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Report card: three schools make a D, two score an A

Athough three schools made a D on the state's new letter-grade report cards, Henderson County school administrators pointed to the system's overall high marks, including the fifth highest percentage of academic growth targets met in the state, the school system said.

Eight Henderson County schools failed to meet expected academic growth, seven met the target and five exceeded the growth target. The highest overall grades went to Glenn C. Marlow Elementary School and the county's Early College, both of which scored an A and exceeded growth targets. Flat Rock Middle, Hendersonville Middle and Hillandale Elementary schools exceeded expected growth despite posting a lower grade.

As for college admissions tests, the local schools had the 12th highest scores in the state on both SAT and ACT tests, and county schools' four-year graduation rate was the 16th highest among the 115 public school districts in North Carolina. The five-year graduation rate was the 14th highest.

The Henderson County Public Schools end-of grade math scores for grades 3-8 were the 12th highest in the state, while the 3-8 reading scores were 13th in the state. The high school end-of-course scores for the school district were the 20th highest in the state.

Schools, grade and their performance to expectation were:

  • Apple Valley Middle, D, not met.
  • Atkinson Elementary, B, met.
  • Bruce Drysdale Elementary, C, met.
  • Clear Creek Elementary, B, met.
  • Dana Elementary, C, met.
  • East Henderson, B, not met.
  • Edneyville Elementary, D, not met.
  • Etowah Elementary, B, not met.
  • Flat Rock Middle, B, exceeded.
  • Fletcher Elementary, C, not met.
  • Hendersonville Elementary, C, not met.
  • Hendersonville High, B, met.
  • Hendersonville Middle, B, exceeded.
  • Hillandale Elementary, C, exceeded.
  • Glenn C. Marlow Elementary, A, exceeded.
  • Mills River Elementary, B, met.
  • North Henderson High, B, exceeded
  • Rugby Middle, B, exceeded.
  • Sugarloaf Elementary, C, met.
  • Upward Elementary, D, not met.
  • West Henderson High, B, not met.
  • Henderson County Early College, A, exceeded.


In a news release, school leaders noted that "performance scores are just one aspect of a school, and can't completely define the school."

"Each school," they added, "has its own unique climate and culture filled with a variety of programs, clubs, the arts, athletics, and many other activities." State Superintendent June Atkinson said, "One letter grade cannot reflect all of the positive things happening in a school. It's important for parents to talk to a school's principal and teachers and to look at all of the school measures reflected in the North Carolina School Report Cards to determine how their child's school is doing in comparison to others in the district and across the state."
Although this is the first year of letter grades, North Carolina has had school- based accountability since 1996. The end-of-grade tests have been given to elementary and middle school students since 1993. These scores reflect only the second year of the READY accountability model with its strong focus on career and college readiness and its more rigorous standards.

Apple Valley principal, in a letter to parents, tried to put the school's new grade of D in contest.

"In 2013-2014, Apple Valley Middle exceeded expected growth in 7th-grade science and 8th-grade social studies performance on NC Final Exams, and met expected growth in 6th- and 7th-grade math, 6th- and 7th-grade social studies, and 6th-, 7th-, and 8th-grade reading," she said. "Our overall performance in reading was above the state average."

"The numbers only tell part of the story. At Apple Valley Middle we have an outstanding arts program including chorus, band, strings, and visual arts. Participating students have been recognized at local and state levels for their accomplishments. Our students also participate – and win local, state and national awards for their achievements – in academic contests such as the annual Daughters of the American Revolution Essay, Quiz Bowl, national MATHCOUNTS competitions, Carl Sandburg National Poetry Contest, and Battle of the Books. We have also incorporated a pre-engineering program in our Career and Technical Education courses called Project Lead the Way.
"We are proud to be recognized as a 'School to Watch' by the N.C. Association for Middle Level Education and a 'Green Ribbon School' by the N.C. Positive Behavior Intervention & Support (PBIS) Initiative. Teachers and administrators from around the state and nation visit schools with these designations to learn best practices and strategies to improve instruction. Thirty percent of our highly qualified teachers have advanced degrees, and 12 are National Board Certified – an optional intensive certification process with high standards for educators."