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Schools shine in goals achievement

Union County Public Schools have posted strong results in their efforts to close the performance gap among students.

School officials announced on their Web site last week that Union ranks first among the state's nine largest school systems in the percentage of schools meeting 100 percent of Adequate Yearly Progress goals.

Twenty four of Union's 47 schools (51 percent) met all goals.

Other large school systems in the area were Charlotte-Mecklenburg (23 percent) and Gaston (25 percent).

A school must meet 100 percent of goals to be considered successful. The Adequate Yearly Progress goals are used to measure success under the federal No Child Left Behind legislation.

“We've kept the focus on making sure each student is making growth and we've done a good job,” said Carolyn White, director of student services and testing for Union County Public Schools.

The standards measure performance of nine groups: white, African American, Hispanic, Native American, Asian/Pacific Islander, multiracial, economically disadvantaged, limited English proficient and students with disabilities. Progress is measured on the school, district and state levels in reading/language arts and mathematics.

Every three years the target goals are raised. The aim is to reach 100 percent proficiency by 2013-14. This year target goals in mathematics were reset for grades 3-8, from 65.8 percent of students proficient to 77.2 percent.

Seven Union County schools met 90 percent of goals and 14 others posted higher than 50 percent. The schools with less than 50 percent are South Providence and Wolfe schools. Both are classified as special purpose schools.

“The goal of 100 percent on grade level by 2013 will continue to be a daunting challenge for some schools, especially for limited English proficiency and exceptional children subgroups,” said Dr. Ed Davis, school superintendent. “Some might say that it is not realistic, but that does not mean we are going to stop trying. We will continue to provide resources and seek ways to improve the achievement of all students.”

Based on 2008 preliminary results, Union County Public Schools came in ahead of Wake County (24 percent), Charlotte-Mecklenburg (23 percent), Guilford (40 percent), Cumberland (34 percent), Forsyth (24 percent), Gaston (25 percent), Durham (17 percent) and Johnston (50 percent) counties.