It is mid-September, and public schools still have no state budget provided to operate. It is important to note as well that the state shared that North Carolina has a $445 million surplus this year. Public schools in North Carolina just received their second annual letter grade from elected legislators (not educators or parents). Across the state only 6.4% of schools received a letter grade of A from legislators. As we’ve all seen multiple times, those A, and most of the B schools, are schools of choice (like Discovery or Challenger Early College) or they are very affluent/low poverty schools. In fact, 69.7% of all schools in North Carolina received a grade of C, D, or F from the legislative body. Unfortunately, very few people outside of the few politicians who are so adamant that we have these ratings believe these ratings truly represent the work of the schools they are grading.
In times like these, what should we as educators do? I think we should sing a song of celebration. That’s right! We should tell our true story of the amazing successes our schools are having. Nineteenth-century English composer Frederick Delius gave us the expression, “Music is an outburst of the soul.” What I see in our schools are excited, successful, connected, loved, and valued students AND staff who are not letting outside politicians steal their happiness. So, let’s sing a song of celebration for the amazing students, staff, and community that is Newton-Conover.
Our district was just informed that we have the highest graduation rate in the entire state of North Carolina (out of 116 school districts). We are the only district in the state with over 94% graduation rate (ours was 97.1%).
This is one of the hundreds of success stories that could be told of our district. We have all-time highs in graduation rate, all-time lows in dropout rate, record scholarship dollars earned, award winning arts programs, athletic state championships each of the last 8 years (in 6 different sports), dozens of award winning academic competition teams, students with perfect SAT scores, 89% of our students attend a 2 or 4 year college after graduation, and we have students with job skills that lead to a successful career after high school.
I hope everyone joins me in celebrating the great things happening in Newton-Conover City Schools, and I hope you join me in working hand in hand to continue to build upon these accomplishments so that every child in our district finds success.