Sampson County Schools continues to meet growth

By Chase Jordan - [email protected]
Sampson County Schools Superintendent Dr. Eric Bracy discusses academic success with school board members. -

In a room full of patrons and teachers, Superintendent Dr. Eric Bracy showed appreciation for what he called “wonderful results” during the 2015-16 school year.

During a recent meeting for the Sampson County Schools Board of Education, Bracy was pleased to discuss testing and proficiency results.

“We’re proud to say that out of 20 school systems in our region, we finished third in proficiency behind New Hanover and Carteret,” Bracy said to the audience.

Fifteen out of 18 schools met or exceeded academic growth. He added that academic proficiency for the End-of-Grade (EOG) and End-of-Course (EOC) tests increased to 61.4 percent, an increase of 4 percent.

“That’s something to be proud of,” Bracy said.

School officials were pleased with ACT results of students meeting the admissions minimum composite score requirement for the University of North Carolina. The percentage jumped from 49.2 percent to 45.5 percent for the 2015-16 school year.

“We talk about our EOGs and EOCs a lot, but we don’t talk about our ACT testing. We had a wonderful year this year as well.”

Bracy attributed the results to teachers, staff and others involved in the education process.

“Results like this don’t happen by accident,” he said. “It starts in our classrooms. I see many of our wonderful teachers here tonight. Thank you for all that you do and the countless hours that you spend with our kids and working with our families and our students individually and collectively as well.”

In addition to the roster of teachers, he also applauded the work of principals and mentioned how they are a special group committed to their schools and local communities. He also lauded the district’s Instructional Services Department, which leads educational efforts in schools throughout the district.

Along with other program leaders, Jeana Carr, director of elementary education, presented results from a previous work session. It included EOG scores for third-, fourth- and fifth-grade students. The subjects tested included reading, math and science. Clement, Hargrove, Midway, Plain View and Union elementary schools exceeded growth. Hobbton, Roseboro and Salemburg met growth. Union Intermediate did not meet growth.

“I’m very proud of our elementary schools,” Carr said. “Our teachers, principals and everyone is working real hard.”

To improve, Carr said assistance through an instructional coach will be provided to improve certain subject areas or schools such as Union Intermediate.

One of the subjects discussed was math, which improved over the years despite the challenges of Common Core, a set of academic standards.

“It’s harder to teach some of the specifics in the math,” Carr said during the work session. “I’m sure you heard about parents complaining about not being able to understand how to help their children with math homework.”

To help, teachers requested textbooks to help provide a better understanding.

For reading, Carr said principals will visit model classrooms to observe how teachers interact with students.

“Hopefully, they can take that back to their classrooms as well,” Carr said.

Another program to assist with reading is the Imagine Learning Program, which uses uses interactive content and activities, videos, songs and games.

During the work session before the meeting, Board Member Mary Brown questioned parent involvement. Through intervention programs, Carr said teachers work with parents to determine the needs of a student.

“It’s really a partnership between the classroom and the home,” Carr said. “What can we do at school? What can you do at home?”

When it comes to homework, Brown brought up how some parents and students may struggle to find answers for problems. Brown, Carr and other board members agreed that homework should reinforce what has already been taught in the classroom.

Collectively, the proficiency rate for third graders improved from 65.8 percent to 71.8 percent. Fourth-graders dropped slightly from 64.4 percent to 63.7 percent. Fifth graders jumped from 62.7 to 69.4 percent.

Together, the composite EOG was 68.4 percent for the 2015-16 school year in the proficiency category. That amount was an increase from the previous year’s percentage of 64.1.

All of the high schools in the district had a proficiency score of 58 percent for the 2015-16 school year, a 6.3 percent increase. The previous result was 51.7 percent.

During the 2015-16 school year, middle schools from the Hobbton, Midway and Union areas of the district met growth. Roseboro-Salemburg Middle School did not meet growth. The subjects tested included math, science and reading.

“We have set the bar high and we want to keep plugging along and keep increasing our growth and proficiency,” Bracy said.

Sampson County Schools Superintendent Dr. Eric Bracy discusses academic success with school board members. County Schools Superintendent Dr. Eric Bracy discusses academic success with school board members.

By Chase Jordan

[email protected]

Reach Chase Jordan at 910-249-4617. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.

Reach Chase Jordan at 910-249-4617. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.