What teachers say helped all Petersburg schools receive accreditation

PETERSBURG, Va. -- For the first time in many years, all Petersburg schools are accredited by the Virginia Department of Education.

Two schools -- Walnut Hill Elementary and Cool Spring Elementary -- are fully accredited and four schools -- Lakemont Elementary, Pleasants Lane Elementary, Vernon Johns Middle and Petersburg High -- are accredited with conditions.

This new status comes after two years of making little changes that resulted in better test scores.

Petersburg High School

Petersburg High School

Teachers and administrators said technology has played a major role.

"Every student has their own computer," Kelly Tobe, the Director of Teaching and Learning, said. "We started that last year with grades fifth through 12th and this year added third and fourth."

Tobe also said another change is teachers getting a say in the curriculum for the first time.

The state also revised the system to focus less on overall rating and more on "School Quality Indicators," according to Charles Pyle of the State Board of Education.  These revisions began about four years ago and are the most significant changes to the program since it began in the late 1990s.

Ruth Anderson, a fifth grade teacher in Petersberg, said she is excited about the changes.

"Now that we have the momentum going, I can only see it getting better, students taking what we have and just continuing to grow," Anderson said.