Roanoke city school leaders celebrate accreditation gains

Elias Hubbard
September 14, 2017

The Virginia Department of Education announced the accreditation status of all schools in the state on September 13, and the results are something of a mixed bag for the Shenandoah Valley.

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, according to the state education department.

In the 2016-2017 school year, 1,573 of Virginia's 1,823 public schools were rated as Fully Accredited - that comes out to about 86 percent.

"This is a significant accomplishment for Virginia's public schools, and one that is the result of tremendous diligence and hard work of our students, teachers, principals and division leaders over many years", Governor Terry McAuliffe said in a press release Wednesday. "I also want to thank and encourage educators in schools that are making progress as they move closer to achieving full accreditation". The figure is five-point improvement compared to the previous year, when 81 percent of state schools earned full accreditation.

To be fully accredited, elementary and middle schools must post pass rates of more than 70 percent each in math, science and history and 75 percent in English.

However, in addition to state accountability, there are also federal accountability designations based on SOL pass rates, which set requirements for the lowest-performing schools receiving Title I funding to support services for economically disadvantaged students.

However, the English score at Scottsburg Elementary reached 74 percent, one point shy of reaching the pass rate. High schools must also meet a benchmark for graduation and completion.

"These SOL results affirm what we, in our school division, have been emphasizing these past three years: the simple fact that every student - regardless of economic status, background or school - can achieve academic success", said Superintendent Dr. Aaron Spence in a July news release. This year, Hurt Park Elementary was singled out but still got partial accreditation.

Neabsco Elementary, fully accredited past year, was designated as partially accredited due to missing targets in science. We realize that SOL tests are one measure of student success, but those scores alone do not define our school division. PWCS is seeking to have Brewer's proven track record considered in the accreditation status, as Fred Lynn Middle School continues its journey toward improvement. "Pass rates only show whether a student has met a particular benchmark and do not indicate how much student growth has occurred. I agree wholeheartedly with that view and am pleased that changes are being implemented in Virginia's school accountability system that will take into account multiple measures of success and performance assessments".

Beverley Manor Middle's accreditation is to be determined after an application for reconstitution, 12 points of growth in Reading for the school's students and a plan for continued improvement. Last year, Kerr was conditionally accredited as a new school.

Daniel Morgan Intermediate School was conditionally accredited as a new school. DMIS is housed in the same building as Daniel Morgan Middle School, which serves grades 7 and 8.

"We have great teachers, excellent principals, and a very supportive central office staff", Bishop said.

The biggest implementation is splitting Daniel Morgan into a middle school and an intermediate school, which was approved earlier this year.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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