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Nearly half of county schools receive D & F school performance grades for 2022-23

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Seventeen of the 35 Alamance-Burlington schools received a school performance grade of D or F for the 2022-23 school year, based on annual testing results released Wednesday morning by the state Department of Public Instruction (see accompanying chart).

The 2022-23 school year marked the second academic year since the Covid-19 pandemic began in March 2020 that the state has released the A to F school performance grades for North Carolina’s 116 K-12 public school systems. The state eliminated annual year-end testing altogether for the 2019-20 school year and released only minimal academic performance indicators for 2020-21 after receiving a U.S. Department of Education waiver to do so.

[Story continues below performance charts.]

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The 35 ABSS schools to receive the A to F school performance grades for 2022-23 also includes the Alamance Virtual School, which opened in the fall of 2021 and had a total of 339 students enrolled in kindergarten through grade 12 at the end of the first month of the 2022-23 school year, according to the school system’s enrollment figures.

For the school system overall, 48.6 percent – or 17 out of 35 schools that received an A to F letter grade – received the lowest marks, a grade of D or F, in 2022-23, or one more than the number that received Ds or Fs the previous school year, according to DPI’s latest annual report on student achievement.

DPI bases its school performance grades on a 15-point scale:

  • A: 85-100
  • B: 70-84
  • C: 55-69
  • D: 40-54
  • F: 39 and below

The 35 ABSS schools that received school performance grades include the Alamance-Burlington Early College, which is housed on Alamance Community College’s Graham campus.  No grades are issued for the Career and Technical Education Center, as those students’ academic performance results are included with the results for the traditional high schools to which they are are assigned based on the location of their residences.  Nor are the testing results reported for the alternative school, Ray Street Academy in Graham.

ABSS officials highlighted the fact Wednesday that 26 of the 35 schools had either met or exceeded academic growth targets in 2022-23.

Academic growth – which reflects progress made between one school year and the next – accounts for 20 percent of each school’s letter grade, while performance on the state’s year-end tests in reading, math, and science accounts for 80 percent of the letter grade.  Figures listed on the accompanying chart for ABSS elementary and middle schools represent the percentages of students in grades three through eight who were performing at grade level in math and reading, as well as the percentage of fifth and eighth-grade students who were performing at grade level in science by the end of the 2022-23 school year.

At the high school level, the A to F letter grades reflect multiple components, including: scores on End-of-Course exams (EOCs) in English II, Biology, and average passing rates in Math 3; the four-year graduation rate; as well as scores on ACT/WorkKeys tests, which are intended to gauge career and college readiness, and several other “performance indicators.”

For 2022-23, only one (representing 2.9 percent of the total) of the 35 ABSS schools received an ‘A’ grade: the ABSS Early College housed at Alamance Community College’s Graham campus.

Two schools received Bs, representing 5.7 percent of the total:  Smith Elementary School and Hawfields Middle School (see accompanying chart).

Fifteen ABSS schools (42.9 percent) received Cs, including: eight elementary schools; three middle schools, and four high schools.

Nine schools (25.7 percent) received Ds, including: seven  elementary schools; two high schools (Cummings and Graham); and one combined school, the Alamance Virtual School, which has elementary, middle, and high school grades, but is only counted once and issued a single letter grade of D for all three grade spans.

Eight ABSS schools – representing 22.9 percent of the 35 ABSS schools – received a school performance grade of F for 2022-23, DPI’s report reveals.  Fs were issued to five elementary schools (Eastlawn, Grove Park, Haw River, Newlin, and North Graham) and three middle schools (Broadview, Graham, and Turrentine).

For the 20 ABSS elementary schools that received A to F performance grades, 17 saw no change in their grades between the 2021-22 and 2022-23 school years.  Two elementary schools received a higher grade than they had in 2021-22 (Elon and Hillcrest Elementary); one (Sylvan Elementary) received a lower grade in 2022-23 than it had in 2021-22.

Five of the seven ABSS middle schools saw no change in their school performance grades between the 2021-22 and 2022-23 school years.

Broadview, Graham, and Turrentine middle schools each received a school performance grade of F for a second consecutive year; Southern and Woodlawn Middle Schools received Cs for the second year in a row.  Hawfields Middle School improved its school performance grade from a C to a B in 2022-23, according to DPI’s report.

For the six traditional ABSS high schools, two received a lower grade than they had in 2021-22: Eastern and Western both went from a B to a C.

The four other high schools received the same A to F school performance grade as they had in 2021-22.  Cummings and Graham received a D; and Southern and Williams each received a C.

The ABSS Early College remained the only one out of the 35 ABSS that received school performance to receive an A grade, according to DPI.

The Alamance Virtual School received a school performance grade of D for a second year in a row for all three grade spans: elementary, middle, and high school.

ABSS superintendent Dr. Dain Butler said in a news release Wednesday, “I am encouraged by this newly released data.  One of my main objectives last year was to give teachers autonomy to be creative in their classrooms to meet each student’s needs.  These scores indicate that we are moving in our schools in a positive direction.”

The 2022-23 academic results for ABSS have not yet been publicly presented to school board members.

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