Seniors top state, national averages
Union County Schools overall scored higher than both the state and national average in this year’s round of SAT grades. As a whole, the school district finished with an average score of 1518, almost 43 points higher than the state average, which came in at 1475.
“I’m encouraged by what I see,” Union County Board of Education member Marce Savage said. “We have some really good teachers.”
Marvin Ridge High, where Savage’s son Taylor attends, ranked first in Union County with a 1621 average score. 281 students took the test at Marvin Ridge.
“That’s huge,” Savage said of the Marvin Ridge average. “To come out ahead of the state by over 400 points is impressive.”
Weddington High came in right behind with a 1617 average, with 216 taking the SAT. The Central Academy of Technology finished with a 1544 average, Cuthbertson High came in at 1542, Sun Valley finished at 1520, with Porter Ridge and Parkwood just getting in over the state average. Porter Ridge students finished with an average score of 1498, while Parkwood students finished with an average of 1477. The remaining county schools at Forest Hills, Monroe and Piedmont High all fell below state and national averages.
Piedmont fell just short, with a 1456 average. Forest Hills, with 91 students taking the SAT, came in at a 1330 average. Monroe High meanwhile finished last in the county, with an average score of 1175 with 77 students taking the test. That’s down from Monroe’s scores in 2010, which came to a 1293 average.
This year, the College Board changed its rules for reporting SAT scores. In previous years, only those who took the test through March were counted. This year, the average included everyone who took the SAT up through June.
Overall in North Carolina, sixty-seven percent of high school seniors took the SAT this year.
“I’m pleased to see that a large percentage of our graduating seniors are considering pursing their education after they graduate from high school,” State Superintendent June Atkinson said in a news release. “I hope that as North Carolina’s high school graduation rate continues to increase so will the number of students seeking education beyond high school.”
Union County also ranked the highest out of neighboring school districts. Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools averaged 1482 on the test. There were three Charlotte schools which scored an average of 1600 or higher. Providence High came in at 1693, with Myers Park at 1672 and Ardrey Kell at 1637.
Savage wondered how much longer schools can maintain the same effort, with budget cuts coming each of the last three years.
“How long can they make due on a shoestring budget?” Savage asked.
Since the beginning of the year, multiple teachers have asked her for help in finding volunteers to take the place of teacher assistants, Savage said, which have been spread throughout the system.
Since 2009, the Union County school system has absorbed a total of $11.5 million in discretionary cuts imposed by the General Assembly, including $3.2 million in this budget cycle.
While the teachers and teacher’s assistants were fully funded, the school system did cut four assistant principals, reduced in hours the equivalent of 14 non-instructional support positions; reduced career and technical education support and technology by $800,000; reduced transportation and classroom materials and supplies by more than a million dollars.
“Are these changes going to affect my son, who’s a junior? Not really,” Savage said. “But unless we find some support, when it comes time for my freshman or my third grader to take the test, it’s gonna hurt.”