As Eastern North Carolina school districts evaluated the latest school performance data, it was the growth in overall student achievement as much as the grade that school leaders focused on.

Onslow County Schools saw all but three of its schools, about 91 percent, receive a grade of C or higher and 80 percent of the district’s schools met or exceeded growth expectations. Of the three schools to receive a D, Clyde Erwin, Sand Ridge, and Blue Creek elementaries, Blue Creek met growth goals.

The early college high schools in the region received A grades for overall student performance, including the first group of students to attend Onslow County Early College High School.

The School Performance Grade is based 80 percent on the school’s achievement results and 20 percent on student academic growth.


School assessments

To accelerate growth, OCS has been continuing a focus on keeping children challenged and engaged in the classroom and ensuring teachers have the resources they need to support effective instruction, the OCS release said.

“The single most important factor in student academic success is an effective teacher in the classroom,” said Onslow County Schools Superintendent Rick Stout. “Over the past year, we have made a concerted effort to build on our instructional strengths and provide training for our teachers. This focus has show positive gains in many areas. The 2018-2019 school year looks to be equally exciting instructionally as we continue the rollout of priority standards and the OCS Instructional Framework.”

Lenoir County Public Schools Superintendent Brent Williams said the school district continues to see academic progress and for the 2017-2018 school year they saw 15 of its 17 schools meet or exceed growth expectations and the two that did not were very close to doing so.

That is an improvement from the previous year, when 11 schools either met or exceeded growth.

Two of Lenoir County’s middle schools jumped from not meeting growth to exceeding growth expectations and Lenoir County Early College High School improved from a B grade last year to achieve the district’s first school with an A grade.

While growth only accounts for 20 percent of a school’s grade for overall proficiency, Williams feels it is one of the most important aspects of student achievement.

“As a lifelong teacher, I think growth is the most significant aspect when you are looking at student achievement because you are looking at where a student starts the year and how they end the year.”

There state’s annual School Performance Grade accountability measurements were released Wednesday for the 2017-2018 school year.

According to the information presented to the state Board of Education, more than a third of North Carolina’s 2,537 public schools earned As and Bs. About 22 percent of the schools received a D or F.

A majority of the schools in districts across the area received a grade of a C or higher.

Lenoir County did have two schools to receive an F grade, Rochelle Middle and Southeast Elementary, but the district has continued to make progress since being a low performing district four years ago.

“We know we still have work to do but we’ve made significant steps in the right direction,” Williams said.

Jones County School Superintendent Michael Bracy said all of the schools in the district earned a performance grade of C or higher and for the third consecutive year, Jones County Public Schools has no low-performing school.

Duplin County Schools saw a record year of growth.

According to a school district news release, the 2017-2018 year is the first year in the 22 years that growth outcomes have been reported that the Duplin school district has had all its school meet or exceed growth.

“DCS has worked extremely hard to move from five schools identified as low-performing last year to no schools this year, which is remarkable and highly commendable of our teachers and staff,” the release said.

In Carteret County, all Carteret County Public Schools received a performance score of C or higher and Croatan High Schools continues to maintain an A grade.

“Our county’s public school students continue to achieve well when compared to school systems across the state. All of our schools earned a C or better, and more than 80 percent of our students met or exceeded the state’s measure for student growth,” said CCPS Superintendent Mat Bottoms. “That is a tribute to this public school system’s high achieving students; our dedicated teachers, staff members and administrators; and the strong support received from parents, community members and elected officials.”

The state’s public charter schools also receive school performance grades. Onslow County’s only charter school, Z.E.C.A. School of Arts and Technology received an overall grade of F but met growth standards.