Four Mecklenburg schools fully accredited

The Virginia Department of Education released its accreditation ratings on Wednesday, noting that 81 percent of the state’s public schools are rated as Fully Accredited for 2016-17, a three-point improvement over the previous school year.

In Mecklenburg County, four of the eight public schools are Fully Accredited, including Park View High School, Bluestone High School, Clarksville Elementary and LaCrosse Elementary, after three (Park View High, Clarksville Elementary and LaCrosse Elementary) were Fully Accredited last school year and one (Bluestone High) was Fully Accredited in 2014-15.

“We are making progress,” first-year Superintendent of Schools Paul Nichols said.

Chase City Elementary School’s rating is Partially Accredited: Warned-School Pass Rate, while the ratings of three other schools, Bluestone Middle School, Park View Middle School and South Hill Elementary, are listed as To Be Determined.

According to a release from the state, the status of 145 schools at risk of being denied accreditation will be determined by the Board of Education later this year. Under Virginia’s accountability regulations, a school that has not earned full accreditation for three consecutive years and fails to meet state standards for a fourth consecutive year can apply for a rating of Partially Accredited: Reconstituted School if the local school board agrees to reconstitute the school’s leadership, staff, governance or student population, the release states.

Nichols said he does not believe Bluestone Middle School, Park View Middle School and South Hill Elementary will be denied accreditation when their accreditation ratings are determined. He said the division is working through the process with the state for establishing accreditation for these schools, for which he said scores in several subcategories such as minority students, poverty levels and special education are “on the bubble,” with three-year average, the direction in which a school is moving and statewide results also playing a role in determining their accreditation status.

Fully Accredited schools were able to meet the benchmark scores in 2015-16 SOL testing of 75 percent passing in English and 70 percent passing in Math, Science and History. High schools were also required to meet a benchmark of 85 percent in Graduation and Completion Index.

In the final state accreditation ratings report released Wednesday, Chase City Elementary is listed as having missed the benchmark in English with a 66 percent pass rate, for which it was warned. It met the benchmarks in the other areas including 76 percent in math, 79 percent in history and 72 percent in science.

In the accreditation ratings report, South Hill Elementary is listed as having missed the benchmark in English with a 70 percent pass rate, for which it was warned, while passing in math (89 percent), history (86 percent) and science (84 percent).

Meanwhile, Park View Middle and Bluestone Middle also missed the benchmark in English and were warned in the process. The pass rate in English for Park View Middle was 70 percent, while the pass rate for Bluestone Middle was 71 percent.

The two middle schools met the benchmarks in the other subjects, with Park View Middle passing 74 percent in math, 81 percent in history and 78 percent in science while Bluestone Middle passed 70 percent in math, 84 percent in history and 73 percent in science.

As for surrounding counties, one (Red Oak-Sturgeon Elementary) of the five Brunswick County Public Schools is Fully Accredited. Brunswick High School is Partially Accredited: Improving-School Pass Rate after missing the benchmark in math with a 55 percent pass rate, Russell Middle School is Partially Accredited: Warned-School Pass Rate after missing the benchmark in English with a 72 percent pass rate, Meherrin-Powellton Elementary is Partially Accredited: Warned-School Pass Rate after missing the benchmark in English (67 percent) and science (63 percent), and Totaro Elementary is To Be Determined after missing the benchmark in English (59 percent), math (57 percent) and science (25 percent).

Totaro Elementary has been deemed a Focus School, comprising 10 percent of Title I schools selected on the basis of achievement gaps. These schools must employ state-approved school improvement coaches and retain this designation for a minimum of two years.

In Halifax County, six of the nine public schools are Fully Accredited, including Clays Mill Elementary, Cluster Springs Elementary, Halifax County High School, Meadville Elementary, South Boston Elementary and Sydnor Jennings Elementary. Clays Mill Elementary is a Focus School, and Sinai Elementary is a Priority School, which comprises the lowest-performing 5 percent of Title I schools. Priority schools must engage a state-approved turnaround partner to help design and implement school-reform models that meet state and federal requirements.

In Lunenburg County, Central High School is only public school of the four in the division that is Fully Accredited. Kenbridge Elementary and Victoria Elementary are Focus Schools.

In Charlotte County, four of the five schools are Full Accredited, including Randolph-Henry High School, Central Middle School, Eureka Elementary and Phenix Elementary. Bacon District Elementary is To Be Determined and listed among the Focus Schools for 2016-17.

Statewide, 81 percent of Virginia’s 1,825 are Fully Accredited.

“I hope these results will encourage teachers, principals and other educators in all of our schools as they strive to help students meet Virginia’s high expectations for learning and achievement,” Superintendent of Public Instruction Steven R. Staples said.

Thus far, 29 schools in 11 divisions have been denied state accreditation for 2016-17 because of persistently low student achievement.