From Desk of ACS Supt. Burleson: Editorial for Accountability & State Report Card

Published Monday, September 14, 2015 at 11:13 am

Dear Community Members,

The faculty and staff members of Avery County Schools welcome you to review information about the North Carolina State Report Card and our school system. This information can be found at the state website: http://www.ncpublicschools.org/src/.

The material you will find on this site is intended to provide information about our schools and how our school system compares with others around the state. These Report Cards are part of the federal No Child Left Behind Act, and are published to keep our parents and community informed about the progress of our school system and our children’s learning.

Supt. Burleson

Supt. Burleson

The Report Cards include important information about North Carolina’s school accountability program, the ABC’s of Public Education, school and student performance, class sizes, attendance, school safety, school facilities, the number of student suspensions and expulsions, instructional resources, and teacher quality.

These results were from testing completed during the 2014-2015 school year.  This test data continues to reflect a major change in North Carolina’s accountability measures. The data is based on a new curriculum, the Common Core in Reading and Math. The scores are also reflective of new achievement standards that are much higher than on prior EOG and EOC tests as well as different item-types and questions including higher order thinking skills.

As a result, scores across North Carolina have fallen from those before the implementation of the new common core curriculum. Since we have transitioned to the new standards, the performance of Avery County Schools has improved across the board. Results in nearly all tested areas are above state averages, and compare very favorably to similar systems in our region. The four year cohort graduation rate is in the top 5 state-wide, while math performance jumped significantly this past year.

Some points to consider when examining test scores:

North Carolina public school students are now required to meet a higher standard of proficiency on their End-of-Grade (EOC) and End-of-Course (EOC) tests. North Carolina’s academic standards are among the highest in the country.

In the past, proficiency standards only addressed what students needed for success at the next grade level. The new proficiency standards address how ready students are for college and careers, and whether students are on track to be ready for high school graduation.

It is important to note that students continued to grow academically in 2014-15, and that most grade levels and subjects increased the percentage of students on grade level.

Properly aligned assessments give everyone a clearer picture of how well students are prepared to enter college and the work force.  The goal is to support student learning/achievement and to support teachers.

As Superintendent and as a community member, I can testify that we all understand the importance of providing a quality education for each of our students.  Our mission stands firm to graduate every student from high school globally prepared for life in the 21st century. We will continue to provide our students not only the best education possible but also will provide them a competitive edge when they leave high school.  We are committed to work with each student and their family to offer each graduate the resources to be gainfully employed or to attend the college of their choice.  It is our desire to work collectively with our community to ensure that each student is prepared for the future.  I encourage you to join with us to provide every resource and opportunity possible for our students.

We are extremely proud of what we have accomplished as a school system, yet we realize the road ahead is filled with change and challenge. As a district we will continue to explore new ways to raise student achievement and ensure that our teachers are getting the necessary training to educate all children. I encourage you to ask additional questions or visit our schools to learn more about the special programs and efforts under way.

It is our desire to always do what is right for our students. The success that has taken place in our schools is the result of the collaborative effort and hard work of our staff, faculty, students, board of education, county commissioners, and parents. Even as standards for student achievement rise as part of the federal No Child Left Behind Act, our district can proudly say our staff and students continue to rise to meet the challenges set before them.

In the Avery County School System, we want parents and community members to be informed about our school’s progress and be involved in our schools on a regular basis. We hope that the NC School Report Card will be a valuable tool for you to learn more about your child’s school. Please join us in our efforts to create the best school system in the country. Talk with your child’s teacher and principal about ways you can get involved. We welcome and encourage your involvement. Everyone benefits when we all do our best for every child’s future. Please feel free to contact the principals directly to discuss this report card or any other interests you have in our schools. You may also contact my office at 828-733-6006. If you would like to access the full state report card for Avery County Schools or one of our schools, please link to the website at www.ncreportcards.org/src/. Additional information regarding the AYP or ABC designations for Avery County may be obtained at the website for the N.C. Department of Public Instruction or by visiting http://www.dpi.state.nc.us/accountability/reporting/.

Your support of our school system and the students we serve is greatly appreciated.

Sincerely,

David Burleson

Superintendent

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