More Virginia schools meet state benchmarks this year

28 Oct 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

More Virginia Public Schools Earn Full Accreditation.

RICHMOND, Va. Eight in 10 Virginia schools met state benchmarks this year and 200 schools regained full accreditation, marking the first year of significant improvements since tougher standardized tests led to a slump in scores.

Six more Richmond Public Schools earned full accreditation than did a year ago, thanks to higher pass rates on the state’s Standards of Learning tests.NEWPORT NEWS — Three Newport News public schools — two elementary schools and one middle school — were denied accreditation Tuesday by the Virginia Department of Education.”While there have been changes in the state accountability program this year to recognize schools that are making progress, the benchmarks schools must meet to earn full accreditation have not been lowered,” Virginia Board of Education President Billy K. The categories include a range of new ratings, including: partially accredited: Improving (schools making progress toward meeting SOL criteria, as defined by state guidelines).

That means that of 13 schools statewide that failed to win accreditation — of 1,823 public schools in Virginia — nearly a quarter were in Newport News. Cannaday Jr. said, in a statement emailed Tuesday afternoon. “The new ratings allow the state to be more precise in supporting schools,” Superintendent of Public Instruction Steven R.

Staples said. “We are now able to differentiate schools that likely can make it doing what they are already doing from schools that clearly require more support from the state.” “I think its great news. More than 1,400, or 80 percent of all schools, are fully accredited for the 2015-2016 school year after meeting state benchmarks, Virginia’s Department of Education said.

Terry McAuliffe, speaking at the library of Alexandria’s Patrick Henry Elementary on Tuesday, called the improvements “a major milestone.” Patrick Henry was one of the 200 schools to regain full accreditation. “We now have 1,414 schools with full accreditation, which is a 10-point boost for us. Nineteen percent, or 347 schools, were partially or conditionally accredited; 13 schools were denied accreditation; and 49 schools’ status is still pending as their school systems appeal accreditation denials. Denied accreditation – A reconstituted school becomes denied if it fails to meet full accreditation standards within an agreed upon period, or fails to have its “partially accredited, reconstituted school” application renewed.

Both districts had a similar count of partially accredited schools; Henrico with 20 and Richmond with 17. “It’s very frustrating when you have a child that not on the level they should be on,” said Tiffany Hubbard, whose daughter attends Wilder Middle in Henrico. Wilder Middle was denied accreditation by the state for the second straight year, joining Richmond Alternative School, Amelia Street Special Education School, and Peabody Middle in Petersburg as the four schools in central Virginia which failed to gain accreditation.

To be deemed “fully accredited,” at least 75 percent of a school’s students must pass the standardized English tests, and at least 70 percent must pass math, science and history. Schools can be given partial accreditation for being close to those numbers or on the right path, but can be denied accreditation if they fail to attain the standards four years in a row. All elementary and high schools in the division also met federal standards of measurable growth – a sign that learning gaps are diminishing — something that had not happened in the past three years at all the high schools. “Like so many school divisions, our growth was due to the hard work of a lot of people – from our dedicated teachers and administrators who work far beyond contract hours, to the para-professionals and specialists that support our students and schools, to our Board for allocating the resources necessary to support our students and staff, and last but not least, to our hard-working students and supportive parents,” said Stephanie Guy, chief academic officer for YCSD.

The state began to see improvements across the board in test scores this year, as teachers and students became more accustomed to the new exams and after the state allowed some students to retake exams if they came close to passing. Jenks said that the county remains committed to the course of action publicly discussed last year to help schools reach full accreditation; provide additional funding, review data, provide instructional coach training, staff development initiatives, school by school training and provide additional leadership support.

The state makes slight adjustments based on the number of English language learners and also gives schools bonus points when a student who previously failed an exam passes it. Andrews PreK-8 School. “Our superintendent and appropriate staff members will go to the (Board of Education) meeting and answer any questions,” Hampton City Schools spokeswoman Diana Gulotta said of the upcoming appeal hearing.

In addition to the 5 percentage-point gains in reading and mathematics, student achievement increased in history and social studies (to 88 percent from 84), science (to 84 percent from 81) and writing (to 79 percent from 77). Six schools shrugged free of their warned status – Southampton Elementary, J.E.B Stuart Elementary, Franklin Military Academy, John Marshall High, George Wythe High and Huguenot High. Clemons said next year will be key as Page Middle School will be evaluated as three grades for the first time since 2011 – when a tornado damaged the old school forcing the students to be divided while a new school was built. Lynn Briggs, a schools spokeswoman, said there is no way to pinpoint what contributed to the drop, but it’s possible the staff focused too much on raising math scores. Hardy’s math scores went from 63 to 77 points this year. “I think that’s something they’re definitely looking at to see if there is a little bit of lack of focus on language arts last year, and did that perhaps impact those scores,” Briggs said.

Welch said the division implemented a literacy plan for kindergarten through eighth grade that formalized the programs the schools had in place and filled in the gaps where needed.

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