See how your child’s school rates now that SOL test results are back

Posted at 11:19 AM, Sep 16, 2014
and last updated 2014-09-16 17:44:33-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- For the second straight year, the percentage of schools in Virginia that met state accreditation standards has dropped, the Virginia Department of Education announced Tuesday. The state attributed the decline to harder reading, writing, science and math Standards of Learning (SOL) tests that were introduced in 2011.

[Click here to see how your school rates using the Virginia Department of Education's Report Card]

"The challenge now is to move beyond the temporary disappointment of an accreditation rating and work together — school divisions shoulder to shoulder with the department — to share best practices and implement the instructional strategies that will move our students toward college and career readiness," state Superintendent of Public Instruction Steven R. Staples said in a statement.

While 68 percent of Virginia's 1,827 public schools achieved Fully Accredited status for 2014-2015, the number of schools that were Accredited with Warning increased from 393 last year to 545 this year. Last year 77 percent of Virginia schools were rated as Fully Accredited. The year before, 93 percent earned Full Accreditation.

Four schools in Central Virginia were denied state accreditation because of "persistently low student achievement." Those schools are:

  • L. Douglas Wilder Middle School in Henrico County
  • Fred D. Thompson Middle School in the city of Richmond
  • Peabody Middle School in Petersburg
  • A.P. Hill Elementary School in Petersburg

"Schools denied accreditation are subject to corrective actions prescribed by the state Board of Education and affirmed through a memorandum of understanding with the local school board," the Virginia Department of Education advised.

Fourteen public schools across Virginia fall into a special category in which they were on academic warning for three straight years and failed to meet state standards for the fourth year. Those schools can apply for Conditional Accreditation.

In Central Virginia, those schools include:

  • Dinwiddie County Middle School in Dinwiddie County
  • Vernon Johns Junior High School in Petersburg
  • Armstrong High School in Richmond
  • George Wythe High School in Richmond
  • Thomas Boushall Middle School in Richmond

"Two Richmond high schools — Huguenot High and John Marshall High — are Provisionally Accredited for 2014-2015," according to the Virginia Department of Education. "These schools met all requirements in English, mathematics, science and history and came within two points of the graduation and completion benchmark required for full accreditation for high schools."

Central Virginia school districts that are fully accredited (other than new schools that automatically receive conditional accreditation) include:

  • Colonial Heights
  • Fluvanna County
  • Fredericksburg
  • Goochland County
  • King William County
  • New Kent County
  • Powhatan County
  • Williamsburg-James City County

Forty-six of Chesterfield County's 61 schools earned Full Accreditation. The remaining 15 schools were accredited with warning.

"The Chesterfield model is working," Chesterfield Superintendent Marcus Newsome said in a written statement. "Using blended learning, project-based learning and service learning, our teachers are engaging students in a rigorous curriculum while building their abilities to solve problems, work cooperatively and use technology."

He added test scores are just one indicator of how well a child is doing in school.

"Please consider these scores along with all other available information,” Newsome told parents. "Our focus this year continues to be on providing rigorous and relevant learning experiences for students, so that students develop the competence to think in complex ways and apply their knowledge and skills to solve problems and create solutions."

Before the release of today's results, Henrico County Schools warned parents that harder SOL tests resulted in less school achieving full accreditation.

"We know this information may raise a lot of questions, which is why it is important to communicate this information now, as openly and honestly as possible,” Henrico Superintendent Patrick Kinlaw wrote parents in an email. "While there is much work to be done, we are seeing movement in the right direction."

Twenty-eight Henrico schools were Accredited with Warning.

Priority schools — comprising the lowest-performing five percent of Title I schools — must engage a state-approved turnaround partner to help design and implement school-reform models that meet state and federal requirements. The Central Virginia schools identified as Priority schools for 2014-2015 are:

  • L. Douglas Wilder Middle School in Henrico County
  • Peabody Middle School in Petersburg
  • Binford Middle School in Richmond
  • Blackwell Elementary in Richmond
  • Elkhardt Middle in Richmond
  • Fred D. Thompson Middle in Richmond
  • G.H. Reid Elementary in Richmond
  • Ginter Park Elementary in Richmond
  • Henderson Middle in Richmond
  • John Marshall High in Richmond
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Middle in Richmond
  • Oak Grove/Bellemeade Elementary in Richmond
  • Richmond Alternative in Richmond
  • Woodville Elementary in Richmond

Focus schools - (comprising 10 percent of Title I schools selected on the basis of achievement gaps) must employ state-approved, school-improvement coaches. Focus schools retain their designation for a minimum of two years — unless they are subsequently identified as Priority schools or no longer receive federal Title I funding. The Central Virginia Focus schools for 2014-2015 are:

  • Marguerite F. Christian Elementary in Chesterfield County
  • Charles M. Johnson Elementary in Henrico County
  • Dumbarton Elementary in Henrico County
  • Lakeside Elementary in Henrico County
  • Lucille M. Brown Middle in Richmond
  • Overby-Sheppard Elementary in Richmond