The Daily Tar Heel

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Monday March 27th

Chapel Hill-Carrboro schools lead state in education

The North Carolina State Board of Education released its second annual report detailing the performance of North Carolina public schools, with CHCCS leading in the evaluations.

“Why are our scores high? Because we have great instructors who are doing a fantastic job,” said Jeff Nash, spokesman for CHCCS.

“It’s been said by our superintendent — and I think he’s right on the money — that he doesn’t want us to be known as the schools with the best test scores in the state, but to be known as the schools with the best instruction.”

While only 72.2 percent of traditional public schools in N.C. received a performance grade of C or better, 100 percent of CHCCS schools received a grade of C or better.

But Nash said the disparity might have something to do with the system of evaluation, and not necessarily the competence of the state’s instructors.

“It’s not an educator thing, it’s a legislator thing — some legislators wanted to grade the schools, so they passed a law about it and educators from all over the state were up in arms about it,” he said.

He said the source of the controversy surrounding the legislated letter grades is the way the system breaks down: grades are based 80 percent on achievement scores and 20 percent on growth.

“Achievement scores are determined in large part by who walks through the door, and so schools that are in higher socioeconomic parts of town are more naturally going to have higher achievement scores,” Nash said.

However, this year’s performance evaluation adds a new letter grade designation: A+ng.

The new standard reflects those schools that have a performance grade of an A, but also do not have any student achievement gaps that are larger than the largest average gap for the state overall.

Of the CHCCS schools, three scored an A+ng, including Glenwood Elementary School, East Chapel Hill High School and Carrboro High School.

LaVerne Mattocks, principal of Carrboro High School, said she believes several factors contributed to the school’s success, but a diligent faculty, commitment to higher-order learning and emphasis on writing skills has helped catapult them to the top.

“We’ve got a commitment to continue improvement — it doesn’t matter how well some of our students are performing until we have all of our students performing at high levels,” she said.

“We will celebrate our success briefly and realize that there is still work to do — (this data) is only one piece of our puzzle.”



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