The overall number of fully accredited Henrico County schools rose to 48 this year, up from 45, according to updated 2016-17 accreditation information approved today by the Virginia Department of Education. Other schools can point to positive academic indicators such as improving SOL pass rates. Seven HCPS schools were denied accreditation by the Department. Despite the designation, each of the seven schools – Glen Lea, Montrose and Ratcliffe elementary schools, and Elko, Fairfield, John Rolfe and L. Douglas Wilder middle schools – can point to indicators of progress:
- At Montrose, pass rates in science jumped 14 percentage points, from 60 to 74 percent.
- Glen Lea met accreditation standards for social studies and science.
- Students at Ratcliffe saw language arts pass-rates rise.
- At Wilder, pass rates in science rose 12 percentage points, and the school is now home to a new achievement center from the group Higher Achievement. The group’s centers use community involvement, year-round learning, mentoring, homework coaching, field trips and college visits to create a culture of high expectations.
- Fairfield Middle School exceeded accreditation benchmarks in social studies and science. The school also saw four-year highs in reading pass-rates among sixth- and seventh-graders and in earth science pass-rates among eighth-graders.
- Elko Middle School’s science pass-rates jumped 9 percentage points and social studies rose 7 percentage points.
- At John Rolfe Middle School, math pass-rates rose 5 percentage points.
“Of course, there is still work to be done and we’ll never stop striving for improvements,” said Superintendent Patrick C. Kinlaw. “In the coming year, our community can expect to see schools focus on several key areas, including K-12 literacy, cultural competency and equity, family engagement, and closing behavioral gaps. This focus will support our students as they strive for greater academic success.”
A designation of accreditation denied means that the school has not met requirements for full or partial accreditation for four years, will craft an agreement for the school with state officials and will make regular progress reports to the Virginia Department of Education.
Six other schools with an undetermined September status – Donahoe, Fair Oaks, Mehfoud, Sandston and Varina elementary schools, as well as Brookland Middle School – are now listed as partially accredited.
As mentioned above, the number of fully accredited schools rose to 48 of the school division’s 67 K-12 schools. Dumbarton, Johnson and Ward elementary schools all regained full accreditation, as did Highland Springs High School. For the first time since the 2012-13 school year, all nine HCPS high schools were accredited.
The division has been implementing an aggressive plan to support student achievement. The schools where new initiatives have been implemented most successfully are helping guide improvements at other schools. The efforts include an intensive focus on literacy; on early elementary grades and middle schools; and on new staff development opportunities and providing teachers with support. Middle schools working toward full accreditation are receiving additional resources for students who need more support in math or other subject areas. The division is also exploring the possibility of expanded specialty center options to provide additional high-quality educational choices for middle school students and their families.
To find out more about the ways HCPS is enhancing student achievement, go to http://henricoschools.us/how-were-improving.
The Virginia Department of Education revamped its accreditation categories in 2014 in order to recognize schools that made significant gains. The categories include:
- Fully accredited.
- Partially accredited: Approaching benchmark (Schools that are not fully accredited but are within a narrow margin of the adjusted SOL pass rates required for full accreditation in one or more subject areas.)
- Partially accredited: Improving (schools making progress toward meeting SOL criteria, as defined by state guidelines).
- Partially accredited: Warned (Schools which may be seeing higher pass rates, but are not making enough progress toward state guidelines to be designated as improving).
- Partially accredited: Reconstituted (Schools that have not met requirements for full accreditation for four years).
- Accreditation denied.
Schools’ accreditation ratings are based primarily on SOL exam pass rates. In recent years, Virginia’s SOL exams have become more difficult.
For more information on accreditation, including answers to frequently asked questions, go to http://henricoschools.us/accreditation.
School leaders also encourage Henrico County citizens to get involved in schools to help students succeed. For information on how to become a mentor, school-community partner, volunteer or PTA member, go to henricoschools.us and click “Community.”
Below, please see the accompanying chart for a list of Henrico County schools and their state accreditation ratings:
HCPS schools fully accredited for 2016-17:
- Partially accredited: Improving: Adams Elementary School
- Partially accredited: Approaching benchmark: Holladay, Lakeside and Longdale elementary schools
- Partially accredited: Warned: Highland Springs and Laburnum elementary schools
- Partially accredited: Reconstituted: Donahoe, Fair Oaks, Mehfoud, Sandston, Varina elementary schools, and Brookland Middle School
Glen Lea, Montrose and Ratcliffe elementary schools, along with Elko, Fairfield, John Rolfe and L. Douglas Wilder middle schools were denied accreditation by the Virginia Department of Education.
For a school to earn full accreditation, students must achieve adjusted pass rates of at least 75 percent on English reading and writing SOL tests, and at least 70 percent on assessments in mathematics, science and history. High schools must also meet a benchmark for graduation and completion. Accreditation ratings may also reflect an average of achievement over several years.