Clinton City Schools superintendent Dr. Stuart Blount credits a strong foundation for the many successes in the local district, despite test scores indicating no change in grade-level proficiency in the last year.
That strong foundation is one of the contributing factors school officials say lead to Butler Avenue School exceeding growth and missing a B performance grade by one point.
“My predecessor, Vanessa Brown, had already put in place many of the programs and strategies that helped us be successful this past school year,” principal Robert Turlington said. “We were able to build upon these and nurture those elements that proved to give us the growth and success we were looking for.”
The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction recently released data pertaining to the End of Grade testing scores for the 2016-17 school year. All of the schools in the Clinton City district earned a school performance grade of a C, with the exception of L.C. Kerr, which isn’t included in state accountability measures.
“While Kerr School isn’t part of the model, it’s that work done on the foundational level that has helped our schools improve to where they are now, and will help our schools continue to improve in the future,” Blount said.
According to Dr. Kelly Batts, assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction, over the last year, teachers at Kerr have worked hard to improve reading levels within the kindergarten and first grade students.
“We saw significant improvement in our K-1 reading at L.C. Kerr Elementary, which is not a direct part of the state accountability measures, but is a measure that we believe shows our commitment and excellence in early literacy initiatives,” Batts stressed.
At Butler Avenue, Turlington said teachers are utilizing the Daily 5, Guided Math and small group instruction as strategies that have enabled teachers to focus on individual student needs.
“This personalized instruction helped them to differentiate lessons,” Turlington explained. “Our teachers have a strong desire to see all children exceed their potential and be successful citizens and students.”
Additionally, Turlington says he feels the purchase of additional ChromeBooks, enough for a one-to-one ratio at the school, will assist teachers utilizing online programs like Moby Max, iReady, Lyrics2Learn and Reading A to Z.
“Our teachers placed an extreme amount of focus and attention on lessons that would improve literacy and reading throughout all classes,” Turlington added. “Our media coordinator, Michelle Gainey, helped start a new ‘Reading Counts’ reading incentive program. This had a significant positive impact upon student reading.”
School performance data
Butler Avenue School had a performance composite percent grade level proficiency of 63.4 percent. For students testing in third grade, 71.6 percent were proficient in math and 37.5 percent were proficient in reading.
Sunset Avenue School had a performance composite percent grade level proficiency of 57.4 percent. For students testing in fourth grade, 53.5 percent were proficient in math and 52.7 percent were proficient in reading. For students testing in fifth grade, 45.6 percent were proficient in math and 48.5 percent were proficient in reading.
Sampson Middle School had a performance composite percent grade level proficiency of 55.8 percent. For students testing in sixth grade, 41.9 percent were proficient in math and 49.8 percent were proficient in reading. For students testing in seventh grade, 54.2 percent were proficient in math and 58.7 percent were proficient in reading. For students testing in eighth grade, 50 percent were proficient in math and 52.9 percent were proficient in reading.
Sunset Avenue, Sampson Middle and Clinton High did not meet expected growth.
Clinton High School’s four-year cohort graduation rate dropped slightly, but is still above the state average at 87.4 percent. The school was recognized as being on the AP Honor Roll for excellence in Advance Placement course enrollment and the number of students taking and passing AP exams. Student proficiency on the ACT went up from 46.1 percent to 47.8 percent.
Blount says he will be the first to admit — there are needs within all the schools and across the district that need to be met, but feels confident the staff and teachers are working hard towards reaching those goals.
“We are not where we need to be,” Blount admitted. “We have recognized the areas we need to focus on, and going forward we plan to work hard on those areas. I am proud of the work the staff has done, but our goal is to move where we need to be on student growth and achievement.”
The superintendent says that, without a doubt, he feels the district will see positive gains in student growth in the future.
Batts, who agrees with Blount, says she is confident the system will see much growth in student in the coming school year.
“We realize we have some areas to improve upon under our state accountability system,” Batts said. “However, we are proud of the staff, students and families that have worked hard to make improvements over time in our district in some very key areas. We have already begun to put new curriculum and materials into place to address our achievement concerns. We have every reason to believe that we will continue to see improvements throughout this school year and future years as well.”
Reach Kristy D. Carter at 910-592-8137, ext. 2588. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd. Like us on Facebook.