More lo­cal schools earn full ac­cred­i­ta­tion

2 in Peters­burg, 1 in Hopewell re­ceive denials this year

The Progress-Index - - FRONT PAGE - Staff Re­port

PETERS­BURG — The num­ber of fully ac­cred­ited schools in the Tri-Cities has in­creased for the sec­ond year in a row, but the num­ber that were de­nied ac­cred­i­ta­tion also rose slightly, ac­cord­ing to a re­port re­leased Wed­nes­day by the Vir­ginia Depart­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion.

A to­tal of 81 out of the 92 schools in the re­gion are rated fully ac­cred­ited this year, based on stu­dents’ per­for­mance on Stan­dards of Learn­ing tests taken dur­ing the 2016-17 school year. Last year, 78 schools achieved fully ac­cred­ited rat­ings.

At the other end of the scale, three schools — Harry E. James Ele­men­tary in Hopewell and J.E.B. Stu­art Ele­men­tary and Ver­non Johns Mid­dle in Peters­burg — re­ceived rat­ings of ac­cred­i­ta­tion de­nied. This is the 12th year in a row that

Ver­non Johns has been de­nied ac­cred­i­ta­tion.

Two school sys­tems — Colo­nial Heights and Din­wid­die County —were among 65 statewide that re­ceived full ac­cred­i­ta­tion for all of their schools. Two oth­ers —Ch­ester­field County and Prince Ge­orge County — missed that mark by just one school. In Ch­ester­field, Fall­ing Creek Mid­dle is await­ing fi­nal de­ter­mi­na­tion of its rat­ing, while in Prince Ge­orge, N.B. Cle­ments Ju­nior High is rated par­tially ac­cred­ited for ap­proach­ing the state bench­mark for pass rates.

Three schools in the re­gion that were de­nied ac­cred­i­ta­tion last year re­ceived full ac­cred­i­ta­tion this year: Et­trick Ele­men­tary in Ch­ester­field, Din­wid­die County Mid­dle in Din­wid­die and Pa­trick Copeland Ele­men­tary in Hopewell.

“We’re ex­cited to see that the ad­di­tional sup­ports we put into place at Et­trick Ele­men­tary re­sulted in strong aca­demic gains and full ac­cred­i­ta­tion for the first time in five years,” said Ma­toaca Dis­trict School Board rep­re­sen­ta­tive Rob Thomp­son in a press re­lease. “The

sup­ports put in place to sup­port Et­trick stu­dents and staff mem­bers will prove to be a model for dif­fer­en­ti­at­ing re­sources.”

“We cel­e­brate the con­tin­ued growth we see at our schools in terms of stu­dent achieve­ment and Stan­dards of Learn­ing pass rates, and we re­main com­mit­ted to achiev­ing 100 per­cent full ac­cred­i­ta­tion,” said Ch­ester­field School Board Chair­man Javaid Sid­diqi. “While we ex­pect our schools to be more and to pro­vide in­no­va­tive and rel­e­vant learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ences that move be­yond teach­ing to a test, we ap­pre­ci­ate all of the blood, sweat and tears that went into re­turn­ing closer to 100 per­cent full ac­cred­i­ta­tion.”

Ac­cord­ing to the Depart­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion, for a school to earn full ac­cred­i­ta­tion, stu­dents must achieve ad­justed pass rates of at least 75 per­cent in English and at least 70 per­cent on as­sess­ments in math­e­mat­ics, science and his­tory. High schools must also meet a bench­mark for grad­u­a­tion and com­ple­tion. Ac­cred­i­ta­tion rat­ings may also re­flect an av­er­age of achieve­ment over sev­eral years.

Statewide, 1,573, or 86 per­cent, of Vir­ginia’s 1,823 pub­lic schools are rated fully ac­cred­ited for this school year, based on the per­for­mance of stu­dents on Stan­dards of Learn­ing and other stateap­proved as­sess­ments in English, math­e­mat­ics, science and his­tory dur­ing 2016-2017. This rep­re­sents a five-point im­prove­ment over last year, when 81 per­cent of schools earned the state’s top ac­count­abil­ity rat­ing.

“I con­grat­u­late the teach­ers, prin­ci­pals, sup­port staff and other ed­u­ca­tors in th­ese schools for their hard work and ded­i­ca­tion to help­ing stu­dents meet the com­mon­wealth’s high ex­pec­ta­tions for learn­ing and achieve­ment,” said Su­per­in­ten­dent of Pub­lic In­struc­tion Steven R. Sta­ples in a press re­lease. “I also want to thank and en­cour­age ed­u­ca­tors in schools that are mak­ing progress as they move closer to achiev­ing full ac­cred­i­ta­tion. As we be­gin the tran­si­tion to a new ac­count­abil­ity sys­tem that rec­og­nizes growth and in­cludes im­por­tant out­comes such as achieve­ment gaps and dropout rates, a com­mit­ment to con­tin­ued im­prove­ment in all schools will be vi­tal to our suc­cess.”

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