NEWS RELEASES 2012-13 :: AUGUST 2, 2012


According to data presented as a part of the final North Carolina ABCs school accountability report, the percentage of end-of-grade and end-of-course test scores at or above the proficient level in Halifax County Schools has improved by an average of nearly 10 percentage points since 2008-09. The district's high school graduation rates also have improved by an average of 20.7 percentage points over the past four years. The report was approved by the North Carolina State Board of Education at its meeting in Raleigh today.

In May 2009, Wake County Superior Court Judge Howard Manning approved a consent order between the Halifax County Board of Education, the N.C. Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI) and the State Board of Education to implement an intervention plan for teachers, administrators and elected officials to raise academic achievement and ensure all students in the Halifax County Schools receive a Leandro-compliant "sound basic education." The NCDPI has since provided teacher and administrator coaches, training and other support to help the district improve student achievement.

"This remarkable turnaround in student performance and graduation rates reflects a positive shift in school culture that has happened in classrooms across Halifax County over the past few years," said State Superintendent June Atkinson. "We are proud of the teachers, school leaders and students for renewing their focus and working hand-in-hand with the NCDPI team to make sure their tireless efforts pay off. Today's news shows that a state-local partnership can benefit schools and students."

Among all schools in the district, the two high schools saw the largest improvement in test scores over the past four years. The percentage of end-of-course test scores at the proficient level or above at Northwest High School jumped 23.9 points since 2008-09 (from 36.1 to 60 percent) while the percentage of proficient scores at Southeast Halifax High School grew 40.5 points (from 28.4 to 68.9 percent). The four- year cohort graduation rate also increased at these schools by 16.1 points and 19.2 points, respectively. These significant improvements enabled both high schools to move off of the state's low-performing schools' list.

"The outstanding progress these schools have made would not have been possible without the cooperation of Halifax County's local school board and district leaders," said State Board of Education Chairman Bill Harrison. "We look forward to continuing our positive working relationship with Halifax County Schools and are hopeful that we will see more good results from this district in the future."

The State Board of Education and the NCDPI will continue to work with the Halifax County Schools until student achievement in all schools is Leandro compliant. Halifax County Schools will also be a part of school turnaround efforts in North Carolina's Race to the Top READY initiative, which will run through the 2013-14 school year. To see more results from the state's final ABCs school accountability report, visit

About the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction:
The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction provides leadership to 115 local public school districts and 160 charter schools serving over 1.5 million students in kindergarten through high school graduation. The agency is responsible for all aspects of the state's public school system and works under the direction of the North Carolina State Board of Education.

For more information:
NCDPI Communication and Information Division, 919.807.3450.