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School Report Cards website updated

School Report Cards website updated
December 07
08:00 2017

Earlier this week, N.C. Superintendent of Public Education Mark Johnson unveiled the state’s redesigned School Report Cards website.

While speaking to local principals and administrators at the Winston-Salem\Forsyth County Schools Board of Education building on Tuesday, Dec. 5, Johnson said, the updates to the website will help tell the story of schools across the state and highlight growth.

“We need to better highlight growth because that means we’re on the right track. So with that we are launching the brand new website for North Carolina’s School Report Cards,” said Johnson, who was a member of the Winston-Salem\Forsyth County Schools Board of Education until he began his job as state superintendent in January.

The School Report Cards website initially launched in 2001 and hasn’t had any major upgrades since. The purpose of the website is to provide parents and others interested in public schools across the state with information about schools, and state-level data in a number of areas. School Report Card information includes school information, overall and student performance, academic growth, teachers and qualifications and school environment.

Johnson said in 2001, the School Report Card website reflected the technology at that time but it was hard to decipher the information. He said when he was elected, he immediately started working on ways to improve the site.

“When I got to the State Education Department, I knew we could do a better job, so I immediately set off with the staff of DPI [Department of Public Instruction] and our partners at SAS,” continued Johnson. “Truly I am so appreciative to the department, staff and SAS for helping take my scribbles on a piece of paper and make that a reality.”

“This is a working, living website. This is only the launch of what we hope to be a tool that we can work with you to improve,” Johnson told administrators. He said they would have opportunities in 2018 to submit feedback to make the website better for educators and parents.

Along with updates to the visual aspects to the sites, Johnson said the upgrades will also help make the site more user friendly. When parents visit the site, the first thing they will see in regard to overall performance will be a letter grade, based 80 percent on the school’s achievement score and 20 percent on students’ academic growth. The site upgrade will also allow parents to see each school growth goal.

Other new features include the opinion to compare schools and new indicators that determine if the school met or exceeded expected growth. A “green checkmark” will signify schools that met expected growth for the previous school year and an “orange star” means that school exceeded the growth goal.

Johnson said this will help lawmakers determine how schools are doing in their districts.

“We did a preview for lawmakers of this and they could immediately see the snapshot of what’s going on in their district, so they can understand that the progress is there,” he said.

Another addition to the website that seemed to excite educators in attendance was the addition of a tool that will measure “incoming student readiness,” Johnson said, “This is our work to better tell the story of your school.

“As a ninth grade science teacher I knew that a lot of eight graders coming into my class were not ready for ninth grade material. This is important context to the performance of your school. So right now we have the Student Readiness Indicator,” said Johnson. “For high schools that’s how many students are coming in proficient in reading and math. For middle school that’s how many students are coming in proficient in reading and math and we’re working on the Kindergarten Readiness Indicator.”

Johnson said he plans to unveil the Kindergarten Readiness Indicator next school year.

After unveiling the upgrades to the website, Johnson noted that although the site is filled with important information, it does not tell you everything you need to know about the school. He encouraged educators to tell parents to ask questions and get more involved in the education process.

“While this information is very important, these facts and figures cannot tell the full story of your school. It cannot tell the extra hours you put in every day preparing for class. It cannot tell the extra hours teacher put in grading assignments,” he continued. “…they cannot tell the involvement in sports or extracurricular activities that build character for students.  This is your chance to send parents to your school’s website to tell that story.”

For more information on the School Report Cards website visit https://ncreportcards.ondemand.sas.com/src.

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Tevin Stinson

Tevin Stinson

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