Welcome to McDowell County Schools
The McDowell County School System is located in the foothills of beautiful Western North Carolina, about 30 miles east of Asheville. McDowell County Schools consist of 13 schools (one high school, one early college, one alternative education center, two middle/junior high schools, eight elementary schools) and nine pre-school sites. The school system has approximately 6,500 students, nearly 1,000 employees, and around a $55 million budget.
The mission of McDowell County Schools is to provide quality education in a safe and supportive environment where we respect students' individual and cultural differences, develop their talents in partnership with family and community, and ensure that they possess the life skills necessary for personal successes and civic responsibility.
Serv Safe Food Handler Exam
Cristen Clark's Culinary 2 students passed their Serv Safe Food Handler Exam. There are many states/counties/cities that require a food handler permit to work in the food service industry.
The program covers five key areas:
Basic Food Safety
Cross-contamination & Allergens
Time & Temperature
Cleaning & Sanitation
Nebo Science Night
Nebo Elementary participated in the 2014 North Carolina Science Festival, in which schools throughout North Carolina host family events to actively engage students and their caregivers in science activities.
This year there were 160 schools that applied to receive a free festival kit; 75 of which were chosen. Nebo held its event on Thursday, March 20th with over 250 participants. During the Science Festival Night, families rotated through 13 hands-on stations that were guided by the classroom and support teachers & staff. Throughout the evening, students and teachers won door prizes such as a bird feeder with seed, a space movie, a science book for classroom use, binoculars, even the festival mascot, Robbie the Robot.
These family science events are funded by an anonymous donor, who asked that the Festival name these events in honor of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s chancellor. The events began as Thorp Science Nights in 2012 and 2013. For 2014, the events will be recognized as Folt Science Nights in honor of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s newly-installed Chancellor Carol Folt.
Mark R. Garrett Named Superintendent
During open session in this evening's (3/27/14) special called meeting, the Board of Education, via both resolution and vote, elected Mark R. Garrett as the Superintendent for McDowell County Schools. The new appointment is effective immediately.
Statement for Parents on State Test Scores
On November 7, the North Carolina State Board of Education will release student test data from the 2012-2013 school year. These test results are from testing completed in May and June of 2013. This release is almost six months after students in McDowell County and across the state completed testing. This test data reflects a major change in North Carolina’s accountability measures. The data is based on the new North Carolina Standard Course of Study in Reading and Math. The tests were developed by the state to be used for just two years until the planned transition to the Smarter Balanced assessments, which will be given by multiple states beginning in 2014-15. The results are also reflective of new achievement standards that are much higher than on prior EOG and EOC exams, as well as different item-types and questions that included higher order thinking skills. As a result, scores across North Carolina have fallen tremendously from those in previous years. Depending on the grade level, the percentage of students scoring as proficient dropped 16-25 percent in reading, 27-44 percent in math, and 9-33 percent in science statewide.
Some points to consider when examining this year’s test scores:
• North Carolina public school students are now required to meet a higher standard of proficiency on their End-of-Grade (EOG) and End-of-Course (EOC) tests.
• In the past, proficiency standards only addressed what students needed for success at the next grade level. The new proficiency standards address how ready students are for college and careers, and whether students are on track to be ready by high school graduation.
• Whenever new standards are set, test score results indicate a drop at first.
• It is important to note that students continued to grow academically in 2012-13, even though the tougher achievement standards will show fewer students meeting the standard. These new scores simply mean that we are expecting students to reach higher levels of learning than ever before.
• North Carolina has experienced decreases in proficiency levels when new standards have been set, at least twice before in the last two decades.
• Just as in the high jump, when an athlete clears the bar, it must be raised. The athlete will miss the bar the first few tries, but will eventually clear the higher bar, and it will be raised again.
• Properly aligned assessments give everyone a clearer picture of how well students are prepared to enter college and the work force. We must have this picture in order to support student learning and improvement and to support teachers.
• It is extremely important to note that in this transition year, these scores will NOT affect students’ grades or current placement. The 2012-13 scores are a baseline for the new assessments and the state’s new accountability model.
• It is ineffectual to compare this year’s scores with last year’s scores as apples to apples. The tests administered in 2012-13 were different. They measured NEW content standards. These new scores have established a new baseline for proficiency.
• North Carolina is not alone in this transition. New York and Kentucky were the first two states to go through this, as they implemented their new assessments in 2011-12 and experienced similarly
dramatic drops last fall. Many states across the country will report similar results this fall, reflecting the adoption of more rigorous standards in many states.
For McDowell County, test results show students grew at rates comparable to state averages or slightly above state averages in reading and math in most grade levels, while science growth tends to be slightly above the state average in both 5th and 8th grade. Additional data shows that all across North Carolina and McDowell County student performance tends to reflect lower test scores. However, student growth from the 2011- 12 school year to the 2012-13 school year was consistent. Student growth is the result of the dedication and hard work taking place in every school. McDowell County Schools will remain focused on this growth to ensure students are prepared to move forward with success, regardless of what they choose to pursue.
As the Interim Superintendent, I understand the importance of providing a quality education for every student. This district is not satisfied with the current status and stands committed to improve all aspects of McDowell County Schools. This can be accomplished by partnering together with students, their families, the community, and our staff. If all work together with a common focus, students will benefit.
Thank you for supporting McDowell County Schools.
Mark R. Garrett