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Cheryl M. Shuffler
Public Relations Officer
Burke County Public Schools
(w) 438-2989 | (c) 432-6212

Burke County Board of Education

posted Sep 28, 2018, 2:03 PM by Melanie Honeycutt

The Burke County Board of Education will meet on Monday, October 1, 2018, at 6 pm.  The meeting will be held in the Olive Hill Room at the Olive Hill Resource Center, 509 West Concord Street Morganton, NC 28655.  The agenda is attached below.

Burke County Board of Education Public Notice

posted Sep 21, 2018, 12:32 PM by Melanie Honeycutt

The Burke County Board of Education will have a work session on Monday, September 24, 2018, at 6 pm.  The meeting will be held in Conference Room #10 at the Olive Hill Resource Center, 509 West Concord Street, Morganton North Carolina 28655.  The agenda is below.  This is a work session and "no action will be taken".

Supper program transitions to Mountain View

posted Sep 7, 2018, 6:54 AM by Cheryl Shuffler


Morganton, NC – Friday, Sept. 7, 2018


Mountain View Elementary School’s cafeteria will soon ring the bell for three meals a day. Burke County Public Schools and Chartwells has moved its Eat Well After the Bell supper program to Mountain View Elementary School, 805 Bouchelle St., Morganton, adding a late-afternoon/early-evening meal to its breakfast and lunch programs. The supper program is open to anyone in the community and is free to all children ages 3 to 18. The supper price is $3 for adults. The hot meal is served from 3 to 6 p.m. each week on school days starting Wednesday, Sept. 12. The program also includes a homework club and enrichment activities from 3:45 to 4:30 p.m. each day.


Eat Well After the Bell menu items include barbecue chicken, baked spaghetti and a pancake breakfast for supper, just to name a few. The program is federally funded through the USDA, and averaged 80 meals served at its previous locations.


Burke County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Larry Putnam said, “We are pleased to offer this additional meal to students and their families at our newest school. We are excited that the community has access to a good, healthy, hot supper. Parents don’t have to worry about cooking, and they can feed their children for free. It really is a relief on their pocketbooks and their time. We are grateful for our partnership with Chartwells to be able to take advantage of this opportunity through the USDA. Chartwells does a fantastic job serving students twice a day and now three times a day at our supper program location.”


Putnam added that the free supper is a great opportunity for faith-based organizations in the area who hold services on Wednesday evenings to take advantage of the program and visit Mountain View as a group for a meal.


Starting Monday, Sept. 17, the supper program also will be available at Walter Johnson Middle School.


Visit www.burke.k12.nc.us to view the monthly supper menu.

BCPS ranks No. 14 on list of best districts in state

posted Sep 6, 2018, 1:48 PM by Cheryl Shuffler


A national platform for researching schools, neighborhoods and companies has ranked Burke County Public Schools 14th on its list of best school districts in North Carolina. Niche.com released its new 2019 Best Schools ranking last month.


In its fifth year, Niche’s Best Schools rankings analyzed U.S. Department of Education data, supplemental data collected directly from more than 4,000 schools, and millions of student and parent reviews across factors such as academics, teachers and safety.


Niche.com gives Burke County Public Schools an A in diversity and Bs for academics, teachers, clubs and activities, administration, food, college prep, health and safety, sports and resources and facilities. Individually, 25 mainstream schools in the district received either an A or B from the website.


Reviewers on Niche.com praised Burke County Public Schools’ teachers and administrators, saying they are trustworthy, easy to talk to and helpful, and students feel prepared for the next level of their education.


Burke County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Larry Putnam said, “We are proud of our top 15 ranking on Niche.com, and we are in good company with great schools districts such as Chapel Hill-Carrboro, Wake and Asheville City. We will not rest on those laurels. As we are now in our second week of a brand new school year, and our principals have set high expectations for 2018-19. We have only good things ahead of us in year two of our district strategic plan, which centers on students. Our goal is to provide our students with a safe and supportive learning environment, where a world-class level of service and technology will allow us to remain a leader in our region, and competitive in our state and nation.”


The No. 14th state ranking for Burke County Public Schools is out of 116 school districts. The website also ranks Burke County Public Schools 22nd in the safest school districts category and 25th in the best teachers category.


Just a few highlights for the new school year include:

·      The opening of Mountain View Elementary School and the Global Immersion Academy.

·      The Burke County Public Schools internship program, which connects students with internships at local business and industry.

·      Breakfast on the Go in all elementary schools and Second Chance Breakfast at most all secondary schools, plus Universal Breakfast at all schools, which means breakfast is free for all students.

·      Continued committed to the safety and wellbeing of all students, staff and visitors on our school campuses and on our buses to and from school.  

·      Zero tolerance for bullying. Anyone can report an incident of bullying at: http://www.burke.k12.nc.us/parents/parents/bullying

More than a third of schools earn As and Bs in NC Accountability Reporting

posted Sep 5, 2018, 2:06 PM by Cheryl Shuffler

More than a third of North Carolina’s 2,537 public schools earned As and Bs for 2017-18 under the state’s annual School Performance Grade accountability measurement, with nearly three quarters meeting or exceeding expectations for academic progress. About 22 percent of the schools received a grade of D or F.


In Burke County, 12 schools received As and Bs and 11 received Cs. Other highlights include 14 out of 15 elementary schools met or exceeded growth, all four traditional high schools received a B letter grade, and among middle schools, Walter Johnson Middle had the highest growth in the district.


Statewide accountability results were released Wednesday to the State Board of Education along with the four-year Cohort Graduation Rate for the class of 2018. The four-year rate, tracking students who entered 9th grade in 2014, shows that 86.3 percent of the cohort graduated last school year.


Burke County’s graduation rate increased by 2.2 percentage points to 88.5. Burke Middle College once again had 100 percent graduation rate and East Burke High School had the highest rate of the four traditional high schools with a 93. 4 percent graduation rate. High school ACT scores in Burke County increased as well by 3 percentage points compared to last year with 65 percent of students making a 17 or higher on the ACT, which is an indicator of college readiness.


Burke County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Larry Putnam said, “The data the state released today help us measure all of the things we are doing right in our schools and areas in which we can improve. Behind the numbers are names and faces of our students and educators, and I am proud of everyone associated with our district. Others are recognizing it, too. Niche.com has moved us to No. 14 on list of best school districts in North Carolina out of more than 110 school systems in NC. Our district strategic plan centers around successful students and as educators we are committed to being diligent in our instructional plans and addressing the individual needs of all students. We also are collaborating outside the school walls. The economic development and growth that we are experiencing in Burke County is the result of open, ongoing, collaborative and constructive two-way communication among the schools, commissioners, mayors, businesses, industry, and community. I am beyond excited about this collaborative work and what it represents in terms of preparing every student for success beyond high school.”    


Because of changes to the state’s accountability measurements required under the federal Every Student Succeeds Act, school grades, growth results and graduation rates for the 2017-18 school year are not comparable to past performance during the five years the state has assessed schools using A-F letter grades and 13 years reporting the Cohort Graduation Rate. Schools are now accountable for the progress of non-English speaking students in mastering English skills and are also subject to a number of other changes affecting School Performance Grades, growth calculations and the graduation rate.


In terms of the performance of individual students on state end-of-grade and end-of-course exams, however, calculations for determining rates of Grade Level Proficiency (GLP) and College and Career Readiness (CCR) are unchanged from past years.


Statewide in 2017-18, students in grades 3-8 together continued to make steady gains in math performance, with 48.1 percent achieving the CCR standard (exam scores of level 4 or 5), up from 43.1 percent in 2013-14; and 56.1 percent meeting the GLP standard (scores of 3, 4 and 5), up from 51 percent in 2013-14. In reading, the percentage of students in all grades 3-8 achieving the CCR standard increased to 46 percent, up from 44.7 percent in 2013-14, and 57.3 percent meeting the GLP standard, down slightly from 57.5 percent in 2016-17.


By the performance of individual grades statewide, middle school students in 2017-18 generally gained in both reading and math, particularly seventh and eighth graders, while the performance of students in elementary grades was more mixed. Third graders saw an improvement on math exams, with higher percentages of students meeting the CCR and GLP standards, but their performance on reading exams was down on both standards from the previous year: 45 percent met the CCR standard, compared to 46.1 percent in 2016-17; 55.9 percent met the GLP standard, compared to 57.8 percent in 2016-17.


Among high school students, performance improved on the end-of-course exam in Biology, for both the CCR and GLP standards, but achievement rates for both standards dipped in English II and Math 1. State Superintendent Mark Johnson said that while last year was something of a reset year for measuring performance at the school level, student performance shows the state must continue to stress innovation and personalized learning to ensure continued progress.


“We know that students learn best when instruction is tailored to their needs,” Johnson said, “so we’re adjusting our supports for educators at the state level to help make that happen. Teachers are working hard and our state must transform our system to complement their efforts.”


Johnson said also that he was encouraged by a decline in the number of low-performing schools and districts from the previous year.


“The fact that fewer schools and districts are underperforming is positive news in this year’s accountability report,” Johnson said. “We thank teachers and school leaders for their hard work and hope that more effective support from DPI will continue to improve those numbers.”


Low-performing schools are identified annually as those that receive a School Performance Grade of D or F and do not exceed growth. Low-performing districts are districts where the majority of schools received a School Performance Grade and have been identified as low performing. For 2017-18, 476 schools were identified as low performing, down from 505 in 2016-17, and seven districts were low performing, down from 11 in 2016-17. The number of recurring low-performing schools fell from 468 in 2016-17 to 435 in 2017-18.


School grades continue to correlate closely with the poverty levels of schools. Among schools where more than 81 percent of students come from low-income families, 69 percent of the schools received a D or F; in schools with poverty rates between 61 and 80 percent, 45 percent of the schools received a D or F. Conversely, in schools with poverty rates less than 20 percent, only 1.7 percent of schools received a D or F; schools between 21 and 40 percent poverty, 3.6 percent received a D or F. Schools with lower levels of poverty are more likely to earn As and Bs.

The school grades are based primarily on overall proficiency rates on the state’s standardized end-of-grade tests, and to a lesser extent, the growth students make during the year, irrespective of performance level. Eighty percent of the grade is for the percentage of tests earning a score considered grade-level proficient; 20 percent is for growth, measured by a statistical model that compares each student’s predicted test score, based on past performance, against his or her actual result.


In terms of growth achieved by schools this past year, 27 percent exceeded expected growth, 45.7 percent of schools met their expected performance and 27.3 percent fell short of their expected result.


Also reported this year are data on the interim progress that North Carolina schools are making to reach long-term, 10-year goals, a new reporting requirement under the federal Every Student Succeeds Act. The state has overall goals tracking all students and individual groups of students broken out by race, ethnicity, poverty, language acquisition and learning disabilities. The goals reflect the percentage of students achieving College and Career Readiness (Academic Achievement Levels 4 and 5) on the end-of-grade and end-of-course assessments. The long-term goals are intended to reduce the achievement gap between high performing and low performing subgroups. Additionally, 10-year goals for the 4-year cohort graduation rate and English Learner progress were set.


Interim and long-term goals are also set for each school, with their expected progress –interim and long term – based on the state’s rate of improvement.


For the first year of interim goals, in 2017-18, two of 10 subgroups (including all students in all groups combined) met interim progress goals for grades 3-8 reading and math and for English II (10th grade reading). For Math 1 (counted as 11th grade math), all groups met their interim goals except black students, economically disadvantaged students and students with disabilities.


In terms of schools and counting the group that includes all students, 34.9 percent of elementary and middle schools met their interim goals in reading and 38.5 percent in math. Among the all students group in high schools, 29.1 percent met their interim goals for reading and 45.2 percent for math.


In addition to other changes required under the federal ESSA law, the state will also report School Performance Grades for each subgroup within a school when at least 30 students are counted within all tested grades or subjects. Subgroup grades will be reported to the State Board of Education at its Oct. 3 meeting.

Burke County Board of Education Meeting

posted Aug 17, 2018, 9:50 AM by Melanie Honeycutt

The Burke County Board of Education will meet on Monday, August 20, 2018, at 6 pm.  The meeting will be held in the Olive Hill Room at the Olive Hill Resource Center, 509 West Concord Street Morganton, NC 28655.

Smart helmets alert staff to hard hits on the gridiron

posted Aug 15, 2018, 12:52 PM by Cheryl Shuffler


Morganton, NC – Wednesday, Aug. 15, 2018


As Burke County high school football teams prepare for the upcoming season, coaches and trainers are using new technology to get inside players’ heads – or at least their helmets. All four football squads have received new Riddell helmets equipped with Riddell’s InSite Training Tool. The technology inside the helmets monitors hits to the head and alerts coaches and trainers to possible concussions.  


“These smart helmets have sensors that are wirelessly connected to sideline devices that let coaches and trainers know when a player takes a hard hit,” explained Burke County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Larry Putnam. “The player can come to the sidelines and get checked out before going back into the game. But, if it’s an extremely hard hit that the helmet measures, the player can get more attention on the sidelines and go through the concussion protocol procedures.”


The web-based, impact monitoring technology records nearly every head impact that occurs and builds data on players and the hits they take. The helmets are equipped with sensors on the front, top, sides and rear and record exactly where and how hard a player takes a hit to the head. That information goes to a national database to assist with studies on concussions but also gives local coaches an extra tool to help players with prevention techniques. Coaches can use the information to influence player behavior by helping correct the way they hold their heads. The technology also provides an extra set of eyes for when a coach or trainer may miss a hit.


Myron N. Stephens, Sports Medicine Manager for Carolinas HealthCare System Blue Ridge said, “We are excited that Burke County Public Schools is invested in the health and safety of our student-athletes. The new InSite technology sensors located within the football helmets give our team of athletic trainers another tool to use. The sensors detect the collisions, not that a player has sustained a concussion, that occurs during practices and games. If the collision is of the 95 percent of that players position (i.e. QB, Linebacker, etc.) it notifies our team of athletic trainers with an alert. This can be helpful, especially if we were not able to witness the collision. We look forward to the upcoming football season and seeing what this information may give us in regard to the health and safety of our student-athletes.”


Here’s what the head coaches are saying about the new helmets:

·       Draughn High football coach Chris Powell:

“Overall, the kids love them. They love how they fit and that they are light weight. We do use our monitors in practice and as a coach I love it. I can evaluate the impacts after practices and then use that to teach kids better ways to tackle, block, etc. It is a great teaching tool.”

·       East Burke High football coach Mark Buffamoyer:

“East Burke started preparing this summer for impact monitoring. Our trainer, Sara Woods, has done a tremendous job in implementing the technology. Our trainer had our players set up in July and did a trial run. East Burke monitors our players every day we wear a helmet. I think that anything we can do to make our players safe in a contact sport will only help enhance the game. Players continue to play as they always have. We tell them the commitment that East Burke High School and Burke County Public Schools have toward their safety. I think the game is as safe as it has ever been - helmets, coaching methods, not using head as a lead point to contact, etc. We as coaches need to educate our players’ parents more about the safety measures that are in place. The preservation of our game depends on it.”

·       Freedom High football coach Luke Little:

I think they are a great asset to have and will keep the kids safer.  If we had enough training staff, they would be used a lot more effectively.  It is hard for one person to deal with injuries, keep up with the heat and humidity and monitor a sensor device.  To be used to the fullest, we need more training staff.”

·       Patton High football coach Jonathan Browning:

“I think it is a good thing to have another tool to evaluate the amount of contact our players have from day to day and on any particular play. I'm anxious to see the monitoring system in action this week during our scrimmages. All the feedback I have heard from parents has been positive. I think it is reassuring to them to have a system that alerts coaches and trainers to high impact collisions.” 


Putnam said, “Because of this innovative technology, our players can practice and play smarter. The overall goal is to reduce blows to the head and in turn lower the risk of concussions and brain damage. This will not eliminate concussions but will help us better manage them. I would like to thank our school board for their insight and willingness to allow our teams to take advantage of this latest technology.” 

Burke County Board of Education Meeting

posted Aug 10, 2018, 1:22 PM by Melanie Honeycutt

Public Notice:  The Burke County Board of Education

will meet on    

Monday, August 13, 2018 at 6:00 PM.


Agenda and Notice are below.


Burke County Board of Education Meeting

posted Jun 22, 2018, 11:45 AM by Melanie Honeycutt

The Burke County Board of Education will meet on Tuesday, June 26, 2018 at 12:00 PM. The meeting will be held in the Olive Hill Room at the Olive Hill Resource Center, 509 West Concord Street, Morganton, North Carolina 28655. 

BCPS Class of 2018 secures more than $8 million in scholarships

posted Jun 19, 2018, 1:41 PM by Cheryl Shuffler

Burke County Public Schools graduated nearly 900 students this year. What’s next for the class of 2018 varies from a four-year college or university, a two-year community college, a certificate program, entering military service or going straight into the workforce. For those going on to continue their education, the class of 2018 in BCPS secured nearly $8.23 million in scholarship money before high school graduation.


Patton High School seniors received more than $2.1 million.

Draughn High School seniors received $2.04 million.

East Burke High School seniors received $1.97 million.

Freedom High School seniors received $1.59 million.

Burke Middle College seniors received $526,000.

Hallyburton Academy seniors received $2,500.


Burke County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Larry Putnam said, “This total blows me away. I am so proud of all of our graduates for taking that important walk across the stage and securing that precious high school diploma. I challenge all of our graduates to not stop there and to keep pursing an education and their dreams. For those going on to higher education, and for those who received scholarships to help pay for it, that is a total of $8.23 million less debt for those incoming freshman and their parents. This dollar amount is actually higher if you factor in training and benefits our graduates entering the military will receive for continuing education. I look forward to following all the greatness the class of 2018 will accomplish, and I wish them the very best as they begin their careers and embark on this next new journey.”

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