SMITHFIELD – Newly released data from the State Board of Education demonstrates that Johnston County Public Schools (JCPS) students are continuing to excel academically, and the district has surpassed its pre-pandemic achievement level.
The State Board of Education releases school performance data annually that allows school districts across the state to measure academic performance and inform continuous improvement efforts. In data released for the 2022-2023 school year, JCPS students showed improvements virtually across the board, and the district is one of only six districts in the state that has surpassed their achievement levels prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I continue to be wowed by the efforts and achievements of our county’s students and educators,” said Johnston County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Eric Bracy. “The results released by the State Board of Education are reflective of the caliber of individuals I know that we have teaching and learning in Johnston County Public Schools.”
Results, which were released by the state on Sept. 6, show the overall composite score on end-of-grade and end-of-course tests for JCPS students increased for the 2022-23 school year to 55.2%, an improvement of approximately 2 percentage points from the 2021-22 school year and 2.3 percentage points above the overall performance composite of 52.9% from the 2018-19 pre-Covid school year.
JCPS student performance noted gains across nearly all subjects for the 2022-23 school year. In grades 3-8 Reading and Math, the district’s proficiency rate is higher than the statewide average.
The scores on the end of grade science exams showed gains from 2021-22 in 5th grade, but a decline in 8th grade. Though a decline in 8th grade was noted, proficiency in grade 5 and 8 science remains above the state average.
Performance in high school End of Course assessments continues to lag behind the state, though significant gains were noted across all End of Course Assessments.
Across the state, approximately 72% of schools achieved or exceeded academic growth, 83% of the schools in Johnston County Public Schools met or exceeded expected growth. Of those schools, 60% exceeded growth compared to the state at 28% exceeding growth.
JCPS had 29 schools exceed growth, 11 met growth expectations, and 8 that did not meet growth. These numbers are based on the results of end-of-grade and end-of-course tests in reading, math, and science in elementary and middle schools and English and math in high schools.
“Our schools know what it takes to move the needle in regards to their academic performance,” said Dr. Bracy. “This data is a true testament to the work that was put in this past school year.”
Johnston County Public Schools has a district wide goal of 100% of schools in the system receiving a school letter grade of an A, B, or C by the end of the 2023-2024 school year, which has been heavily supported by Dr. Bracy and his senior leadership.
According to the data released from the Department of Public Instruction, 39 of JCPS’s 48 schools under this model have now met that goal. With 32% of JCPS schools achieving a letter grade of A or B, compared to 27% of the schools across the state achieving an A or B.
When the goal was first established in 2018-19, JCPS had 15 schools that had a school letter grade of D or F. Based on this newest data, the district is only 8 schools away from meeting its goal.
“I am so proud to be the Superintendent of this school system, and I want to commend the teachers of this district, the school leaders, and all the support staff members who are contributing to this success,” said Dr. Bracy. “We have an ambitious goal, but it is one that we can achieve if we keep up this great work.”
The accountability data released by the state also included the four-year Cohort Graduation Rate for the class of 2023. The JCPS four-year graduation rate decreased slightly from 91.8% to 91.6%, but continues to be above the state graduation rate of 86.4%.
JCPS continues to implement research based Core Curriculums in reading and math and the use of on-going instructional walkthroughs with feedback and coaching. The district is monitoring student progress across skills and grade-level standards through use of common benchmark assessments to inform and adjust instruction, and is using a differentiated plan of support across the district aligned to meet the specific needs of each school.
“I ask that our community join me in congratulating our students and our teachers on the hard work that they’ve put in. I look forward to continuously reviewing the data with our team, and to find more ways of improving upon these results,” said Dr. Bracy. “We know that our students and staff will continue to excel.”