MONROE – Union County Public Schools announced gains Sept. 5 for the 2018-19 school year under the state’s School Performance Grade model.
Results show that 45 out of 50, or 90%, of schools earned a grade of C or higher. Seventeen schools received an A, which is an all-time high for UCPS. Eighteen schools received a B, bringing the 2018-19 total to 70% of schools.
Eight elementary schools increased a letter grade from the 2017-18 school year: Benton Heights (D to C), Hemby Bridge (C to B), Kensington (B to A), Marvin (B to A), Shiloh (C to B), Union (C to B), Unionville (B to A) and Wesley Chapel (B to A). In addition, two middle schools increased a letter grade: Cuthbertson (B to A) and Porter Ridge (B from a C). The final grade is based on a 15-point scale, with 80% for the school’s achievement score and 20% for academic growth.
UCPS didn’t have any schools receive an F. Five schools decreased a letter grade, with four of the schools earning a B or C.
“This data is showing that academic excellence is a priority in UCPS,” Superintendent Andrew Houlihan said. “The gains and growth we made at schools such as Benton Heights Elementary, East Elementary, Walter Bickett Elementary, Indian Trail Elementary, Weddington Middle and Cuthbertson High is incredible. Our principals, teachers and support staff should be commended. We are implementing instructional practices that are solid and prove that all students can learn and grow.”
Growth scores are an indication of the rate at which students learned over the past school year. Twenty-three schools, or 45%, exceeded growth – the most in five years. Eight of 11 high schools exceeded growth and four elementary schools exceeded growth for two consecutive years. Twenty schools met growth. Seven schools did not.
Benton Heights Elementary and East Elementary exceeded growth and exited low-performing status. Wingate Elementary, East Union Middle and the Health Sciences Academy at Monroe Middle were identified as low-performing schools.
“I am very proud of the work we have done to support our low-performing schools,” Houlihan said. “We are moving the needle on student growth and performance and raising expectations in these schools. In-school tutoring, a renewed focus on literacy, math and science and additional resources to help teachers are making a difference and helping students to succeed. While these results are encouraging, we are not there yet. We must stay on a path of continuous improvement.”
The district’s proficiency on state assessments increased from 71.9% in 2017-18 to 73.6% in 2018-19. The most notable increase was shown in fifth and eighth-grade science, with UCPS posting eight and five-point gains, respectively.
UCPS Focus Schools experienced sustained improvement in fourth and seventh-grade math, as a result of targeted tutoring strategies. Since 2017-18, UCPS has provided in-school tutoring at East, Benton Heights, Marshville and Walter Bickett elementary schools and East Union and Monroe middle schools.
The state also released four-year graduation rates.
The district’s 2019 rate is 93%, up from 92.6% in 2018. This marks the sixth consecutive year the rate exceeds 92%. Nine of the 12 comprehensive high schools earned a graduation rate of 90% or higher. Central Academy of Technology and Arts maintained a 100% graduation rate. Union County Early College earned a 100% graduation rate, up from 98.3% in 2018.