By Frances Hubbard, firstname.lastname@example.org
9:23 PM EDT, October 7, 2013
Only one school out of the four local divisions did not receive the Commonwealth's status of fully accredited based on the 2012-13 Standards of Learning (SOL) results recently released.
King William, New Kent, and West Point schools join 36 of Virginia's 132 school divisions to reach full accreditation, according to the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE).
King and Queen County's two elementary schools both achieved full accreditation, while the high school missed the mark in the subject of mathematics.
Central High School received a rating of "Accredited with Warning."
According to the VDOE, schools that are accredited with warning undergo academic reviews and are required to adopt and implement school improvement plans.
Schools with a warning in English and/or math are also required to adopt instructional programs that the VDOE claims are proven by research to be effective in raising achievement in these subjects.
"Again, I say that this is one measure of many measures of success," said King and Queen Superintendent of Schools Dr. Stanley Jones. "Overall the results are pretty good. We are not where we want to be, but we are making progress in that direction."
King and Queen County Public Schools
Central High School (CHS) is one of 395 schools in the Commonwealth accredited with a warning.
According to the 2013-14 results released September 20, CHS scored an 81 in English, a 63 in mathematics, a 75 in history, and a 72 in science.
CHS received a provisional rating for its graduation and completion index (GCI).
A GCI of at least 85 is required for full accreditation and CHS scored an 84.
According to the VDOE, high schools are eligible for a provisional rating until 2015-16. After that, the schools with a GCI of less than 85 will be accredited with warning and must undergo an academic review.
King and Queen Elementary School scored an 84 in English, 74 in math, 84 in history, and 83 in science.
Lawson-Marriott Elementary School received a 75 in English, 71 in math, an 80 in history, and a 76 science.
Dr. Stanley Jones said the school division is not only focusing on preparing its students academically, but socially as well.
Teaching a child to grow up to be a good citizen is just as good as a good test score, he explained.
But he is optimistic about the division's future academically.
"It won't happen over night," Stanley Jones said. "I think with the right leadership and support from the community, we will continue to get better."
King William County
All four of the county's schools have been dubbed fully accredited, a feat the division has continued to achieve for several years in a row.
"The work the administrators, teachers and staff do each year aligning the curriculum, mapping what is taught, and pacing instruction, as well as the time they take researching, learning and implementing effective instructional practices in their classrooms is making a difference for our students," said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Mark Jones.
According to the results, Acquinton Elementary School (AES) received an 83 in English, a 74 in math, a 91 in history, and an 85 in science.
Cool Spring Primary School inherits the scores of AES because the lower grade levels do not perform the SOL tests.
Hamilton-Holmes Middle School received a 76 in English, a 73 in math, an 86 in history, and an 82 in science.
King William High School earned an 88 in English, a 70 in math, an 84 in history, and an 88 in science. The school scored a 96 percent GCI.
"This is a cyclical process that repeats itself each year," Mark Jones said. "This year there is a heightened emphasis being placed on the curriculum and instructional work related to the new Standards of Learning."
New Kent County
All four of New Kent County's schools were also fully accredited.
"With only 36 divisions with all schools fully accredited out of 132 divisions in Virginia this ranks New Kent Schools in the top 25 percent in the Commonwealth," said Superintendent of New Kent Schools Dr. Robert Richardson. "I could not be prouder of all of our principals, teachers, support staff, and students and their families for all the commitment and hard work which made this very significant accomplishment possible."
According to the results, George Watkins Elementary School received an 81 in English, a 74 in math, an 87 in history, and an 80 in science.
New Kent Elementary School earned an 82 in English, an 81 in math, a 90 in history, and an 84 in science.
New Kent Middle School received an 85 in English, a 74 in math, and 86 in history, and an 80 in science.
New Kent High School earned an 89 in English, a 77 in math, an 89 in history, and an 88 in science. The school scored a 94 percent GCI.
"On behalf of the School Board and administration we appreciate the trust that our New Kent families place in us by supporting our schools, and we believe that our performance reflects our commitment to a top tier education for all of our students," Richardson added.
West Point Public Schools
Once again, all three of West Point Schools were fully accredited.
"We are pleased that West Point's students met the academic challenges as set forth by the Virginia Department of Education," Dr. Jeffrey Smith, superintendent of West Point schools, said. "We continue to expect students to not only meet but to exceed the state's Standards of Learning."
According to the results, West Point Elementary School scored an 82 in English, an 86 in math, a 95 in history, and a 92 in science.
West Point Middle Schools earned an 83 in English, an 84 in math, an 88 in history, and a 91 in science.
West Point High School received a 96 in English, a 95 in math, a 97 in history, and a 99 in science. The school scored a 96 percent GCI.
"Even with more rigorous standards and assessments, West Point had the highest pass rate in the Commonwealth for seven tests which included biology (100%), high school reading (99%), algebra II (95%), chemistry (100%), earth science (98%), grade 4 reading (93%) and geography (100%)," Smith said.
"We attribute our student success to the ongoing emphasis placed on curriculum development, alignment and instructional delivery. The efforts of the students, staff and parents, as well as the continuous support of the community, have once again led to all schools achieving state accreditation."
A total of 77 percent of Virginia's 1,828 schools are fully accredited. The 2013-14 number is down significantly from last year's results of 93 percent.
The number of schools accredited with a warning nearly quadrupled this year and six schools have been denied accreditation because of chronically low achievement.
"Over the last five years, the accreditation bar has been raised through the introduction of more rigorous curriculum standards and challenging new assessments that test students' problem-solving and critical-thinking skills as well as their content knowledge," Superintendent of Public Instruction Patricia I. Wright said. "In addition, the benchmark pass rates required for full accreditation have increased, and high schools must meet goals for improving graduation rates."
More information on accreditation ratings are available at the VDOE website at http://www.doe.virginia.gov.
Hubbard can be reached by phone at 804-885-0042
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