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School principal: “With dignity, we own our D”

Christy Slate, the principal of Silver Valley Elementary, sent this letter to policymakers and EdNC about her school’s letter grade.

Silver Valley Elementary is a “D.”

Silver Valley Elementary School Principal Christy Slate.
Silver Valley Elementary School Principal Christy Slate.

This is the grade we received from one small look at our school.  Eighty percent of this score comes from our proficiency on our End of Grade tests, which are grades 3-5 only.  Only 20 percent comes from the growth value we receive to show how much progress we make with our students.  

This does not take into account what happened last year in kindergarten, first, or second grades.  Nor does it look at the character we help our children build or the extra mile we go to see that students have what they need.  It doesn’t grade us on the relationships we build with our students or how happy we are when a student jumps a couple of reading levels.  

No, it doesn’t show that because even though we are growing our students, some are still behind.  The grade is comprised mostly from a number that comes from one point in time, one test at the end of the year.  One test that may happen on a bad day, or cause so much anxiety that no matter how much they know they can’t remember. 

BUT, Silver Valley GROWS together, and we are a “D.”

And we will own it and wear it proudly.

Our “D” means —

First Students
Students at Silver Valley Elementary School

Students are Discovering new things, and they are Delightful.

Teachers are Dedicated — they work late and come in early for no other reason than to help their students.

All of our staff is Devoted and Dependable to our school community.

I am Demanding that we do our best everyday.

With Dignity, we own our “D.”

And I Dare anyone to call us a failing school without walking our halls and seeing what we Do!

Silver Valley is a “D” —

We are Dynamic and Determined.

We have Desire to Do and are Diligent in Doing.

We Discover and Dazzle.

We are Driven and Disciplined.

So, yes, Silver Valley Elementary is a “D”, but Don’t count us out!



Christy B. Slate
Silver Valley Elementary


Alex Granados

Alex Granados was the senior reporter for EducationNC from December 2014-March 2023.