Over one-third of Pender Co. Schools considered ‘low-performing’ by state

Over one-third of Pender Co. Schools considered ‘low-performing’ by state
Published: Nov. 20, 2023 at 9:18 PM EST
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BURGAW, N.C. (WECT) - More than one-third of one county’s schools aren’t making grades this year.

Seven out of 19 Pender County schools are considered “low-performing” schools by the state.

Superintendent Dr. Brad Breedlove says many schools are seeing growth, but not necessarily seeing proficient numbers. To reach those numbers, the seven schools each came up with a school improvement plan, presented to the board on Monday, Nov. 20.

“When we look at proficiency versus growth, hopefully, one day we can get more balanced, where it’s really about the student and how much growth that student makes per year,” said Dr. Breedlove.

The seven schools ultimately underperformed, despite schools meeting or exceeding growth.

“This has been pretty much a year’s work, meeting with principals going over their data from last year establishing goals. So as a district, we don’t want to have any state-designated low-performing schools, but what we really are looking for is are they making progress?” asked Breedlove.

Seven schools is one less than last year, but that’s not enough according to Breedlove.

“By this time, next year, our goal is to not have any [low-performing schools],” he said. “That’s our goal.”

To reach those goals, schools looked at ways they could improve their academics, school culture and health and safety.

“Those are the three really big buckets, you know, do our students feel safe coming to school, and are our parents happy with the safety plans that we have in place? Is the school an inviting place? What is our teacher turnover rate? And are we working to try and improve that?” Breedlove explained. “Having awesome cultures throughout every one of our buildings, and then ultimately, all of those things lead to an academic goal.”

Next, the schools will submit their plans to the state. Dr. Breedlove adds that people should still be proud of their schools as the district does not consider these schools to be low-performing.

“Be proud of your school. We have tremendous schools, and just because we presented the low-performing schools, school improvement plan for those seven schools does not mean that in our eyes, these are low-performing schools. We have dedicated teachers we have fantastic teachers who are there early and stay late. We have many options for students to get additional help. And then we also have amazing leaders,” he said.