Web site offers information on schools in Rowan, across state

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 2, 2009

By Holly Fesperman Lee

Salisbury Post

Do you get confused by all the different reports on school performance and accountability?

Now you can get information on class size, school safety, access to technology, funding, teacher qualifications, accountability and student performance in one place.

North Carolina School Report Cards for the 2005-2006 school year were released by the Department of Public Instruction Tuesday and are ready for public viewing at www.ncschoolreportcard.org.

These report cards contain statewide information but also list specifics on school districts and individual schools.

The Rowan-Salisbury School System will distribute a summary of report card information, called a snapshot, about each child’s school and the district on February 5.

Rowan-Salisbury Schools Superintendent Dr. Judy Grissom will also send out a connect-ed telephone message to let parents know this information will be coming home.

Parents should visit the school report card Web site to view complete report cards and get information about other schools in the district.

“Since the report cards were released just this afternoon, I haven’t yet had the opportunity to review all of them. I predict they will show that Rowan-Salisbury Schools continue to have areas of strength as well as areas in which we must improve. The report cards are one of the tools that our system, as well as parents and other stakeholders, can use both to measure our progress and to determine the areas in which we may need to focus more attention and resources,” said Karen South Carpenter, Rowan-Salisbury Board of Education vice chairman.

Each school report card starts off by giving school profile with information about the average class size and the number of students attending. The report card also compares this information to district and state averages.

After the school profile, report cards detail information on student performance. Parents can see how test scores at their child’s school stack up against average district and state scores.

The student performance area of the report card also tells where the school stands on the state ABC accountability program and No Child Left Behind, the federal accountability program.

Parents can find information on discipline problems and violence under the safe schools section of the report card.

In the Rowan-Salisbury district, there was one act of violence per 100 students reported at the middle and high school level. Those figures are the same as the state average for middle schools and lower for for high schools. North Carolina as a whole reported 2 violent acts for every 100 high school students last school year.

The district reported only one long-term suspension per 100 students at the high school level in the 2005-2006 school year. That number, however, was much higher for short-term suspensions. The report card indicates that there were 45 short-term suspensions per 100 high school students last school year.

Middle schools reported 41 short-term suspensions per 100 students and elementary schools reported 9.

Rowan-Salisbury falls behind the state average when it comes to the number of classrooms connected to the internet.

An average of 98.8 percent of classrooms in the state are connected to the internet while only 95.1 percent of Rowan-Salisbury classrooms have that capability.

The ratio of students to computers in the district is also slightly lower than the state average.

More Rowan-Salisbury elementary and middle school classes are taught my highly qualified teachers than the state average.

Ninety-nine percent of Rowan-Salisbury’s elementary classes have highly qualified teachers, that number is 98 percent at the state level.

Rowan-Salisbury is two percent ahead of the state average in middle school classes – 92 percent of classes have highly qualified teachers compared to 90 percent in the state.

While numbers are slightly above the state average at the elementary and middle school levels, Rowan-Salisbury doesn’t meet the average number of classes taught by highly qualified teachers at the high school level.

Only 87 percent of high school classes are taught by teachers identified as highly qualified compared to 91 percent of classes in the state.

There are also less teachers that hold advanced degrees in the Rowan-Salisbury school system than the average number in other North Carolina school districts.

Other facts included in the NC School Report Cards about the Rowan-Salisbury School district include:

* 12 percent of elementary teachers, 16 percent of middle school teachers and 20 percent of high school teachers left the school district last school year.

* 22 percent of elementary teachers, 20 percent of middle school teachers and 23 percent of high school teachers transferred to another Rowan-Salisbury school in 2005-2006.

* 58 percent of principals in the district are male, 42 percent are female

* The number of principals with advanced degrees in the Rowan-Salisbury school system is 10 percent higher than the state average.

* Per student funding is lower in Rowan-Salisbury at the local, state and federal level than state averages.

Contact Holly Lee at 704-797-7683 or hlee@salisburypost.com