From WFAE, October 4, 2022, by Ann Doss Helms
According to North Carolina’s school performance grades, Charlotte-Mecklenburg’s Coulwood STEM Academy is average. The middle school in northwest Charlotte was graded C for the past school year, based mostly on an overall pass rate of 52% on state reading, math and science exams.
But that grade doesn’t tell the full story.
“I don’t think there’s anything average about us,” says Principal Janet Moss.
You’d expect a principal to say that. But Moss has the proof — specifically, a calculation that shows how much academic growth students made over the course of a school year.
Pass rates strongly reflect factors outside a school’s control. Low-poverty schools with large numbers of white and Asian students tend to top the list.
The growth measure gives a shot to schools like Coulwood, a high-poverty Title I school where 90% of students are Black or Hispanic.
North Carolina crunched numbers for 2,532 public schools. Only one, a K-12 charter school located north of Raleigh, came in higher than Coulwood.
Coulwood had the state’s highest rating for growth in math and for English language learners in all subjects combined.