RICHMOND, Va. – Schools across Virginia received accreditation this week by the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE), based upon results of the 2018-2019 school year.
Officials announced 92% of Virginia’s public schools are accredited for the 2019-2020 school year.
Schools become accredited by the state based off of a variety of factors, including:
- Overall proficiency and growth in English reading/writing achievement (including progress of English learners toward English-language proficiency)
- Overall proficiency and growth in mathematics
- Overall proficiency in science
- English achievement gaps among student groups
- Mathematics achievement gaps among student groups
In Central Virginia, all schools in Chesterfield and Hanover Counties were fully accredited.
For the fourth year in a row, Hanover students earned the highest pass rate in math among the 15 largest school divisions in the state.
“I am proud of our students’ continued hard work and high achievement,” said Dr. Michael B. Gill, Superintendent of Schools. Our teachers, faculty, and staff are true professionals who work tirelessly to establish authentic relationships and build trust with every student, and I am grateful for their dedication.”
In Richmond, 20 schools were fully accredited, 22 were accredited with conditions, and 2 schools were accredited pending review of alternative accreditation plan.
The data shows that two new Richmond schools picked up full accreditation status this year: Westover Hills Elementary and Miles Jones Elementary. However, one lost its full accreditation status: JL Francis.
The data for Miles Jones reflects some changes in the way the state accredits schools.
This is the second year under a new system where the state no longer just considers students who pass the SOL in various subjects, but also takes into consideration those that fail but show growth.
It also takes into consideration things like chronic absenteeism, academic achievement, achievement gaps, and student engagement and outcomes.
Even though fewer students than last year at Miles Jones passed the reading SOL and showed they could read at grade level, the school moved up from not fully accredited to accredited.
Superintendent Jason Kamras released a statement regarding the 2019-2020 School Accreditation Ratings.
“I'm pleased to report that we've increased from 19 accredited schools last year to 20 this year. We clearly still have a very long way to go to achieve our goal of 100% accreditation, but I'm confident that we're on our way. With time, investment, and faithful execution of our strategic plan – Dreams4RPS – there's nothing we can't achieve,” he wrote.
Kamras has promised full accreditation by 2023.
In Petersburg, Walnut Hill Elementary was the only school fully accredited. The remaining city public schools, Cool Spring Elementary, Lakemont Elementary, Pleasants Lane Elementary, Vernon Johns Middle, and Petersburg High were all accredited with Conditions
“We celebrate Walnut Hill achieving the top accreditation standard two years in a row. But we want every school to achieve the top standard,” said Dr. Maria Pitre-Martin, superintendent of Petersburg City Public Schools. “We have established expectations that we believe will lead to all schools being accredited a year from now. Petersburg schools are focusing on ‘Digging Deeper, Growing Higher’ in order to achieve the goals we have set.”
In Henrico County, 88 % of schools were fully accredited including all nine high schools. Glen Lea Elementary, Highland Springs Elementary, Laburnum Elementary, Brookland Middle, Elko Middle, Fairfield Middle, John Rolfe Middle, and L. Douglas Wilder Middle were accredited with conditions.
Six of the schools are located in the county's east end. None of them are in the west end.
“We couldn’t be prouder of the hard work and dedication of our students and staff members in making gains across a range of academic areas,” said Amy Cashwell, HCPS superintendent. “Academic growth doesn’t just happen. It takes all facets of a community working together. We are seeing the results of that hard work – by our staff members, our families, our School Board, and our citizens."
Overall, the state said the accreditation ratings highlight that schools are making progress reducing chronic absenteeism, but students didn't do as well on state reading tests, especially black and economically disadvantaged students.
To address the issue, more schools will receive state aid focused on achievement gaps in English.
For more information and details on school accreditation ratings, click here.