State releases accountability reports

State releases accountability reports
Posted on 09/01/2022
Morganton, NC – Thursday, Sept. 1, 2022

The North Carolina State Board of Education released the state’s accountability report today, showing that overall students in the state and in Burke County improved their performance on state tests during the 2021-22 school year compared to the previous year’s COVID steep decline, and schools achieved growth almost on par with pre-pandemic levels.

The results came as no surprise to Burke County Public Schools as district and school level leaders continuously analyze internal data following benchmarks and end-of-year state testing.

Burke County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Mike Swan said, “While we faced continued challenges during the 2021-22 school year due to COVID-19, we have highlights from the academic year to celebrate. We knew going into last year the student learning loss could not be made up in one year, which is why we have been proactive in addressing students’ academic, social and emotional needs. During the pandemic, we faced a 15 to 20 point proficiency drop and made a goal to make up half of that last year. While we know there is more work to be done, we are happy that we achieved that goal and made up half of those losses from 2019, the last ‘normal’ academic year.”

The state assigns a letter grade to each school based on performance grades on end-of-year tests. Burke Middle College achieved a School Performance Grade of “A” school and “B” schools include two traditional high schools - Draughn and Patton - as well as Heritage Middle and Drexel Elementary. Burke Middle College’s cohort graduation rate remains 100 percent. District wide, the graduation rate dropped 3.2 percentage points, and sits at 88.1 percent, Burke County’s cohort graduation rate remains above state cohort levels, which are at 86.2 percent.

Swan said, “Thankfully, our Board of Education last year made face-to-face instruction a priority and got our students back in school full time well before some of our surrounding districts, which definitely helped our students' academic achievement. I am certain, we would not have had the successes present in this data had that not been the case. Although we still had many students and teachers quarantined throughout the year last year, we were still able to make student gains in most of our schools. We realize where we have some work to do, and we are prepared to help these schools in these areas.”

He continued, “We faced continued challenges during the 2021-2022 school year. While district-wide we did not have to conduct learning remotely, students and staff affected by COVID-19 still faced up to 10 days of quarantines and isolations each time they were exposed to or tested positive for COVID, which meant they were not in the classroom for long periods of time. We credit the board for putting a priority on face-to-face instruction last academic year. We confirmed what we inherently knew during the height of the pandemic that the majority of students learn best when they are in front of a highly qualified teacher.”

The state’s report shows that six schools in the district are deemed low performing schools.

Swan said, “EOG and EOCs are a snapshot in time and do not capture all of a student’s hard work and the support he or she receives over the course of an academic year. The good thing is that all six of our D schools did show expected overall growth, which measures how students performed compared to their expected performance. We know our D schools are great schools in great communities with highly qualified teachers and administrators, hard working students and supportive parents. As we dissect the data, we put researched-based plans in place for improvements and remain flexible to pivot when needed. Looking ahead, we have our new strategic plan and district initiatives in place, which put high priority on attendance, a focus on math and reading instruction, an increase in tutoring opportunities and remediation time built into the school day to address learning loss.”
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