The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction recently unveiled the newly designed, more user-friendly NC School Report Card website (www.schoolreportcards.nc.gov). The new website is a resource for all stakeholders and the easy-to-use format provides additional information and greater transparency. While the data is not necessarily new to us, the structure in which it is presented makes easier to understand and something that we all strive for, more transparency.
We invite you to visit the site and see how we are doing as a district as well as how we compare other districts in our region and in the state. What we hope that what you’ll first notice is that we have a lot to celebrate. When looking at our year-to-year comparable data, in many areas, we’ve made great strides but of course our ultimate goal is to ensure that all students succeed and graduate with a plan to go on to college, join the workforce, or enlist in the military. Additionally, this report card makes it clear what areas we need to improve. As I mentioned, this data is not new to us. We are a student-driven district and every day we are looking at our data to ensure that we continue to do what is successful and find strategies to improve upon those areas that are not as effective.
However, this school report card cannot and does not tell the whole story of our schools or our district. It does not account for the many extra hours our teachers put in after school helping to tutor a child, mentor a new teacher, or coach a school team. It does not measure the tremendous amount of school pride and spirit we have. It doesn’t provide any information about the many extracurricular opportunities we offer our students. The report card doesn’t give data about the artistic abilities of our students and how their artwork or musical talents make us beam with pride. In no way does the NC Report Card give any indication of the leadership and character building opportunities we have for our students and it most certainly doesn’t show that by being involved in these groups, our students are standing with their shoulders back and their head held high knowing that no matter the circumstances to which you were born into, you have the ability to determine your future. And finally, the NC School Report Card does not report that when our parents, students, and staff were anonymously surveyed earlier this year, they overwhelmingly graded our schools and district an A or B. To me, this grade holds a tremendous amount of value and importance. Those that work with us and that we serve daily know and appreciate the job that we are doing and the outcomes of those efforts. To earn and maintain their confidence and trust is truly the mark we strive for.
As always, we thank all of our stakeholders for their continued interest in and support of our district, our schools, and most importantly our students. It’s been said many times, but it’s worth repeating, that it takes a village to raise (or educate) a child and today that couldn’t be more true. We invite you to become a partner in education and be a part of our success because truly, our collective future depends on it.
Dr. Ron Hargrave serves as superintendent of Scotland County Schools.