Nineteen GCS Schools Named Honor Schools of Excellence

An Honor School of Excellence bears the highest status a school can receive through the state of North Carolina. This year, 19 Guilford County Schools achieved that designation, an increase from 14 Schools of Excellence or Honor Schools of Excellence in 2011. In 2008, only one GCS school was designated as an Honor School of Excellence.

Kernodle Middle, The Middle College at GTCC-High Point, The Middle College at GTCC-Jamestown, The Middle College at N.C. A&T, The Middle College at UNCG, Northern High and Stokesdale Elementary all joined the list this year. Other Honor Schools of Excellence are: 

  • The Academy at Smith
  • Brooks Global Studies
  • Brown Summit Middle
  • The Early College at Guilford
  • The Middle College at Bennett
  • The Middle College at GTCC-Greensboro
  • Northwest Middle
  • Northwest High
  • Oak Ridge Elementary
  • Southwest Elementary
  • Summerfield Elementary
  • Weaver Academy

In its Strategic Plan, the district set a goal of increasing the number of Schools of Excellence or Honor Schools of Excellence to five by 2012. The number of Honor Schools of Excellence in GCS has increased every year since 2008.

"Our students and staff have done an outstanding job of demonstrating excellence in the classroom," said Superintendent Maurice "Mo" Green. "These designations highlight their hard work and dedication."

More than 90 percent of a school's students must be considered proficient on End-of-Grade or End-of-Course testing for a school to be named an Honor School of Excellence. In addition, a school must make expected or high growth and must meet all of its Annual Measureable Objectives (AMOs) as determined by the state for demographic subgroups. The AMOs this year replace the measure of Adequate Yearly Progress that was required under No Child Left Behind.

Greensboro College Middle College, which serves 11th- and 12th-graders and was an Honor School of Excellence in 2011, was not eligible for any designation this year because of changes to the End-of-Course tests administered. In 2012, four required tests were eliminated by the state, leaving English I, Algebra I and Biology. Typically, juniors and seniors are not tested in those areas.

Stokesdale Elementary principal Amy Koonce is proud of her school's steady gains to move above 90 percent proficient and become an Honor School of Excellence this year. She credits a school-wide emphasis on reading that includes dedicated guided reading time every day for all grade levels, involving every teacher in the building.

An additional 27 GCS schools are designated as Schools of Distinction, meaning that between 80 and 90 percent of students were proficient and the school achieved expected or high growth. Last year, 29 schools were Schools of Distinction.

Southwest High became a School of Distinction this year, moving from 77.2 percent proficient to 83.6 percent proficient. The school, which serves nearly 1,400 students, has made steady gains for the past four years, up from 62.5 percent proficient in 2008.

In 2012, 43 schools are Schools of Progress, having earned between 60 and 79 percent proficiency and making expected or high growth. In 2011, there were 47 Schools of Progress.

The percentage of schools that made expected growth was 83.6 percent, and 45.7 percent made high growth. Last year, 90.5 percent made expected growth and 52.6 made high growth.

One school with high growth is The Middle College at N.C. A&T, which achieved 93.8 percent proficiency this year to become an Honor School of Excellence. The school has made tremendous strides since 2008, when 41.5 percent of its students were considered proficient. In 2011, 83.7 percent of students were proficient, indicating a gain of 10.1 percentage points this year and 52.3 percentage points since 2008.

Principal Eric Hines credits high expectations and the commitment of his students and staff with the turnaround. "I am so proud of The Middle College at N.C. A&T for what we have achieved this year, not only our test scores but also our 100 percent graduation and college acceptance rate," Hines said. "We believe in these students and their ability to achieve greatness, and they have shown that they can rise to the occasion."

This year one school, Cone Elementary, is considered low-performing, having less than 50 percent proficiency and not making expected growth. No GCS schools were low performing last year, although 10 had been designated low-performing in 2009.

Graduation rates for North Carolina were also released today. Across the state, 80.2 percent of students graduated within four years of starting high school. In GCS, 84.5 percent of the Class of 2012 graduated on time, and six schools, including The Middle College at N.C. A&T, had 100 percent graduation rates.

This is the final year that the state will follow the ABC model of accountability. Starting in 2012-13, North Carolina will transition to the READY model, which incorporates the state's adoption of the Common Core State Standards . New assessments will be delivered at the end of the 2012-13 school year that align with the Common Core guidelines.