September 30, 2011
By DEBBIE HALL - Bulletin Staff Writer
All the public schools in Henry and Patrick counties and Martinsville were among the 1,838 public schools in Virginia fully accredited under the Standards of Learning, according to information released Thursday by the state Department of Education.
Statewide, 96 percent of the public schools met all of Virginia’s standards in English, math, history and science and graduation, according to a release from DOE.
“This is a big wow for us,” said David Martin, acting superintendent of Henry County Schools.
All the county schools previously were accredited, and school officials presented accreditation banners to each one during the convocation at the start of this school year, he said. The achievement announcement Thursday marked the seventh or eighth year of accreditation for many county schools, Martin said.
“Each of the schools has been heavily involved in the school improvement process for a number of years,” he said. “Each of the schools, each of our teachers and staff are reviewing student data to see what needs to happen to make students successful.
“Certainly from my observation, there are lots of discussions about student data and how to make students successful, not just pass the tests,” Martin said. “I am excited for the schools. I think our staff is just seeing the results of a lot of hard work, and the recognition” for their efforts.
Statewide, 98 percent of elementary schools and 97 percent of middle schools are fully accredited for the 2011-2012 school year, based on the performance of students on Standards of Learning (SOL) and other state assessments in 2010-2011.
In the Martinsville schools, Kim Barto, community outreach and grants coordinator, said, “We are pleased that all our schools continue to be fully accredited. It is a tribute to the hard work and dedication of our teachers, staff, kids, parents and administrators. We will continue to strive for rigor and high standards for all students.”
Patrick County Schools Superintendent Roger Morris also praised his system’s accomplishment.
“It was really good to see our high school graduation rate of 95 percent,” Morris said. “We blew that one out of the water.”
High schools must have a graduation and completion index of at least 85 for full accreditation, the DOE reported.
“The fact that 86 percent of high schools already meet or exceed the standard for graduation and completion speaks to the efforts of educators and administrators to raise graduation rates,” state Superintendent of Public Instruction Patricia I. Wright said.
Morris said most Patrick schools have been accredited every year the SOLs have been in existence, around the late 1990s, but he is unsure how the schools will fare in future years because of proposed changes in SOL testing.
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