CHAPEL HILL – Economically disadvantaged children in the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools system didn’t meet state standards under the new Common Core READY system, but state officials and district leaders say the new system needs time to normalize.
Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools’ Superintendent Tom Forcella says plans have already been put into motion to improve on the numbers that for the most part met or exceeded the new standards in most categories.
“We’ve created a new long-range plan—a new vision for the school district—which is rooted in the concept of a growth mindset, which believes that intelligence is not stagnant, that I.Q. was developed as a way to sort children,” Forcella says.
The Long Range Plan lays out a five-year strategy of implementing 28 goals—some of which will take a multiple years to take full effect and others that may only take a year.
“One of our goals in our new plan is to eliminate the achievement gap,” Forcella says. “We have a number of strategies in place to do that. One is the equal opportunity schools initiative, but we also feel the way to do that is to improve instruction in all our classrooms.”
Executive Director of Testing and Program Evaluation, Diane Villwock says the new Common Core Standards are all about better understanding the information.
“The difference in Common Core is there are far fewer standards,” Villwock says. “So, the amount of stuff that people are supposed to learn in a given year is quite a bit smaller. But, they’re going to learn it at a much deeper level.”
Chapel Hill-Carrboro schools met 96.6 percent of the 560 federal goals, which have been in place since 2001; North Carolina’s READY structure of Common Core Standards were met at a rate of 94.6 percent and included 947 goals.
Villwock says it’s important for parents not to jump to conclusions about these numbers, because there’s really no way of telling just how the numbers stack up.
“It’s significantly like—so much so—that (the state) said this is baseline data—it’s our first year picture—and we can’t compare it to last year,” Villwock says. “I’ve been doing this job for over 20 years, and we’ve never said that before.”
To see Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools’ scores in the READY Common Core Standards, click here.
To see the statewide READY Accountability Report, click here.
2012-13 Testing Results Released for CHCCS
Proficiency expectations met in nearly every area
CHAPEL HILL, NC – Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools (CHCCS) students met or exceeded proficiency expectations in nearly every area in 2012-13, according to newly released testing results from the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction. The one area where expectations were not met was the Economically Disadvantaged Students group.
According to the results released November 7, the district met 96.6 percent of the 560 federal goals and 94.6 percent of the 947 state goals. Of the 27 achievement goals that were missed, 20 were for the Economically Disadvantaged Students group.
“We recognize there is one group that stands out in the data, one group that whose academic needs are not being met,” said Superintendent Tom Forcella. “Our district’s greatest challenge is bringing up the proficiency levels of our economically disadvantaged students.”
Thursday’s results are the first to be released as part of a comprehensive overhaul of the state’s Standard Course of Study, the student assessment program and the school accountability model. The new student assessments were aligned to the revised Standard Course of Study and were given for the first time in the 2012-13 school year. As a result, these proficiency results cannot be compared with previous years’ scores. This year’s scores will serve as a baseline to measure gains in future years.
Whenever new standards are set, test score results indicate a drop at first. This is an ordinary trend. While CHCCS scores appear significantly lower than in previous years, it is important to note that new Common Core Standards have ushered in increased rigor and higher expectations. Compared to previous years, students must demonstrate higher levels of achievement in order to be considered proficient. Within the new parameters, the district outpaced state proficiency averages by a wide margin.
The new accountability model uses End-of-Grade (EOG) and End-of-Course (EOC) tests, ACT scores, graduation rates, math course rigor, ACT WorkKeys assessments and other information to measure student performance.
The goal of the accountability program is to reduce the percent of students in each of the tested subgroups who are non-proficient by half over a six-year period. Proficiency is defined as Level III or IV on state tests. Levels I and II are considered non-proficient. The federal subgroups include: all, African American, Asian, Latino, Multi-racial, Native American, White, economically disadvantaged, limited English proficient and students with disabilities. The state also reports outcomes for academically intellectually gifted students.
Schools also continued to be measured against Annual Measurable Objectives (AMOs) to ensure that attention remains focused on closing performance gaps among student subgroups. The AMOs were developed using federal guidelines and are a series of performance targets that specific subgroups of students must achieve each year to meet the federal law’s requirements. The AMOs were recalculated for the 2012-13 accountability year since all the tests given were new this past year.
The results show that in 2012-13:
“Students must meet more rigorous standards and demonstrate their understanding of concepts in more challenging ways,” said Dr. Magda Parvey, Assistant Superintendent for Instructional Services. “We are entirely focused on aligning our curriculum and teaching strategies to the new standards. Our teachers and instructional team continue to participate in professional development with high expectations for raising student achievement levels.”
The 2012-13 school year is considered a transition year for student performance results, so there will be no consequences for students or schools this year.http://chapelboro.com/news/pre-k-12-education/chccs-scores-well-on-new-state-tests-econ-disadvantaged-below-mark/
CHAPEL HILL – The first round of North Carolina’s Common Core Standard scores are scheduled to be released Thursday morning with the understanding that the numbers aren’t looking good.
Test scores were originally scheduled to be released in October, but instead, the Department of Public Instruction discussed the benchmark for passing scores.
State officials considered whether or not to lower the initial passing scores to allow a chance to ease into the new system, but instead stuck with numbers that have many worried.
The new standards are designed to give the students more depth in their education. Rather than learning a large amount of topics, they are now supposed to be learning more about fewer topics.
The 2012-13 school year is being thought of as a transition year since there isn’t other information with which to compare the new numbers.
Stay tuned to WCHL and Chapelboro.com for the release of the test results. The state says it expects to release the numbers at around 11:00 a.m.http://chapelboro.com/news/pre-k-12-education/common-core-standard-scores-schedule-to-release/
CHAPEL HILL – Students and parents at McDougle Elementary have started beginning every Friday with dancing.
McDougle principal Patrenia McDowell says the students dance from 7:30 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. to start their day.
“(I) thought it would be a great way to end the week,” she says, “and it’s just a way to get the heart-rate up first thing in the morning.”
McDougle Elementary began having dancing before school on Friday at the end of last school year. McDowell says now several of the parents join in for the fun.
“We have some parents that just join right in,” she says. “It puts smiles on everyone’s faces, so it works.”
As a way for students to get some smiles and energy before beginning the school day, McDowell says the dancing is getting good feedback.
“I don’t know how (parents) felt about it (at first), but now (there are) smiles on everyone’s faces,” she says. “Parents are smiling, kids are smiling–so it works for us.”http://chapelboro.com/news/pre-k-12-education/mcdougle-elementary-has-new-friday-ritual/
CHAPEL HILL – The City Kitchen will host the Hog Roast to support the SKJAJA Fund Saturday. It’s a chance to help provide educational and social enrichment programs for children.
SKJAJA’s Sondra Komada says that the money raised will benefit children in the area that would not normally be able to pay for after-school activities.
“We fund kids/students to be able to say rent their instrument for band, or go to sports camps or educational opportunities; they apply and we like to give them as much money as we can that’s why we’re having this event on Saturday” Komada says.
SKJAJA was founded in 2008 as a “pay it forward” program to not only support children in the area, but to teach an important lesson about citizenship. As an all-volunteer organization, SKJAJA relies on the support from the community
Co-founder of SKJAJA, Charlotte White, says that during their event, happening from 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. at City Kitchen, will offer a variety of traditional foods for people to enjoy.
“It’s going to have all the traditional barbecue, macaroni and cheese, beans, and slaw and stuff menu, and then we also have, we’re very excited, Lester Fricks playing live music, they play kind of bluegrass, Americana, country mix” White says.
Tickets for the Hog Roast are $40 for adults and $20 for kids. The SKJAJA fund will receive 25 percent of the ticket price and put the money they receive towards the children in Chapel hill/Carrboro. Komada says that this is not the only event they will hold to raise money.
“Well we’re going to do our Color of the Hill color run again in the spring, and we’re gonna also try to do more of these smaller events just all over town, and we’re working on some different places where we can just have small events and different venues” Komada states.
For information on SKJAJA and tickets click here.http://chapelboro.com/news/non-profit-news/city-kitchen-holds-hog-roast-to-benefit-skjaja-fund/
CHAPEL HILL - Several former WWE wrestlers are in Chapel Hill to help raise money for Margaret Pollard Middle School as “The Hurricane” Shane Helms and a few others host Omega Championship Wrestling’s “Chapel Thrill”.
“As anybody that’s a teacher these days knows, the budget on this school got cut pretty bad,
Helms says. “What Omega’s going to do, we’re going to come in, we’re going to put on this show, we’re going to put on a really good show, and the proceeds are going to go to help this school out.”
Other former WWE wrestlers include Matt Hardy, C.W. Anderson, among others.
Helms and Hardy helped originally found Omega Wrestling several years ago before joining the WWE. Helms says that now with the rebirth of Omega they have begun giving back to the community.
“In the three shows that we’ve done previously, we’ve raised almost $25,000 in funds,” Helms says. “One was a cancer benefit for a guy we knew, one was for a church group that one of our wrestlers was associated with, and the East Wake one.”
Several matches will take place during the “Chapel Thrill” Heavy Weight Wresting Champion including Helms versus King Shane Williams, a champion from Tennessee.
Hardy says that his match and several others have high intensity between the competitors.
“This Saturday, when I get in the ring with C.W., sometime those matches that you get in there and you really have to be on your guard end up being the best matches just because it produces such a real, such an athletic, such an almost violent element,” Helms says. “It’s not going to be a wrestling match, it’s going to be fight.”
For more information on tickets and the line up for the wrestling match click here.http://chapelboro.com/news/non-profit-news/omega-wrestling-hosts-benefit-to-raise-money-for-schools/
CHAPEL HILL- Beginning this year, Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools will implement a new five-year long-term plan to improve school and teacher performance.
Superintendent Tom Forcella says the new plan includes a new vision for the district.
“The prior plan ran it’s course, so we spent a lot of time over the last, especially year and a half, looking at what the new vision would be what the direction would be and what the specific action will be for the successor plan” Forcella said.
The five-year plan has five overarching goals including eliminating achievement gaps, involving the community, improving professional development and training, ensuring accountability, and promoting instructional excellence. Currently Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools rank among the top districts in the state, but Forcella says he wants to balance out the gap between students.
“We do know that our minority groups, our economically disadvantaged groups are ranked much lower in the state;” Forcella commented “so because our top is so high, it tends to mask the performance of some of our struggling groups and that is a major focus of this plan.”
One of the key areas that the new plan will focus on is instructor improvement and accountability. School Board Chair Michelle Brownstein says she doesn’t want teachers to focus on merely reaching the minimum with their students.
“Yes, and also not settling for a targeted proficiency, which is really been the way things have been measured before, and that if you think about it that’s really the floor of achievement that we want for any child;” Brownstein said “it’s the bare minimum that’s acceptable and its not going to be enough for them to get jobs, even in our community, with our wonderful business people that are here.”
A way to motivate teachers is a new training plan that will allow teachers to receive raises based on the training and development that they have completed. Forcella describes the training as similar to a merit system that rewards teachers for their improvement rather than length of service.
Chapel Hill-Carrboro Chamber of Commerce president Aaron Nelson says the business community should support the changes.
“Designed a system to try to really help those teachers so they don’t have to remember back 20 years when they got their instruction on certain things, when they were in school, that we are going to have a culture of innovation, a culture of where getting smarter, getting better is rewarded;” Nelson said “the role of the business community and the broader community is to support these changes.”
The district will implement the five-year plan in stages through 2018.http://chapelboro.com/news/pre-k-12-education/chccs-implement-new-5-year-plan/
Photo by Erik Andersen
CHAPEL HILL – The busiest time of move-in weekend wraps up Sunday and students have been keeping Associate Director Rick Bradley and many others from the Center for Housing and Residential Education busy.
Bradley says a lot of the works done over the summer were improvements in some dorm buildings and preparing for students to arrive.
“We have done some building renovations this summer in a very short turn around time doing some interior room work and bathroom renovations,” Bradley says.
Many students have already moved into their on-campus dorms to prepare for classes starting Tuesday. Bradley says that the students moving in makes it a little chaotic, but somehow an organized process.
“Oh certainly busy, over half of our students are already back, Wednesday really starts kinda the big move-in day,” Bradley says. “But today and tomorrow are big days for our 3200 first year students that are living with us on campus this year.”
Bradley says work for UNC staff in the Center for Housing and Residential Education is just beginning with students moving in. Currently a lot of the work has been done by maintenance, facilities, and house-keeping. But, Bradley says that once the semester begins, other aspects of the job begin too.
“And as we open, a lot of the work just really begins for most our residential education team that does a lot of program activities and activity planning, but in cooperation with some of our academic partners and others, so the work is never ending” said Bradley.
The Center for Housing and Residential Education provides support for new students and helps many students become accustomed to college. For more information, click here.http://chapelboro.com/news/unc/unc-wraps-up-move-in-weekend-sunday/
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – A battle to shape perception over whether North Carolina’s public school spending is being cut or is just right is heating up with the traditional academic year less than a week away for school districts in mountain counties.
The North Carolina Association of Educators and other groups demonstrated Monday in Charlotte to protest what they see as lawmakers harming public education this year. Similar rallies are planned the rest of this week in Wilmington, Greensboro, Winston-Salem, Raleigh, Asheville, and Greenville.
Their complaints include that this year’s $21 billion state budget gives public schools $117 million less than what they would have had if lawmakers changed nothing and accounted for increased enrollment and inflation.
Republican lawmakers counter that they increased education spending by $360 million over last year.http://chapelboro.com/news/pre-k-12-education/debate-on-nc-school-funding-rises-as-classes-near/
Photo by Doug Wilson
PITT COUNTY - The case of Everett V. Pitt County School Board has brought a lot of attention to Greenville, NC and the PittCountySchools and could have implications for statewide changes.
Last Monday, lawyers squared off in federal court over a 2011 student assignment plan that many parents say re-segregated several schools in the district.
Nearly 60 years after the U.S Supreme Court struck down segregation in public schools, Pitt county remains on federal supervision until it reaches unitary status. Civil rights attorney Mark Dorosin says this is not an isolated school district.
“There are a number of counties and school districts across the south that are in a similar position to Pitt County, that is school districts that have been under court order for many years, and are still under court order” Dorosin said.
Achieving “unitary” status means that Pitt County School Board would no longer be under federal supervision to ensure desegregation. Dorosin says this case could have effects on other districts in the south that have not received unitary status.
“The ruling itself will be contained directly to impacting Pitt County,” Dorosin said “but the whole process and how the court handles the allegations I think are being watched closely by education advocates and school districts across the region”
Several families have joined forces with the Coalition to Educate Black Children as plaintiffs against the district. Dorosin says they hope to end some of the current changes that they feel have re-segregated schools. He says many people both in Pitt County and other counties are watching this case to see the results.
“Some folks who live in those districts, on both sides of the issue, the school districts themselves and the parents whose children attend those schools are watching this case to see whether the decision will have any bearing on how they should proceed toward unitary status in their districts” Dorosin commented.
Judge Malcom Howard will make the final decision in the next few weeks on whether Pitt County Schools have tried to desegregate and create unitary status.http://chapelboro.com/news/pre-k-12-education/pitt-county-school-board-under-fire-by-parents/
RALEIGH - Progress NC Executive Director, Gerrick Brenner says Governor Pat McCrory’s comment that this year’s education budget is the largest in North Carolina history isn’t fair to say.
“Well there’s a couple of things, one he’s not taking inflation into account, and two he’s not taking enrollment growth into account” said Brenner.
In an email, Communications Director for Gov. McCrory, Kim Genardo says the $7.86 billion for K-12 Education in this year’s budget referrers to the appropriated budget. An email sent out by ProgressNC on Thursday said, “Gov. Pat McCrory mislead the public once again about the education budget he signed into law.” It went on to say that $7.91 billion for K-12 education in ’07-’08 and $8.19 billion in ’08-’09 were greater.
However, Genardo said those numbers are actual budget, which includes additional reserves.
Still, Brenner says, taking inflation into account, the praise of the budget was misleading.
“Actually this education budget is about half a billion dollars less than it was in 2007-2008” Brenner claimed.
Some K-12 schools that received cuts to their budget have tried alternative ways to raise money. Brennar says he heard of a school in PolkCounty that held a fundraising breakfast to go towards school supplies. He also claims that this not an isolated incident.
“All you have to do is do a quick Google search and you can see news stories filtering in from across the state of counties having to cut teachers and teaching assistants” Brenner said.
Brenner says he doesn’t agree with the education budget along with other bills that the Governor passed. He says he thinks that the Governor is “twisting the truth” and is beginning to “stretch credibility.”http://chapelboro.com/news/pre-k-12-education/progressnc-gives-thoughts-on-education-budget/