Durham County

This Durham school’s students achieved the 2nd best academic growth in the state.

City of Medicine Academy
City of Medicine Academy Google Street View

The Durham Public Schools on Thursday night celebrated the academic gains of more than a dozen of its schools on the most recent round of state testing.

The City of Medicine Academy (CMA) achieved the second-highest level of academic growth of all schools in North Carolina, surpassed only by Richmond County Ninth Grade Academy, a school that only has ninth grade students.

Located near Duke Regional Hospital, CMA is a small, specialty high school serving slightly more than 300 students in grades 9-12. It is designed to train students to work in the health services and medical care fields.

Academic Growth measures year-over-year student progress, regardless of what level they started. So, CMA students made more progress in a year than they were expected to make.

North Carolina uses the Education Value-Added Assessment System (EVAAS) as the statewide model for measuring student growth when common assessments are administered, such as end-of-course tests, end-of-grade tests, Career and Technical Education Post-Assessments (CTE) and final exams.

The end-of-course tests for high school students measures mastery of Math I, English II and biology.

End-of-grade tests measure students’ mastery of math and reading comprehension in grades 3-8 and science in grades 5-8.

“We could not do this without our teachers,” CMA Principal Jackie Tobias said Thursday.

In addition to its statewide showing, City of Medicine Academy exceeded expected growth for the fourth year in a row, received an A-plus performance grade for the third straight year and posted a 100 percent graduation rate.

Tobias said one of the keys for CMA has been to identify students’ weaknesses early on and to “fix them” through tutoring and other strategies even if the extra help has to occur during lunch periods.

“It starts in ninth grade,” Tobias said. “We work to ensure all of our students are prepared for life.”

The celebration came during Bert L’Homme’s last DPS Board of Education meeting as superintendent. The school board is in the final stages of its search for his replacement.

Other schools recognized

▪  Mangum Elementary School earned an A-plus rating for the second year in a row.

▪  Burton and Holt elementary schools have exceeded expected growth for the past four years.

▪  E.K. Powe Elementary School went from not meeting growth to exceeding growth in one year.

▪  Carrington and Githens middle schools went from not meeting growth to exceeding growth.

▪  Rogers-Herr Middle School exceeded growth and moved up one letter grade to a “B” for its performance.

▪  The School for Creative Studies exceeded growth and posted a 95 percent graduation rate for its first senior class.

▪  Durham School of the Arts, New Tech High School at Hillside and Middle College High School at Durham Technical Community College all exceeded growth and posted graduation rates or 95 percent or better.

▪  J.D. Clement Early College at N.C. Central University exceeded growth for the fourth consecutive year, the school received an A-plus grade and graduated 100 percent of its seniors for the fifth year in a row.

DPS students again showed improvement on North Carolina end-of-grade and end-of-course tests this year.

The district’s overall proficiency rating was 46.4 percent for the 2016-17 school year, according to the state READY Accountability Results released Thursday, Sept. 7.

The 46.4 percent passing rate is a 1.5 percent increase over the 44.9 rate students posted on the state tests the previous year.

Across the state, 59.2 percent of students passed the state tests.

But DPS’ four-year graduation rate fell slightly to 81.4 percent, down from 82.1 percent in the 2015-16 school year.

Greg Childress: 919-419-6645, @gchild6645