Six out of nine Orange County Public Schools received full state accreditation and three received accreditation with warnings, according to results released by the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE).
Accreditation is the annual Virginia accountability rating based on student performance. This is the first time since the school year 2007-2008, the number of Orange County schools meeting state accreditation has declined. Similar results have been seen statewide. VDOE said the decline is “a consequence of the growing impact of more rigorous reading, writing, science and mathematics Standards of Learning (SOL) tests introduced since 2011.”
Lightfoot Elementary and Unionville Elementary did not meet the state’s minimum pass rate in math, giving them an accreditation warning. Prospect Heights Middle School received a warning in reading. Schools with warnings must develop improvement plans. Statewide, 545 schools were rated as accredited with warnings, a 152 school increase since last year. If a school receives accreditation with warnings for three consecutive years, the fourth year its accreditation is denied. When accreditation gets denied, the school is subject to corrective action agreed upon by the Board of Education and the local school board.
Orange County teachers and staff developed plans of improvement after analyzing test results this summer and examining curriculum and instruction. Director of elementary instruction Bill Berry said school administrators are working to provide intensive support to the schools that received warnings through the division’s tiered improvement system.
“We have reviewed and revised the mathematics curriculum framework and assessments,” said Berry. “In addition, we are providing support to the schools in the areas of reading and comprehension.”
The division-wide tiered plan of support includes: focused support of math specialists in areas of identified needs; concentrated focus on vocabulary and reading comprehension; collaboration with division literacy specialists to identify other reading interventions; and collaborations with instructional personnel statewide to identify and implement additional math interventions and systems of progress monitoring.
Orange County school board vice-chairman Sherrie Page said she is very happy with the divisions test results.
“Recently, principals and staff presented the board with their plans to address the decline in scores specifically at the three schools but across the division as well,” she said. “The public can be assured that if their child is being educated in Orange County Public Schools, the teachers, staff and the school board are committed to providing the best education possible.”