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State School Performance Grades Released

SEPTEMBER 5, 2018 – With the release of the 2017-18 School Performance Grades, Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools is celebrating many continued success stories and several optimistic signs of growth.

While much of the state’s data release indicates maintained student outcomes, overall, there are few signs of significant change to student achievement. That is why today, the district is announcing an approach that will replicate and scale up strategies and ideas taken by schools with recent improvement and a proven record of accomplishment.

Superintendent Beverly Emory said, “We are pleased to see patterns and trends emerging that demonstrate consistent student outcomes.”

Today’s results show several schools continue to maintain excellent student growth outcomes over multiple years:






Rating Growth
Rating Growth
Clemmons ES 4.15 Exceeded 2.91 Exceeded 3.26 Exceeded
Mineral Springs ES 0.6 Met 6.19 Exceeded 5.23 Exceeded
Clemmons MS 2.99 Exceeded -0.35 Met 6.8 Exceeded
Flat Rock MS 1.63 Met 6.09 Exceeded 3.75 Exceeded
Meadowlark MS 4.8 Exceeded 3.51 Exceeded 4.4 Exceeded
John F. Kennedy HS 4.1 Exceeded 6.66 Exceeded 3.35 Exceeded
West Forsyth HS 16.42 Exceeded 14.98 Exceeded 6.13 Exceeded

The leaders of these schools are consistent and balance the district’s core value of high expectations (“We challenge ourselves to inspire every student’s pursuit of greatness”) with accountability (“We take responsibility for and reflect on our impact on student outcomes”). They limit the number of initiatives in order to maintain focus on improving instruction to enable teachers to teach and students to learn at their best.

Students 2 Sandra Hunter, principal of Clemmons Middle School, said, “Clemmons Middle School has a culture built on mutual trust, respect, collaboration, high expectations and a shared vision for student growth. We expect strong core instruction, and we work together to create the best learning environment possible for our students. Our success comes from empowering teachers to be leaders in and out of the classroom and focusing on what is best for students.”

Five WS/FC schools with new leadership (fewer than three years at the school) have experienced markedly improved student outcomes: Cook Literacy Model School, Gibson Elementary, South Fork Elementary, Northwest Middle, and Carver High. Research shows effective principals can make significant improvements during their first few years and their effectiveness likely increases over time.

Cook, Gibson, South Fork, and Carver all increased student proficiency on end-of-grade or end-of-course tests by at least 10 percentage points from 2015-16 to 2017-18. Northwest improved student growth from -2.88 in 2015-16 to +2.40 in 2017-18. In addition, Gibson, South Fork, and Carver improved their school performance grades by one letter grade. Here are their results:


  2016 2017 2018
Rating Growth
Rating Growth
Cook LMS -3.86 Not Met -0.40 Met 3.59 Exceeded
Gibson ES -8.99 Not Met -0.69 Met 1.99 Met
South Fork ES -0.33 Met 3.87 Exceeded 4.97 Exceeded
Northwest MS -2.88 Not Met 3.02 Exceeded 2.12 Exceeded
Carver HS -4.06 Not Met 4.08 Exceeded 6.45 Exceeded

Collectively, the leaders share similar approaches to school turnaround. They all focus on engaging students through increased attention to students’ social and emotional needs. These leaders make school culture a central consideration for day-to-day activities. One of the district’s core beliefs is “Students remember how we make them feel,” and these school leaders exemplify that belief.

Students 1 These schools, like their longer-serving counterparts, utilize data-driven decision making for addressing students’ academic needs. In addition, these leaders all invoke real-time changes to enact adjustments when something isn’t working. They are not afraid to try something new or to take a different approach to see if a slight change in direction will have better results.

Paula Wilkins, principal of Cook Literacy Model School (CLMS), said, “At CLMS, we focus on core instructional systems, collaboration, and use of ongoing processes to review and respond to data. Educators also practice lessons, techniques, and new skills prior to presenting to students. Other professions engage in ongoing practice, and, to continuously improve, we must do the same to ensure that our schools increase student learning outcomes.”

Today, North Carolina released the 2017-18 School Performance Grades (SPG), which were implemented in 2014-15. These grades, ranging from A to F, reflect a combination of student proficiency (80%) and student growth (20%). The grades are designed to provide a brief snapshot of student academic performance.

For 2017-18, eight (11%) traditional schools in WS/FCS received an SPG of A, 13 (18%) received a B, 19 (26%) received a C, 21 (29%) received a D, and 11 (15%) received an F. These results are similar to last year’s distribution of grades for WS/FCS.

New this year, the state changed its calculation of the four-year cohort graduation rate. The rate now includes the graduation status of students who transfer into a district behind in credits, so a decrease is to be expected. In 2017-18, seniors in Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools graduated at a rate of 84.4%, down slightly from 86.5% in 2016-17.  Over time, the district has improved its graduation rate by almost 14 percent, up from 70.8% in 2008. Comparatively, North Carolina recorded a graduation rate of 86.3% in 2017-18.

Emory 22 While the district hoped to meet its goal of a 90% graduation rate by 2018, several high schools already have graduation rates above 90%: Atkins Academic &Technology, Early College of Forsyth, Middle College of Forsyth, Mount Tabor, John F. Kennedy, Reagan, and West Forsyth.  Given the unexpected changes in rate calculation, the district is looking to extend the districtwide goal of a 90% graduation rate. 

The district recognizes the efforts of community partners to help improve the student success rate. The United Way of Forsyth County, the Winston-Salem Chamber of Commerce, Graduate. It Pays, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, and The Forsyth Promise each continue to support programs to help students graduate.

For additional NC ESSA Accountability results, visit N.C. Public Schools.

“We are not satisfied with these district results. We feel a strong sense of urgency to improve support for schools so that we can address student outcomes,” stated Emory.

District leadership recognizes many of these scores require a sense of resolve to address support and monitoring services to help schools improve student outcomes. Using the successful schools as role models, the district hopes to replicate and scale up the approach taken by schools with proven track records or recent improvement.

Inspire340 provides support to schools within Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools that have the federal designation of being a Priority or Focus school. Inspire340 schools participate in additional professional development, and principals receive focused coaching leadership support. This initiative has become a model for enhanced and targeted support for all schools. In 2017-18, 13 of 15 Inspire340 schools either met or exceeded expected growth.

Students 55 For more information regarding Inspire340 schools, please visit Inspire340.

Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools is announcing the launch of three targeted design teams to examine how the district provides support and holds schools accountable for imperative initiatives. The design teams will make recommendations for changes to processes, personnel, and organizational structure to enhance student opportunities for success. Some of the recommendations will be for immediate implementation, while others may have more long-term implications. Each design team has a unique focus expected to result in targeted, differentiated support for all schools:

  • Monitoring, Support, and Accountability: Develop a new system for monitoring schools’ implementation of imperative initiatives
  • Instruction and Innovation: Develop a new Central Office organizational structure encompassing Instructional Services and Instructional Technology
  • Equity, Access, and Acceleration: Develop an improved structure for increased access and acceleration opportunities for all students with a focus on underperforming subgroups

Design Teams will include central office staff, principals, teachers, other school-based personnel, and community members. They will have 60 days to complete their recommendations, which will be shared publically in early November.

To provide input on the future direction of district goals and initiatives, please complete the survey found at Stakeholder Survey.