Category Archives: State Issues

UCPS Graduation Rates and School Performance “Grades” Released

report cardUCPS has issued a press release with highlights of the system’s performance based on state-mandated “accountability measures” that were released today.

(For some perspective, read this article about “grading” schools and this article about last year’s results.)

More analysis is sure to follow, but here is the article from UCPS:

UCPS graduation rate is highest in school system history, more students on grade level for 2014-15 school year

Monroe, NC—The state of North Carolina and Union County Public Schools released several accountability measures for the 2014-15 school year. UCPS announced today that its four-year graduation cohort rose to 93 percent for 2015, up from 92.6 percent in 2014. The four-year graduation cohort measures the percentage of students who graduate in four years. This is the highest graduation rate in the school system’s history. For five years, UCPS has shown a steady gain in its graduation rate.

Two high schools, Central Academy of Arts and Technology and the Union County Early College, had a graduation rate at 100 percent. Seven of UCPS 12 high schools had a rate of 90 percent or higher. Schools that scored above 95 percent are Weddington (99.7), Marvin (99.5), Cuthbertson (98.5) and Porter Ridge (95.7).

In addition, of the 10 largest school districts in the state, UCPS has the highest graduation rate. The North Carolina graduation rate is 85.4 percent.

“This is the highest graduation rate we’ve ever seen in Union County Public Schools and I want to commend our students, principals, staff and parents for working hard and staying focused,” said Superintendent Dr. Mary Ellis. “While I am pleased with this progress, I am not resting on these numbers. I would like to see all high school students earn a high school diploma.”

The state also released results from the READY initiative which measures academic growth and proficiency. Growth reflects the academic progress students made during the course of one school year.


In the 2014-15 school year, more UCPS students performed on grade level than the previous year. In addition, test results show that 74 percent of schools met or exceeded academic growth goals for 2014-15.

The district performance composite was 63.3 percent for College and Career Readiness and 72.1 percent for Grade Level Proficiency. This compares to 62.2 percent and 71.5 percent in 2013-14.

As a requirement of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, formerly known as No Child Left Behind, schools are measured against Annual Measurable Objectives (AMO). These objectives are a series of performance targets that states, school districts and specific subgroups of students must achieve each year to meet federal requirements. In 2014-15, 21 out of 52 or 40.4 percent of schools met AMOs. The number of schools that met AMOs in 2013-14 was 26.

“The targets and subgroups will increase each year and this means we have to do more to close achievement gaps in our schools,” Ellis said. “We’ve seen the data and we know where improvements are needed.”

2014-15 READY Accountability Data Highlights:

  • 72.1 percent of 3-8 graders met grade level proficiency (Levels 3-5)
  • 63.3 percent of 3-8 graders met College and Career Ready measures (Levels 4-5)
  • 74 percent of schools met or exceeded academic growth goals in 2014-15
  • 15 schools (30%) exceeded expected growth
  • 22 schools (44%) met expected growth
  • 13 schools (26%) did not meet expected growth
  • 91.1 percent of third graders were proficient in reading following the Read to Achieve summer camp

For the second year, North Carolina has released performance grades for schools. As required by state legislation, School Performance Grades are based on 80 percent of the school’s achievement score and 20 percent on students’ academic growth.

Based on state measures, out of the 50 schools that were scored in Union County Public Schools, 44 (88%) earned a score of C or better and 14 (28%) schools received an A or better.  In addition, the state added an A+ grade to the list of designations and 8 schools received this distinction.

Three schools, Wolfe, Walter Bickett Education Center and South Providence, were not scored because they do not fit the NC Performance Grades model. School grades are provided on a 15-point scale.

For additional district and state data, visit


Future of Driver’s Education Uncertain

Union County Public Schools has joined most other school districts in North Carolina in suspending Driver’s Education courses. The official statement on UCPS high school websites states:Student-Driver

Driver’s Education (DE) funding has not been allocated by the State of NC for the 2015-2016 school year. Once the State Budget is approved and UCPS determines the state’s direction for the upcoming year, the school system will release information regarding the 2015-2016 DE classes.

North Carolina has still not passed a budget, so programs such as driver’s ed are in limbo. The Enquirer Journal reports that UCPS has developed an online course for the 30 hour classroom  requirement , but they are awaiting a decision from the state regarding the future of this requirement.  While the state debates the budget and the efficacy of driver;s
education programs, students are left to either pay for private programs or to delay their licensing process.

Has Education Been Transformed in NC?

Rep. Craig Horn at the UC BOE Legislative Breakfast
Rep. Craig Horn at the UC BOE Legislative Breakfast

Representatives Craig Horn (R-Union) and Rob Bryan (R-Mecklenburg) have published an article regarding the state of education in North Carolina.

They conclude:

“This is an education transformation that should make all North Carolinians proud.”

Read the full article by following the link below and then let us know if you agree.

Transforming Education in North Carolina

Bill Preventing Schools from Suing Counties Fails in NC House

House Bill 726, “AN ACT REPEALING THE STATUTORY AUTHORITY FOR A LOCAL BOARD OF EDUCATION TO FILE A LEGAL ACTION CHALLENGING THE SUFFICIENCY OF THE FUNDS APPROPRIATED BY THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS” failed to pass tonight in a 52-66 vote. The Act would have made the budget determinations of the county commissioners final, with no recourse for school systems to seek mediation or file legal action. Local representatives Dean Arp and Craig Horn voted against the bill, while Representative Mark Brody voted for it.