The state published the performance grades for public schools Wednesday and it was a case good and bad news for Iredell-Statesville Schools.
Deputy Superintendent Melanie Taylor said scores are determined by testing scores and the school’s growth compared to years past. Scores determine 80% of the grade, and growth determines 20%.
An ISS press release indicated 17 of 36 ISS schools received an A or B grade.
Twenty-four schools met their growth goals. Half of those exceeded their growth expectation.
“As a district we are proud of the improvements that we saw last year, especially the district overall improvements at the elementary level,” Taylor said.
However, N.B. Mills Elementary School's score fell from a D to an F, and Statesville Middle School continues to have an F grade.
“All along, school districts have concern with the way that the formula is, it really does track poverty,” Taylor said.
Taylor said school districts all over the state have the same concern as ISS.
N.B. Mills has a 90% poverty rate, and Statesville Middle has a poverty rate of 87%.
“Many times, students of poverty come to us, and they’re much more behind than students from more affluent neighborhoods,” Taylor said.
Because these students may be behind the state’s expectation, schools with large populations of impoverished students don’t get as much credit for growth they achieved throughout the year. Taylor said while a school may have grown a student by a year, the student could have come to the school three years behind.
Taylor said all of the schools received additional supports, content coaches and staff members to help with the program.
N.B. Mills and Statesville Middle, along with Troutman Middle School and Statesville High School, all started “Restart” programs after receiving last year’s performance grades. Taylor said Restart programs differ depending on a school’s needs.
N.B. Mills and Statesville Middle have started implementing the Ron Clark house system where students in all grades are sorted into different houses. Taylor said the goal is to build a sense of family throughout the school regardless of what class or grade the students are in.
Troutman Middle worked on the curriculums and Statesville High improved its “AVID” or Advancement Via Individual Determination program, which attempts to lessen the opportunity gap.
“It’s disappointing for them (the schools) when they didn’t see the progress they wanted to see,” Taylor said. “They’re trying to continue working on it.”
Taylor said big changes to a system can take three to five years to create significant results. Each school has only been a Restart school for a year.
However, ISS’s improvement should not be ignored.
Taylor said the district’s Multi-Tiered Systems of Support process is helping students across the county.
Through the process, district leadership looks at student data throughout the school year, implementing intervention when they see a need for it. Taylor said that intervention could be remedial education or efforts beyond academic, considering the effects social and economic status can have on academic performance.
“We still have some areas for improvement and our schools are already digging in to identify gap areas, refocus the curriculum and provide interventions,” Taylor said.
Mooresville Graded Schools
Mooresville Graded School District illustrated improvements this year. Two of eight schools improved its grades, and only one didn’t meet the school’s growth goal.
Mooresville Intermediate School and Rocky River Elementary improved by a grade level. Mooresville Middle School didn’t meet its growth goal. Its grade is a C.