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Celebrating Improved Student Growth and Achievement

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Word 79 SEPTEMBER 4, 2019 – Destiny Gore is a fifth-grader at Cook Literacy Model School. At a press conference celebrating improved student achievement and growth throughout the school district, Destiny talked about her own growth as a student and as a person.

Destiny also had the chance to meet the new superintendent Dr. Angela Pringle Hairston and several members of the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Board of Education.

School system administrators, school volunteers, and community partners were also present. 

The state has released the released the 2018-19 School Performance Grades (SPG), and, with Cook making notable improvements in student achievement, the press conference was held there.

Principal Paula Wilkins talked to everyone about the work that has gone into making those improvements in the past three years.

Andy Kraft, who is the Chief Program Officer for Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools, talked about improvements through the school system. Also present were principals of two schools that also did particularly well – Sandra Hunter of Clemmons Middle and Brad Royal of Reagan High.

Cook 51 Superintendent Hairston said, “I am excited by the positive outcomes evidenced by the 2018-19 data. I am ready to continue the work of the district in hopes of even better future achievement.”

The School Performance Grades were implemented in 2014-15. While much of the 2018-19 data indicates basically flat results, the district has shown increases in all areas of state-mandated accountability factors.

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 2018-19, 9 (12%) traditional schools in WS/FCS received an SPG of A, 18 (23%) received a B, 18 (23%) received a C, 20 (26%) received a D, and 12 (15%) received an F. These results show 27 (35%) schools received an A or B in comparison to 21 (27%) in the 2017-18 school year. In addition, the data indicate that 12 (15%) of the schools received an F, which is an improvement from 16 (21%) in the 2017-18 school year.

Mr. Scott Munsie, principal at Walkertown Middle School, shared, “The importance of collaborative pacing by our teachers and the use of district-wide instructional resources and strategies along all grade levels made a difference. We had great support from all of our Instructional Coaches, who spent time meeting with teachers and making classroom observations.”

Kraft 60 Academic growth is a measurement of student progress made during the duration of a course or grade level. For 2018-19, 27 schools exceeded expected growth, up from 18 in 2017-18. Another 31 schools met expected growth, meaning 81% of WS/FC schools met or exceeded expected growth, up from 73% in 2017-18.

Ms. Angie Choplin, principal at Lewisville Elementary School, said, “The Lewisville School community made a commitment to our students to place their educational interests first each day by maintaining high academic standards, addressing social and emotional needs and creating a safe learning environment.”

Student proficiency indicates that students consistently demonstrate mastery of the content standards and are well-prepared for the next grade or course. The Grade Level Proficiency (GLP) measure includes students who score at Level 3 and above and show at least sufficient command of the material. Here are 2-year comparisons for proficiency:

 

Assessment

2017-18, %

2018-19, %

Reading, Grades 3-8

50.8

54.9

Math, Grades 3-8

49.9

54.4

Science, Grade 5

58.6

69.7

Science, Grade 8

67.2

75.8

Biology

55.8

57.3

English II

56.4

56.0

Math I

54.7

53.6

Math 3*

N/A

45.5

*New Assessment for 2018-19

“While the proficiency measure shows some improvement over prior years, we are moving in the right direction. I am looking forward to learning about what is effective and what can be improved for teaching and learning,” stated Dr. Hairston.

In 2018-19, WS/FCS graduated at a rate of 86.2%, up from 84.5% in 2017-18. Over time, the district has improved its graduation rate by almost 16%, up from 70.8% in 2008. Comparatively, North Carolina recorded a graduation rate of 86.5% in 2018-19.

While the district maintains a goal of a 90% graduation rate, several high schools already have graduation rates above 90%: Atkins Academic A&T, Early College of Forsyth, East Forsyth, Forsyth Middle College, Mount Tabor, Kennedy, Reagan, Walkertown, West Forsyth, and Winston-Salem Preparatory Academy.

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

Dr. Carol Montague Davis, principal of Carver High School, said, “Carver holds a strong commitment over the years to be true to our students in academics and culture.  As our graduation rate increases for our Seniors, our growth measure for all students is exceeding for the second year in a row.  We are proud that our students are rising to the challenge.”

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

Inspire340 Schools are the lowest performing schools in WS/FCS, previously identified by the federal government as Priority or Focus schools. These schools receive additional support to address school turnaround and continuous improvement among various subgroups. Using the successful schools as role models, the district hopes to replicate and scale up the approaches taken by schools with proven track records or recent improvement.

For 2018-19, 13 out of 16 (81%) Inspire340 Schools met or exceeded growth expectations. In addition, 4 out of 9 Inspire340 schools with a previous grade of F improved their school performance grade from F to D (Cook Literacy Model School, Forest Park Elementary, Hall-Woodard Elementary, and Mineral Springs Middle).  Two schools, Kennedy High and Wiley Magnet Middle moved from a D to C.

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.

Ms. Lisa Bodenheimer, principal of Wiley Magnet Middle, said,” For the past four years, Wiley's faculty and staff have been committed to doing the work necessary to move up a letter grade!  We have been consistently focused on creating a positive school culture that supports our steady growth and working collaboratively to meet the needs of our diverse student population.”

For more information regarding Inspire340 schools, visit Inspire340.

As the new superintendent, Dr. Hairston has outlined four areas of focus as she transitions to district leadership:

  • Goal 1: Learn about the history and current direction of the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools as fully as possible in order to gain insight into its strengths, challenges, and areas of opportunity to better serve students.
  • Goal 2: Develop an instructional plan that will set the course for the district for the next five years and ensure focus on aligning resources, work, and initiatives that lead to college- and career-ready students as well as a reduction in achievement gaps.
  • Goal 3: Assess organizational effectiveness and efficiency to ensure high performance and support to schools.
  • Goal 4: Develop a standard for benchmarking equity and inclusion across the district.

Dr. Hairston said, “Small changes in a large district can take time. However, when it comes to the success of children, I feel an urgency to find the right changes to make as soon as possible to ensure the best outcomes for our students.”

To hear more about Dr. Hairston’s Entry Plan and to provide input on the direction of the district, community stakeholders are invited to attend Community Conversations scheduled for the following dates from 6-7 p.m.

Date

Location

Thursday, September 19

Old Richmond ES

Wednesday, September 25

North Forsyth HS

Thursday, October 3

East Forsyth MS

Wednesday, October 23

Walkertown MS/HS

Thursday, October 24

Lewisville ES

Wednesday, October 30

Carter HS

Thursday, November 7

West Forsyth HS

Wednesday, November 20

Mount Tabor HS

 

Brent Campbell
bcampbell@wsfcs.k12.nc.us
336.727.2696