SOL results suggest some schools will lose accreditation

Several schools in Shenandoah and Warren counties will miss out on full accreditation for the 2017-18 school year, based on Standards of Learning test results the Virginia Department of Education released Tuesday.

According to Warren County Public Schools Superintendent Gregory Drescher, Ressie Jeffries Elementary School is going to move from being partially accredited to having its accreditation denied, while Skyline High School will move from having full accreditation to being partially accredited. In Shenandoah County, North Fork Middle School and W.W. Robinson Elementary School both failed to meet accreditation standards, according to a news release from Shenandoah County Public Schools.

In an email, Drescher noted that both schools were near the benchmark results required by the Department of Education. Ressie Jeffries was 3 points below the benchmark set by the state, while Skyline was 2 points below the benchmark, he said.

“In both cases there are many students at these schools achieving to the highest levels and overall a majority of students are doing very well,” Drescher stated in the email. “However, we certainly are not satisfied until all of our students get to the high standard set by the SOL tests.”

Meanwhile, a news release from Shenandoah County Public Schools stated that the division would likely not apply for “reconstitution” for North Fork Middle School or W.W. Robinson Elementary School. A “reconstituted” school is a school that has failed to receive accreditation for at least four consecutive school years but has received a special status from the Department of Education.

Instead, the two schools will both have their accreditation denied.

The Shenandoah County School Board had voted to apply for reconstitution, but in Tuesday’s news release it was noted that officials have since learned that the schools’ applications for reconstitution would likely be denied.

“North Fork’s reading scores increased 3 points rather than the 4 needed to qualify for reconstitution,” the news release stated.

W.W. Robinson Elementary School also failed to meet standards for reconstitution.

Drescher noted in his email that accreditation ratings only impact the school divisions, and do not have an impact on individual students. According to the Virginia Department of Education’s School Accountability Guide for the 2016-17 school year, schools that have their accreditation denied have to send a written notice of their rating to parents “and other interested parties” within 30 days of the announcement.

“[An accreditation standard is] a designation given to a school so they can recognize what areas need more attention and improvement,” Drescher said. “Both [Ressie Jeffries Elementary School and Skyline High School] have been in the Fully Accredited category previously and they will be in that category again.”

A news release from the Virginia Department of Education stated that accreditation ratings will be officially announced in September.

Last year, no public schools in Warren County or Shenandoah County had their accreditation denied, according to data from the Virginia Department of Education.

A  Virginia Department of Education’s School Accountability Guide for the 2016-17 school year states that schools can only be denied accreditation if they fail to meet certain requirements for four consecutive years. However, five schools in the two districts had ratings of “Partially Accredited: Approaching Benchmark Pass Rate” or “Partially Accredited: Warned School Pass Rate.”

It was unclear from the Shenandoah County schools news release how many of the district’s schools would be fully accredited and how many would be partially accredited next year.