PETERSBURG, Va. (WTVR)—Peabody Middle School in Petersburg was denied accreditation for the seventh consecutive year.
One day after the Virginia Department of Education released state school accreditation, the recently appointed Petersburg Superintendent Stanley Jones answered questions about a troubling revelation.
“Too long we’ve not done what we’ve needed to do, seven years we should have had a better outcome at that school,” Jones said.
Jones claimed the improvements at Peabody had started before he came to the district in July but quickly it’s become clear to him that Peabody must be his focus and top priority.
“When the report came out it added to the fact that we need to do some things differently,” he said.
Peabody was denied state accreditation for the past seven years because of a failure to meet standardized test requirements of the state. This year the school met the 70 percent passing standard in English and history but received on a 47 percent in math.
The school’s overall math score was at 58 percent in 2009 but has steadily gone down for the past two years. Some Peabody parents are dissatisfied with the school performance and believe the scores reflect the dysfunction that’s going on there.
Some Peabody parents say teachers focus on test scores instead of not making sure students understand the material.
“I’m surprised they were even able to get 47 percent,” Rhonnette Morris, a parent, said.
Morris believes her son’s teachers at the school focus too much on preparing for the tests and teach the students to memorize instead of actually understand the material.
“I’ve seen them and I’m like ok you need to learn the information, not memorize the practice test,” said Morris.
When asked why the past seven years have been so unsuccessful, Jones replied that he couldn’t know because he wasn’t here. He says he does know what will happen moving forward.
He claims students will be tested every two weeks for learning aptitude instead of every four and a half weeks.
Additionally, the standards for licensed teachers will become more strict, to encourage only highly qualified teachers to apply. Jones is confident he can change the numbers.
“Hopefully we can call you back sometime and say check this out, see what you think about this,” Jones said.