Rowan-Salisbury Schools responds to mixed bag in state test results

Rowan-Salisbury Schools responds to mixed bag in state test results
Rowan-Salisbury Schools responds to mixed bag in state test results.

SALISBURY, NC (WBTV) - State test results released today held a mixed bag for Rowan-Salisbury Schools. While five schools did exceed expectations, thirteen met expectations, and sixteen did not meet expectations.

Did not meet growth expectations:Cleveland Elementary School, Koontz Elementary School, Shive Elementary School, Granite Quarry Elementary School, Millbridge Elementary School, North Rowan Elementary School, Rockwell Elementary School, China Grove Middle School, Corriher-Lipe Middle School, Erwin Middle School, Knox Middle School, North Rowan Middle School, Southeast Middle School, West Rowan Middle School, North Rowan High School and Salisbury High School.

Met growth expectations: Overton Elementary School, China Grove Elementary School, Enochville Elementary School, Faith Elementary School, Isenberg Elementary School, Hanford-Dole Elementary School, Hurley Elementary School, Knollwood Elementary School, Landis Elementary School, Morgan Elementary School, Mount Ulla Elementary School, Woodleaf Elementary School and South Rowan High School.

Exceeded growth expectations:Bostian Elementary School, Carson High School, East Rowan High School, Rowan County Early College and West Rowan High School.

On Wednesday afternoon the Rowan-Salisbury School Board met with district officials to go over the results.

In that meeting, the school board approved the district’s new 2017-2020 Strategic Plan in October of 2017. Listed in the plan are six (6) System Indicators that provide beliefs and evidences of improvements in our students’ learning. Today, the school board heard reports in all six areas, which are as listed below:

  • Grand Rounding
  • Data Team  Meetings
  • State  Accountability Report
  • Student Data  Dashboard
  • Stakeholder  Surveys
  • Student  Exhibitions

Grand Rounding

Dr. Julie Morrow, RSS Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum & Instruction, reported on this initiative that RSS began during the last school year. Grand Rounding provides a new perspective on the day-to day work that happens in schools across our district to improve teaching and learning. Administrators visited all schools twice during the school year, speaking with students, teachers, custodians, bus drivers, school nutrition staff and administrators to find out successes and how to improve our processes. Students were questioned about what engages and excites them about learning and what innovative work or projects they competed.

The top emerging positive themes were:

  • Relationships
  • Technology as a  learning tool
  • Hands-on  learning

The top emerging themes for improvement were:

  • Physical  education and movement
  • Math resources
  • Relevant  learning

Data Team Meetings

Dr. Morrow explained that data is one of the most powerful tools we have for improving student learning by providing insights into what students need. Administrative data teams meeting with individual school data teams to review the following five (5) types of student information:

  • Quantitative
  • Qualitative
  • Summative
  • Benchmarks
  • Formative

These include items such as Rounding, Attendance, Achieve3000, Surveys, EOG/EOCs and Benchmark Data.

Teams discuss meanings of the current data to identify areas of strengths and opportunities for growth.

State Accountability Report

RSS Accountability Director Alesia Burnette reviewed information from the 2017-2018 state and federal results released by the State Board of Education earlier today. Mrs. Burnette provided a few highlights:

  • Majority of  elementary and high schools met or exceeded growth
  • RSS Cohort  Graduation Rate increased districtwide to 84.5%
  • Rowan County  Early College received a school performance grade of “A”
  • Majority of K-8  schools met or exceeded growth in math

In addition, RSS is proud that scholarships offered to students increased to over $32 million in 2018 – up from $26 million in 2017.

Indicators of areas that need improvement are:

  • While students  are growing in math, proficiency remains low
  • Middle schools  did not meet overall growth
  • Progress in  reading has slowed in both performance and growth

School growth status:

  • 5  Schools             Exceeded  growth
  • 13  Schools           Met  growth
  • 1  School             Maintaining  (alternative school)
  • 16  Schools           Did  not meet growth

Rowan-Salisbury Schools remains out of School Improvement status.

School performance grades

  • A              1  school
  • B               3  schools
  • C               16  schools
  • D              9  schools
  • F               5  schools
  • Alt-F      1 school (alternative school)

“We acknowledge that we must improve academic performance. While I appreciate what we have done, we simply must do more. This is going to require that we continually tweak and improve what we are doing,” says Rowan-Salisbury Board of Education Chair Josh Wagner. “While Renewal will certainly not be a silver bullet, I see it as a much needed change in process. This is an opportunity that others can only hope for. We must convert opportunity into progress.”

“The state accountability report shows us one way to measure student achievement. As you can see, we have numerous ways to evaluate student performance in our district that illustrates a more comprehensive picture of what our students are learning and achieving,” says Rowan-Salisbury Superintendent Dr. Lynn Moody.

Student Data Dashboard

Tina Mashburn, Executive Director for Secondary Education, provided a report on student data dashboard, which is designed to capture student work and evidence of a student’s mastery in learning. In addition, capturing indicators of student performance, attendance and discipline are also part of the student dashboard.

Stakeholder Surveys

Dr. Jason Gardner, Executive Director for Elementary Education, explained the different stakeholder surveys given to students and teachers.

Student panorama surveys provide insight into key aspects of the learning environment. Students gave high marks to their teachers in the area of building positive student-teacher relationships as well as treating students with respect. Students gave a lower percentage response to questions focused on innovative and engaging teaching practices.

Teacher working conditions surveys give insight on how teachers felt positive in areas such as receiving encouragement and trying new ideas. Teachers responded less favorably in areas such as not enough non-instructional time, and they would like more feedback on professional development evaluations.

Student Exhibitions

Ben Crawford, principal at China Grove Middle, talked about how each of the six (6) community school areas sponsored a ‘Student Exhibition’ event, which was new during the previous school year. This provided an opportunity to show what students can actually do with the material they have learned and the skills they are acquiring through problem-solving, communication and presenting ideas about real-world challenges.

Students are excited to talk about their work by taking a greater ownership over their learning, and teachers are more engaged in designing relevant work.

The six (6) community school areas are:

  • East Community
  • North Community
  • Salisbury  Community
  • South Community
  • Southeast  Community
  • West Community

“I am very excited about our district becoming a Renewal School System and to see how this is unfolding in our schools to better serve our students,” says Moody. “We are a community of schools, and I am grateful for all our partnerships on this new journey.”

Chairman Wagner concludes that, “I truly believe that our greatest asset in RSSS is our staff. I have witnessed their limitless dedication to education. We as a board are now responsible for ensuring that our Renewal flexibilities are productive. Our role is to allocate resources and help our administration equip their staff. This is going to be even more important in the coming years.”

More information and accountability data may be obtained from the NC DPI website at:

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