall district ranking.
The county said out of 115 districts in the state it ranked 13th for the past school year with an overall academic performance score of 67.2 percent.
“Being 13th in the state for academic performance of 115 school districts is an accomplishment that makes our Surry County Schools’ family very proud,” said Dr. Travis Reeves, superintendent.
“We realize this does not happen by chance. The implementation of the strategic plan set by the Surry County Schools Board of Education lead us in the right direction to move forward, and the deliberate high-impact teaching and learning in every classroom everyday also moved the needle.
“Our teachers, our administrators, and all our support staff are committed to providing personalized and customized educational experiences for students daily so they can achieve to their highest potential.”
When presenting the data to the school board a year ago, assistant principal Jeff Tunstall said he and his staff gave a few “yee haws” when they saw the county’s ranking at that time.
This continues a pattern of growth up the rankings for Surry from being between 24th and 19th for three years before jumping up to 15th last year and now 13th this year.
Mount Airy City Schools gave a written comment on the test scores and didn’t give a ranking. However, last year the district, like Surry and Elkin, was in the top quarter of all school districts in the state.
“Mount Airy City Schools staff has gone above and beyond, providing a quality education amidst many challenges,” wrote Dr. Kim Morrison, city superintendent. “Again, we are among the top school districts for growth in the state. We will continue to grow every child, every day through our continuous improvement model.”
“It’s great news that the top-line trends are in the right direction. We can all be proud, for instance, that most schools meet or exceed growth,” said Mark Johnson, state superintendent of public schools.
“But deeper into the data,”he said, “the results show stubborn concerns that call out for innovative approaches. It is with innovation and personalized learning that we can transform incremental progress into generalized success.”
“I commend teachers and students on these achievements and encourage everyone to continue to press forward,” said Dr. Reeves. “We are extremely pleased with the results of 2016-2017, but it is a new school year with new challenges. There are areas of concern we will continue to focus on in order to provide a quality education to all students.”
For all the data on individual schools and grade levels, visit the public schools’ website at www.ncpublicschools.org/accountability/reporting.