School division working toward accreditation

Dr. Mark Johnston

In the aftermath of two of its nine schools being denied accreditation for the 2017-2018 school year Shenandoah County Public Schools has created a game plan and is working on qualifying for accreditation. School divisions that did not have all of their schools accredited were required to enter into a Memorandum of Understanding and develop and file with the state a corrective action plan for each school that was denied accreditation.

“I do expect full accreditation at the end of this year,” Superintendent Mark Johnston said.

The division will continue to work on continuous improvement, even after accreditation is earned, he said.

Johnston developed the plan alongside teachers, building administrators and central office administrators, as well as others. They filed it with the state March 5.

David Hinegardner, director of secondary education for Shenandoah County Public Schools, is supervising and monitoring the progress of the action plans and ensuring accreditation.

Essential actions for both schools listed in the corrective action plan are:

  • Develop, implement and monitor a process for ensuring lesson planning is aligned with the Standards of Learning, a public school standardized testing program that details learning and achievement expectations for core subjects for kindergarten through 12th grade.

The division has to send to the Virginia Department of Education lesson plans, meeting agendas, professional development agendas and student data to prove the lesson planning is meeting the Standards of Learning.

  • Develop, implement and monitor a process for ensuring lesson delivery is aligned with the Standards of Learning.

The division has to file informal and formal observations, peer observation feedback data, professional development agendas and student data to show lesson delivery is meeting standards.

  • Implement and monitor data driven student interventions.

The division has to submit proof of this by filing with the Virginia Department of Education student data, professional development agendas, intervention inventory and data meetings.

The division has created and implemented four specific programs to meet those goals in the corrective action plan.

“The data I see shows that these steps, among many others, are making a difference. I have been particularly pleased with the data showing students’ growth,” Johnston said.

Johnston detailed some of the specifics of what the division is doing to obtain accreditation.

  • Compare the performance and growth of local students to national data on student performance and growth. That information would guide teacher instruction in areas of lower performance. Teachers then create activities to help students improve in specific areas.
  • Join a consortium, called the Comprehensive Instructional Program, that would allow teachers and students more time to teach and learn more complex subject matters. The program would also allow Shenandoah County Public Schools access to data so the division can see how students compare to other divisions on the Standards Of Learning in Virginia.
  • Hold meetings, based on grade levels, between administrators, principals, central office staff and teachers to try to obtain a deeper look at instruction, identify areas of needed resources that would support teaching.
  • Administrators would spend more time walking through schools to monitor performance, provide feedback to teachers and allow teachers to share areas where they need support, such as materials and curriculum.