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Let’s dig a little deeper…Asheville City Schools performance grades went down when compared with last year’s scores. That is, with the exception of Ira B. Jones Elementary which saw a 2 point increase.  Buncombe County Schools’ saw increases in scores for 20 of 38 schools; those schools raising scores by 5 or more points were elementary schools Bell, Haw Creek, Hominy Valley, Woodfin and W.D. Williams; Enka High and Eblen Intermediate also raised scores by 5 points. While five schools maintained the same scores, 13 of 38 saw decreasing scores.

A few scores stood out….Pisgah Elementary has a high number of free/reduced lunch students (68%) but was the highest scoring elementary school in Buncombe with a grade of 80. Candler Elementary’s score fell from a 61 to a 59. Although the school did not meet academic growth goals for the second year in a row, Candler’s principal was named BCS 2015 Principal of the Year. You may remember the school made national news when a Candler Elementary parent complained her son had been bullied for carrying a “My Little Pony” backpack to school. Johnston Elementary’s performance score went from a 48 down to a 46; the poorest performing school in the district. The school has a 98% free and reduced lunch rate. The school board has yet to take any action to address academic issues at the school. In fact, the assistant superintendent for curriculum, Susanne Swanger, announced last year that the Erwin district, where Johnston is located, had more brand-new teachers, not master teachers, of any district in Buncombe.

Buncombe School Board Actions for September…The school board has not held any work sessions for months. At the regular monthly meeting, the Board voted as a bloc, without discussion, for a third renovation to the central office to add instructional spaces and a gym for the Discovery Academy (STEM high school), costing nearly $1 million. Lottery funds will be used. The first renovation was supposed to include a half-court gym and capacity for 400 students but the $5.5 million in county tax dollars was exhausted before completion. The school capacity is currently 280 but must house 400 students by 2017. Right now 200 9th and 10th graders occupy the space.

Parental Rights Ignored…In spite of parental concerns expressed at the Sept. meeting, the Board unanimously voted to allow challenged books (explicit sexual content, etc.) to be taught in the classroom while the committee reviews parental objections. No discussion occurred before the vote. The next Buncombe County school board meeting will be on Oct. 1 at 6:30pm.

2014-15 Performance Grades

ASHEVILLE CITY SCHOOLS

Performance Score

Letter Grade*

(curved)

Did Not Meet Academic Growth Goals

Met Academic Growth Goals

Exceeded Academic Growth Goals

School of Inquiry and Life Sciences

87

A

X

Asheville High School

66

C

X

Asheville Middle School

62

C

X

Isaac Dixon Elementary (tie)

75

B

X

Vance Elementary (tie)

75

B

X

Ira B. Jones Elementary

71

B

X

Claxton Elementary

64

C

X

Hall Fletcher Elementary

51

D

X

PUBLIC CHARTER SCHOOLS

Francine Delaney (K-8th)

77

B

X

Art Space (K-8th grade)

73

B

X

Invest Collegiate (K-12th)

72

B

X

Evergreen Community (K-8)

71

B

X

Franklin School of Innovation (6th-12th grade)

69

C

X

*2014-15 school year performance grades are based on a 15 point grading scale.

A = 85-100

B = 70-84

C = 55-69

D = 40-54

F = Less than 40

The grades are based on standardized end-of-grade tests in reading and math for grades three through eight, science in grades five and eight and end-of-course tests in three high school subjects. High schools are also evaluated on their graduation rate, ACT and ACT WorkKeys results and percentage of students who complete Math III.

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