Superintendent, school board chair address state accreditation ratings
Although the Mathews County School Board did not engage in an extended conversation about the recently released state accreditation ratings for 2014-2015, Superintendent of Schools David J. Holleran and school board chairman John Persinger did make brief comments on the matter during Tuesday night’s board meeting.
The Virginia Department of Education announced the ratings on Tuesday, with Lee-Jackson Elementary School receiving an “accredited with warning” status. Mathews County’s two other schools—Thomas Hunter Middle School and Mathews High School—again received full accreditation.
For a school to earn full accreditation, at least 75 percent of students must pass reading and writing SOL tests, and at least 70 percent must pass state assessments in mathematics, science and history. High schools must also meet a benchmark for graduation and completion.
Lee-Jackson missed full accreditation due to student performance on the English SOL tests. This year, the school had a 63 percent pass rate in English, and a three-year average of 72. Neither score was good enough to meet the 75 percent accreditation benchmark. The elementary school did meet its objectives on the math, history and science SOLs.
Schools that are accredited with warning undergo academic reviews and are required to adopt and implement school improvement plans.
Holleran took aim at the increased rigor of the state’s Standards of Learning tests. “Look up the definition of rigor,” he said. Synonyms for the word, he said, include “undue hardship and cruelty.” The goal of increased rigor, he said, is to weed out all but the top students.