Burke County Public Schools ranks 21st on the Niche list of 2017 Best School Districts in North Carolina. The rating comes from k12.niche.com website and is based on reviews from students and parents as well as test scores, college readiness factors and teacher quality.
The website gives Burke County Public Schools As and Bs for teachers, academics, health and safety, facilities, extracurricular activities and diversity. Based on overall experience, students and parents give the school system a 3.9 on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being the highest.
Individually, all 25 mainstream schools in the district received either an A or B from the website. Niche explains the “ranking is based on rigorous analysis of academic and student life data from the U.S. Department of Education along with test scores, college data and ratings collected from millions of Niche users.”
“This website has figured out what we already know,” said Burke County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Larry Putnam, “and that is that Burke County Public Schools is a great place to learn, teach and grow. I am proud of our school district, which ranks right up there on this list in the top 25 in the state with districts such as Chapel-Hill Carrboro, Asheville City and Mooresville City. Our quality teachers and staff work hard to bring out the best in our students, and we have a supportive community backing us.”
Putnam pointed to the district’s 91.3 percent graduation rate (the highest in the state for medium-sized districts), new academic programs (such as agriculture, firefighting and welding), the opening of the STEAM Academy, the focus on technology (devices, 3D printers, robotics and drones) and recent state athletic championships as just a few reasons for Burke County Public Schools’ success.
“We can’t take the credit for this alone,” Putnam said. “We have great partnerships in Burke County with the Burke County Board of Commissioners, Burke Development Inc., the Burke County Chamber of Commerce, Western Piedmont Community College and Carolinas HealthCare System Blue Ridge, just to name a few. There are many folks in these organizations and others who come together and work behind the scenes to help provide the best opportunities for our students and their future.”
The No. 21 state ranking is out of 115 school districts. The website also ranks Burke County Public Schools 24th on the Best Places to Teach list and 25th on the Safest School Districts list.