School letter grades and test scores show a steadily improving CMS. See the 33 schools that made a leap this year

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All North Carolina public schools received their report cards on Thursday — and there’s plenty of encouraging news for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools.

Test scores are improving. Achievement gaps between white and minority students are shrinking. Long-struggling schools are showing progress.

But of course in a district as large and diverse — and segregated and, in places, poverty stricken — the news is never all in one direction. Still, CMS is in a starkly different position today than it was six years ago.

Here are some of the specifics from the data released Thursday — which covered both school letter grades, graduation rates and the results of end-of-grade tests.

  • 86 percent of schools met or exceeded their growth targets — meaning they brought their students’ scores up.
  • Nearly 90 percent of students graduated within four years, a higher graduation rate than Wake County and an almost 20 point improvement over 2010.
  • Test scores on end-of-grade and end-of-course tests inched up in almost all areas, and exceeded state averages.
  • Three times as many schools improved a letter grade than fell.
  • 15 schools improved enough to escape the dreaded ranks of a “D” or “F” school.
  • The number of “F” schools was cut in half, from 10 to 5.

Some of the not-so-good news:

  • 37 schools, nearly a quarter of the district, carries a “D” or “F” grade.
  • High school English scores continue to drop
  • Fewer than half of CMS students are judged “college and career ready” in reading. To earn that distinction, students have to score 4 or 5 on end-of-grade tests.

Schools in affluent areas — like Myers Park High, Myers Park Traditional and Selwyn Elementary — took steps back this year.

And there remain wide gulfs at a number of high schools between the percentage of students graduating and the percentage who have test scores the state deems not “college and career ready.”

Do those diplomas have a value? Superintendent Ann Clark said that’s a question she asks herself continually. And why she’s set a goal for all of the district’s graduates to leave with some type of academic or industry credential — like AP credit or an automotive certificate — by 2018.

“It’s great that students have a high school diploma,” Clark said. “But so what? What’s the next step? Do they have a plan?”

Want to know more about your particular school of interest? Email me at andrew@charlotteagenda.com or Tweet me.

I’ve listed every CMS school and its 2016 letter grade here.

Here are your A+ schools.

This means that they had high percentages of students passing standardized tests, significant test score gains — plus small gaps between white and minority students.

  • Hough High
  • Providence High
  • Piedmont IB Middle
  • Bain Elementary
  • Beverly Woods Elementary
  • Elon Park Elementary
  • Polo Ridge Elementary
  • Hawk Ridge Elementary
  • Huntersville Elementary
  • J.V. Washam Elementary
  • McKee Road Elementary
  • Olde Providence Elementary
  • Providence Spring Elementary
  • Torrence Creek Elementary

beverly-woods-elementary

33 schools improved a grade level.

Their current letter grade is in parentheses.

  • Albemarle Road Elementary (C)
  • Ashley Park PreK-8 School (D)
  • Bailey Middle (A)
  • Bain Elementary (went from A to A+)
  • Beverly Woods Elementary (A+)
  • Chantilly Montessori (A)
  • Clear Creek Elementary (B)
  • Coulwood STEM Academy (C)
  • David Cox Road Elementary (C)
  • Devonshire Elementary (C)
  • Druid Hills Academy (D)
  • Hawk Ridge Elementary (A+)
  • Hawthorne High (B)
  • Highland Mill Montessori (A)
  • Huntingtowne Farms Elementary (C)
  • J.V. Washam Elementary (A+)
  • Kennedy Middle (C)
  • Martin Luther King Jr Middle (D)
  • McKee Road Elementary (A+)
  • Merry Oaks Elementary (C)
  • Northridge Middle (C)
  • Olde Providence Elementary (A+)
  • Quail Hollow Middle (C)
  • Rama Road Elementary (C)
  • River Gate Elementary (B)
  • Sedgefield Middle (D)
  • Steele Creek Elementary (C)
  • Stoney Creek Elementary (C)
  • Torrence Creek Elementary (A+)
  • West Charlotte High (C)
  • Westerly Hills Academy (D)
  • Whitewater Academy (C)
  • Winding Springs Elementary (C)

10 schools fell a letter grade.

  • Hickory Grove Elementary (D)
  • Highland Renaissance Academy (D)
  • Military and Global Leadership Academy (D)
  • Mint Hill Middle (C)
  • Myers Park High (B)
  • Myers Park Traditional (C)
  • Olympic High – Renaissance School (C)
  • Ranson Middle (D)
  • Selwyn Elementary (B)
  • Winget Park Elementary (C)
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Andrew Dunn
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Editor-in-Chief