Every Chesterfield County school is accredited

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Every school within Chesterfield County Public Schools is accredited for the 2014-15 school year, according to information released by the Virginia Department of Education. The school division is one of the largest in Virginia with no schools denied accreditation.

The Virginia Department of Education establishes accreditation each year based on student achievement on Standards of Learning tests taken during the previous school year. Over the past three years, the Virginia Department of Education has revised Virginia’s Standards of Learning to raise expectations and promote college and career readiness. This means that English, math, history and science SOL tests have become much more challenging. While scores have dropped across the state during these transition years, Chesterfield students continue to generally outperform Virginia students as a whole. Chesterfield County Public Schools surpassed state averages in 28 SOL testing categories and was within 1 point of the state average on nine other tests taken in the previous school year.

As a result, 46 of Chesterfield County’s 61 comprehensive schools are fully accredited for the 2014-15 school year. The remaining 15 schools are among the more than 500 schools in Virginia accredited with warning. There are no penalties for this label, which doesn’t take into account the overall progress Chesterfield County Public Schools students have made.

“The Chesterfield model is working,” Superintendent Marcus Newsome said. “Using blended learning, project-based learning and service learning, our teachers are engaging students in a rigorous curriculum while building their abilities to solve problems, work cooperatively and use technology.

“As I’ve stated in the past, parents have high expectations for their children and Chesterfield County Public Schools has high expectations for all students. Test scores are just one indicator of how well your child is doing in school, so please consider these scores along with all other available information,” Newsome continued. “Our focus this year continues to be on providing rigorous and relevant learning experiences for students, so that students develop the competence to think in complex ways and apply their knowledge and skills to solve problems and create solutions.

These 46 Chesterfield County schools are fully accredited for 2014-15:

  • elementary schools — Bellwood, Bensley, Beulah, Bon Air, Chalkley, Clover Hill, Crestwood, Curtis, Ecoff, Enon, Evergreen, Gates, Gordon, Grange Hall, Greenfield, Hening, Jacobs Road, Matoaca, Providence, Reams Road, Robious, Elizabeth Scott, Alberta Smith, Spring Run, Swift Creek, Watkins, Bettie Weaver, Wells, Winterpock and Woolridge
  • middle schools — Bailey Bridge, Elizabeth Davis, Manchester, Matoaca, Midlothian, Robious, Swift Creek and Tomahawk Creek
  • high schools — Chesterfield Community, Cosby, Thomas Dale, James River, Manchester, Matoaca, Midlothian and Monacan

These 15 schools are accredited with warning:

  • elementary schools — Marguerite Christian, Crenshaw, Davis, Ettrick, Falling Creek, Harrowgate, Hopkins and Salem Church
  • middle schools — Carver, Falling Creek, Providence and Salem Church
  • high schools — Bird, Clover Hill and Meadowbrook

“Having one-quarter of our schools accredited with warning means there is work to do,” Dr. Newsome said. “But many scores from those 15 schools already show progress. For example, Marguerite Christian Elementary School’s math SOL score rose 7 points. That shows significant effort and achievement in just one year.”

Chesterfield County Public Schools will send additional support to schools that are not fully accredited. Differentiated support will be provided from safety net and algebra readiness funding. Other steps include

  • The schools will undergo academic reviews and complete three-year improvement plans that will include research-based strategies for core instruction and intensive instruction for students who are falling behind.
  • Reading coaches and math coaches will be assigned as needed.
  • Leadership teams will meet monthly to monitor student progress.

The Virginia Department of Education website (www.doe.virginia.gov) provides accreditation and SOL information for every school in Virginia. Information to help parents understand SOL changes is available here: www.doe.virginia.gov/testing/index.shtml.