Thirty-five public schools in the Charlotte area earned the state’s top grade for student achievement Thursday, as North Carolina released its 2017 school letter grades.
They were among 87 neighborhood, magnet and charter schools across the state to earn an A+ rating, which indicates that a strong majority of students passed state exams – and in high schools, earned diplomas on time.
Ten Charlotte-area schools were among the state’s 98 F schools, which indicates that a significant majority of students scored below grade level on reading, math and science exams.
As always, the grades at the top and bottom of the scale say more about the characteristics of the students who come through the doors than the quality of faculty and the support provided for students.
In Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, A+ ratings went to suburban and magnet schools that attract families focused on education, whose children often arrive with a strong vocabulary, plans for college and out-of-school resources to bolster their success. The F’s went to schools with extremely high poverty levels, where many students must cope with homelessness, trauma and instability before they can focus on learning and taking tests.
The state rates schools on a 100-point scale, with most of the grade coming from the percentage of students who pass exams. Year-to-year progress contributes to 20 percent of that rating, allowing some credit for schools that help their students make gains even if they fall short of grade level. Graduation rates also factor into high school scores, generally keeping them out of the F zone.
Schools with a score of 85 or higher earn an A, but they can only get an A+ if the school’s racial and economic gaps are no larger than the state average. In CMS, for instance, 10 schools earned an A but did not qualify for the A+.
An F means the total performance score fell below 40. Here are the top- and bottom-rated schools in the region.
CMS A+ schools: Bain Elementary, Ballantyne Elementary, Beverly Woods Elementary, Dilworth Elementary, Elon Park Elementary, Grand Oak Elementary, Hawk Ridge Elementary, Huntersville Elementary, McKee Road Elementary, Olde Providence Elementary, Piedmont Middle, Polo Ridge Elementary, Providence High, Providence Spring Elementary, South Charlotte Middle.
Charter A+ schools: Community School of Davidson, Metrolina Regional Scholars Academy.
CMS F schools: Bruns Academy, Eastway Middle, Sedgefield Middle, Thomasboro Academy, Walter G. Byers School.
Charter F schools: Charlotte Choice, Charlotte Learning Academy.
Cabarrus County A+ schools: Cox Mill Elementary.
Cabarrus County F schools: None.
Charter F schools: ACE Academy.
Gaston County A+ schools: Highland School of Technology.
Gaston County F schools: None.
Iredell-Statesville A+ schools: Mount Mourne School, Northview School, Woodland Heights School.
Mooresville A+ schools: Rocky River Elementary.
Charter A+ schools: Pine Lake Prep.
Iredell-Statesville F schools: Statesville Middle.
Lincoln County A+ schools: Rock Springs Elementary.
Lincoln County F schools: None.
Union County A+ schools: Antioch Elementary, Central Academy of Technology and Arts, Cuthbertson High, Kensington Elementary, Marvin Elementary, New Town Elementary, Piedmont High, Sandy Ridge Elementary, Union County Early College, Weddington Elementary.
Union County F schools: Walter Bickett Elementary.