Graduation rates are on the rise, but one school is failing

Of The Record Staff
Posted 9/10/19

Harnett County Schools showed some positive signs in several key areas in the past year when it comes to growth, proficiency and graduation rates.

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Graduation rates are on the rise, but one school is failing


Harnett County Schools showed some positive signs in several key areas in the past year when it comes to growth, proficiency and graduation rates.

Brookie Ferguson, assistant superintendent of HCS’ Curriculum and Instruction, presented an accountability report for the 2018-19 school year at Tuesday’s monthly board of education meeting. HCS registered an 87% graduation rate, which is up nearly a point from the previous year and is slightly higher than the state average of 86.5%. The number of HCS schools that exceeded growth increased and elementary students continue to make gains in math and reading.

“We had growth in our proficiency,” Ferguson said. “Overall, our proficiency is at 51.6 [percent] which is up from last year. We’re proud of all of our schools and there’s something to celebrate at every site. Overall, there are a lot of positives to share.”

Seventy-six percent (19 of 25) of HCS schools either met or exceeded growth with four of five high schools accomplishing the feat.

Angier Elementary School and Lafayette Elementary School, after not meeting growth in 2017-18, exceeded growth last year. Benhaven Elementary, Harnett County Early College, Johnsonville Elementary, Lillington-Shawtown Elementary, Overhills Middle, Overhills High and Western Harnett Middle also exceeded growth in 2018-19. Six schools failed to reach growth.

“All their hard work paid off,” said Superintendent Dr. Aaron Fleming. “We’re not finished yet. Some schools still have work to do. We will continue to move forward. We look at this as one project and we want to put all the pieces of the puzzle together.”

HCS experienced graduation rate gains in virtually every subgroup en route to its yearly improvement of 0.8%. Grade level performance across the district increased slightly in reading (51.2% to 51.3%), and grades three through eight jumped from 48.9% to 52.3% in math. Proficiency also increased in fifth and eighth grade science.

“We’re extremely excited about our graduation rate,” Ferguson said. “It’s higher than the state level. We were at 81% a few years ago, so to be at 87, we’re very proud of that.”

Five HCS schools (Benhaven Elementary, Harnett County Early College, Lafayette Elementary, Overhills High and Western Harnett High) earned a B grade from the state, with 13 Cs, six Ds and one F. Wayne Avenue Elementary received the F. The number of schools designated as low-performing dropped from seven to six over the last year.

“I want to thank all of our staff, all of those who are out there impacting our kids,” Fleming said. “We do have some schools that we have some concerns about and we’re going to continue to work on. Those are also schools that have some of our most at-risk kids that need the community support. We know where we need to be. We want to celebrate but we also know where our opportunities lie.”

Johnston County Schools

The number of public schools that met or exceeded growth in Johnston County doubled from 13 to 26 last school year, according to data released Sept. 4 by the N.C. Department of Public Instruction.

“I am proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish this past year as more of our schools met or exceeded growth,” Johnston County Public Schools’ Deputy Superintendent Dr. Paula Coates said. “We will continue to work hard to achieve even better results next year.”

Four Oaks Middle, McGee’s Crossroads Elementary, Cleveland Elementary, Four Oaks Elementary, Pine Level Elementary, River Dell Elementary, Riverwood Elementary, Riverwood Middle and Selma Elementary all exceeded growth last year.

Growth numbers are based on the results of end-of-grade and end-of-course testing in reading and math in elementary schools and English and math in high schools.

The district also lowered its number of low-performing schools from 16 to 14. The JCPS graduation rate increased from 91.8% to 93.4%, and sits well above the state average.

Sampson County Schools

Sixteen of the 18 Sampson County Schools in 2018-19 either met or exceeded growth, according to statistics released by the Department of Public Instruction.

Six schools exceeded growth, including Midway Middle and Plainview Elementary. Clement Elementary, Hobbton High, Midway Elementary and Midway High all met expected growth.

Midway High and Hobbton High posted graduation rates of 86.5% and 72.3%, respectively. Hobbton Middle and Union Intermediate were the two lone schools that failed to meet growth.

By the Letter Grade

Harnett County
Anderson Creek Academy: B
Anderson Creek Primary: D
Angier Elementary: D
Benhaven Elementary: B
Boone Trail Elementary: D
Buies Creek Elementary: C
Coats Elementary: C
Coats-Erwin Middle: C
Dunn Middle: D
Erwin Elementary: D
Gentry Primary: D
Harnett Central High: C
Harnett Central Middle: D
Harnett Early College: B
Harnett Primary: C
Highland Elementary: C
Highland Middle: C
Johnsonville Elementary: C
LaFayette Elementary: B
Lillington-Shawtown Elementary: C
North Harnett Primary: D
Overhills Elementary: C
Overhills High: B
Overhills Middle: C
Star Academy: (Not provided)
South Harnett Elementary: D
Triton High: C
Wayne Avenue Elementary: F
Western Harnett High: B
Western Harnett Middle: C

Johnston County
Benson Elementary: D
Benson Middle: D
Four Oaks Elementary: C
Four Oaks Middle: C
McGee’s Crossroads Elementary: C
McGee’s Crossroads Middle: C
Meadow School: C
South Johnston High: C
West Johnston High: C

Sampson County
Clement Elementary: B
Hobbton Elementary: C
Hobbton Middle: C
Hobbton High: B
Midway Elementary: C
Midway Middle: B
Midway High: B
Plain View Elementary: B


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