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Removal of elementary school principal over test scores upsets some parents

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RICHMOND, Va. - Former G.H. Reid Elementary principal Vincent Darby was reassigned to be the assistant principal at Oak Grove Elementary after Richmond Public School Superintendent Dr. Dana Bedden recommended the move to the Richmond School Board.

The move came amid falling test scores for the  south Richmond school.

"I was just shattered," Darby, who just started his third year as principal, said.

"This was not Dr. Bedden saying you need to go, we need to remove you," school board member Kim Gray told Darby. "This is the state and federal government."

Richmond School Board member Mamie Taylor made a motion Monday night to reject Dr. Bedden's recommendation, however the majority of the board voted against that motion.

Reid Elementary entered priority status this school year, meaning it is one of the lowest performing schools in the state. Dr. Bedden said the school has also seen academic declines on the SOL tests with double-digit drops in some scores.

"If we decide to ignore what the state and federal government says, then we have to send their money back and that would harm a lot of students," Gray said.

Supporters showed up to Monday night's work session, hoping that the board would decide to keep Darby.

"Mr. Darby listened to me," parent Gladys Tucker said. "To my concerns, and helped advocate for my son to get where he is today."

Many parents, teachers, and students said Dr. Darby has helped increase overall morale at the school and increased outreach to parents since he started.

"Change is good in some instances, but with children we are giving them too much change and that causes them to fail," said one parent.

3 comments

  • Ron Melancon

    Another Principle taken out by teaching to a test. It’s not the teachers its the fact that we have broken homes and parents who are not responsible. They do not help the teachers at home

    • Kareem Shabazz

      i agree with the first part if your statement. but not the second part. this school is in a middle class neighborhood. the other schools in that area are doing fell well on their test scores. I’m not saying that the principle needed to go, but that is what happens when the test scores continue to not meet the mark.

  • Tom Hartman

    Sometimes a leader has to go when the team is not getting results, whether it is the leader’s fault or not. It goes with the territory of being a leader. Dr. Bedden and the school board did the right thing, unpleasant though it was. Mr. Darby surely must be heartened by the warm support of his community. His days of leadership are far from over.

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