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01-01-14-cc-schools-logo.gif2013 was a banner year for the Cumberland County Schools system. Not only was the Cumberland County Schools system a Ԁnalist for the 2013 Broad Prize for Urban Education, the system received full accreditation and student test results are rising rapidly. Keeping pace in a technology-driven world, CCS introduced its new app and rolled out the Home Base Parent Portal.

The 2013 Broad Prize for Urban Education comes with a $1 million prize and “honors a district that demonstrates the greatest overall performance and improvement in student achievement while reducing achievement gaps among ethnic groups and between social economic groups.” There is no nomination or application process. An institution’s performance is what decides which schools are considered for this prize.

Being a Broad prize Ԁnalist marks CCS as a leader among our nation’s school systems, and acknowledges all the hard work that staff and teachers do in educating students every day. One of the impressive things about being considered for the Broad award is that there is no nomination or application process. An institution’s performance is what decides which schools are considered for this prize. The committee considered 73 items from CCS during the review. Cumberland County Schools were selected because 92 percent of the system’s schools achieved “at least expected growth and 67 percent of the schools achieved high growth. Except for one test in one grade level, CCS “made at least expected growth on every End-of- Course and End-of Grade test administered by the state. The county and all our high schools exceeded 80 percent and surpassed the state average,” according to the CCS website.

The school system is accredited by the AdvancED Accreditation Commission. This commission confers the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Council on Accreditation and School Improvement (SACS CASI) accreditation seal. The accreditation is an indicator that CCS is a quality school system. During the accreditation process the commission considered the following standards: purpose and direction, governance and leadership, teaching and assessing, resources and supports systems and using results for continuous improvement. The accreditation is good for Ԁve years.CCS serves a diverse student population (44 counties and 70 different native languages) and continues to close the achievement gap among all the racial groups. In 2009, the End of Course gap between black and white students was 23.8 percent. In 2012, it was 15.6 percent. The state average is 20.4 percent. The school system is on a high growth track and based on information from the 2011-2012 school year, CCS has no priority or low-performing schools and 11 schools were named N.C. Schools of Excellence and 27 were named Schools of Distinction.

The graduation rate for Cumberland County exceeded the state graduation rate in 2011/2012, and CCS students were awarded more than $40 million in scholarships for the same school year. This year, more than 80 percent of local high school students graduated and they were collectively offered more than $48 million in scholarships.

Results like this don’t just happen. There are committed teachers and administrators spending countless hours working to help prepare student students to be competitive in a fast-paced and technology driven world. While offering students every opportunity to succeed, the hectic world that we live in makes it challenging for parents and guardians to keep up with the details of busy schedules. That is why CCS has developed a mobile phone app that will let busy parents stay up to date with CCS announcements and activities as well as follow their student’s progress.

Find out more about the Cumberland County Schools system and the many programs it offers to help students succeed at ccs.k12.nc.us/departments.STEPHANIE CRIDER, Editor COM-MENTS? Editor@upandcomingweekly.com.

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