Falling Creek Middle, Ettrick Elementary receiving additional student supports; school division expects schools will be denied accreditation

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With new leadership at the school division level, the Chesterfield County School Board and Superintendent have refocused attention on academic performance at Falling Creek Middle School and Ettrick Elementary School this school year. In an effort to sustain and improve on current three-year trends that show student achievement growth, both schools have been provided with additional staffing and technology support in an effort to meet Virginia’s academic accountability benchmarks.

Both schools are expected to be denied accreditation by the Virginia Board of Education later this week. Falling Creek Middle and Ettrick Elementary have shown growth during the past three years; however, neither school has met the state’s requirements for full accreditation for four consecutive years.

“We are excited by the growth that both schools have shown in areas during the past three years and are disappointed that the growth has not resulted in full accreditation,” Chief Academic Officer Donna Dalton said. “As the school division works to develop a memorandum of understanding with the Virginia Board of Education, our central office instructional leaders and administrative leaders at both schools have already implemented a number of initiatives to support student learning and increased achievement.”

Falling Creek Middle School

“Using the three-year average that the Virginia Board of Education uses for accreditation, Falling Creek Middle’s student pass rates are trending upward with a 16-percentage point gain in history, 10-percentage point gain in science and 6-percentage point gains in English and mathematics during that timeframe,” said Dale District School Board member John Erbach, who represents Falling Creek Middle. “I am confident that the additional resources we have put into place will help our students, staff and leadership team experience success this year.”

These additional supports have been provided for the 2016-17 school year:

  • A dedicated math and science instructional specialist who supports teacher planning and works with targeted small groups of students with identified instructional needs
  • Additional special education and ESOL positions to increase opportunities for direct support and differentiation in instruction
  • A school-based data analyst to review student achievement performance
  • A universal screener so the data analyst and leadership team can better measure students’ current skill levels to better target instruction
  • A full-time substitute to provide consistent academic support when a teacher is out of the building

In addition, Falling Creek Middle continues to utilize a 21st Century Community Learning Center grant to provide academic, enrichment and recreational activities after school and during the summer for approximately 90-100 students.

Ettrick Elementary

“Ettrick Elementary has seen significant improvement in English during the last three years – improving from a 63 to 71 percent pass rate. Ettrick also has seen a 3-percentage point gain in history during that time and is 5 percentage points higher than the state benchmark in that particular category,” said Matoaca District School Board member Rob Thompson, who represents Ettrick Elementary. “With additional supports in place, our staff and leadership team should have the resources needed to help our students continue to grow and prepare for successful futures.”

To sustain growth in English and history while bolstering academic support in math and science, these additional supports have been provided for the 2016-17 school year:

  • Priority in screening potential candidates and hiring new teachers
  • An additional Title 1 math teacher and an additional reading teacher, giving the school a three-person leadership team in both math and reading
  • Two additional teaching positions, utilized in first and fourth grades to reduce class sizes
  • A part-time special education coordinator to assist with services for students with special needs
  • Chromebooks for each student in grades 3-5 to support anytime, anywhere learning and to provide students immediate access to academic and remediation programs without having to wait for a computer lab to become available
  • Shorter wait times for computer labs for students in grades K-2
  • A universal screener to allow the leadership team the opportunity to measure students’ current math skill levels to better target math instruction to support student growth
  • A full-time substitute to provide consistent academic support when a teacher is out of the building

In addition, Ettrick Elementary continues utilizing a 21st Century Community Learning Center grant to provide before- and after-school remediation and enrichment for approximately 120 students in grades 2-5.