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From the Desk of ACS Supt. David Burleson: Winter Weather Problems and School System Report Card

Feb. 16, 2015. The winter weather continues to cause us problems. Thankfully we did not miss any full days last week but next week is not looking very good. As of Friday, Feb. 13 here is where we are with days missed due to inclement weather.

  • 10 days have been missed
  • 26.5 hours missed for Delays/Early Dismissals
  • One day has been made up using Jan. 19

The vacation day originally scheduled for June 8 was moved to Monday, Feb. 3. (This vacation day had to be taken during the school year and we had to have at least one workday at the end of the school year.) June 8 is now a workday.

The extended time has allowed us to not make up seven days.

Thursday, June 4 and Friday, June 5 are now school days instead of workdays, which makes up the remaining two days.

Supt. Burleson
Supt. Burleson

At this time, all the days we have missed have been made up.  If we continue the additional 20 minutes, as over 96% of those taking our survey agreed with, we could have approximately 1 more day that can be used.  After we use the additional “banked” day, if we miss 3 or fewer days we will use the Friday, Thursday, and Wednesday (in that order) of spring break as our make up days. Leaving Friday, June 5th as our last day of school.  If we miss 4 days we will use use Thursday and Friday of spring break as make up days and extend the school year to Tuesday, June 9. If we miss 5 or more days we will use use Wednesday, Thursday and Friday of spring break as make up days and extend the school year, depending on the total number of days missed, to be as late as Friday, June 12.  If we miss more than eight days we will have to determine a plan to make up the time missed and remain compliant with the calendar law.  This is the best plan we can determine since our survey results were split on the time to use for make-up. Please know we still maintain three holidays at Easter that guarantees at least three days for Spring break.

On a non-weather topic, one of the benefits North Carolina public schools offer parents and community is transparency. Public school accountability is a standard practice for North Carolina going back to the early 1990s, and the North Carolina School Report Cards provide parents and community with information on such key issues as student performance, teacher experience, and school safety. Data are provided at the school, district, and state levels to enable parents to compare the performance of their student’s schools with others across the district and state.

Legislation (G.S. §115C-83.15) passed during the 2013 long session of the North Carolina General Assembly provides an additional measure of school performance in the form of School Performance Grades. Beginning with the 2013-14 school year, the annual North Carolina School Report Cards display a letter grade of A, B, C, D or F for each school in the state.

The School Performance Grades are based 80 percent on our school’s achievement score (student proficiency) and 20 percent on students’ academic growth. Scores across the state varied with this first release of school performance grades. Among public schools, approximately 5% of schools graded as A’s, while almost 30% were rated as D’s or F’s. Avery County Schools is one of only a few districts that had 100% of schools rating as an A, B, or C.

One of our top priorities for 2014–15 is to improve our School Performance Grade. There are a number of key programs we have in place to help improve student performance. These include:

  • Six Pre-K Classes
  • Our SCOTTIE Mobile Pre-K Program
  • Reading Specialist Program with ASU
  • The WOW After-School Program through Agricutlture Extension
  • Middle School Enrichment
  • Science Fair and Academy of Science Participation
  • GOAL Program
  • Blue Ridge Academy
  • Viking Academy for Ninth Graders
  • STEM Academy
  • ACT Preparation Classes
  • Project Lead the Way and Robotics
  • Project Potential Scholarship Program
  • ASSIST Team
  • Avery Scholars

We encourage our community to closely follow our students’ academic progress and work with out teachers to help ensure that all of our students stay on track academically. Working together as a team, we can improve not only how well our students are performing individually, but how our schools are performing as a whole. There is nothing more important to our faculty and staff than ensuring that our students are ready for the next step in their academic career. We look forward to working with our entire community to make sure our students are on track for success.

I want to personally thank Mr. Ellis Ayers and Mrs. Bev Baird for their work on our accountabilty program. If you have any questions or concerns regarding our School Performance Grades and how we plan to improve, please don’t hesitate to contact me.


David Burleson