Preliminary test results show Ressie Jeffries reaching full accreditation status

FRONT ROYAL — Based on preliminary results, Ressie Jeffries Elementary School is slated to be fully accredited next year, Warren County Public Schools Superintendent Greg Drescher said during a School Board meeting on Wednesday.

Ressie Jeffries Elementary School Principal Doris Dean praised the results, crediting a wide array of efforts the school has taken since it first lost its full accreditation status in 2014.

“The teachers and students have worked very hard and it all came together — a lot of hard work and a lot of people just believing,” Dean said.

Although the results are still preliminary, Drescher and Dean both said that Ressie Jeffries will reach a full accreditation status next year.

That’s because of the way official results differ from preliminary results, they explained.

After the Virginia Department of Education calculates its preliminary results, it adjusts those figures based on retake scores and based on the scores of students who transfer late into the school year.

The results from those tabulations typically improve the schools’ official test results.

“Figuring percentages this way is the lowest possible pass rate,” Drescher stated in an email.

That means that the preliminary standards of learning test results from Ressie Jeffries — 77 in reading, 73 in math, 77 in science and 82 in social studies — are likely to be higher when official results come in later this year. Even if the scores stay the same, Ressie Jeffries will meet the testing standards required for full accreditation.

In recent years, Ressie Jeffries particularly struggled to meet state standards for reading, failing to meet the standards in each of the last four years. In response, the district has instituted changes aimed at improving reading for all of the students in the school.

But the school has also focused on improving student behavior and attendance, something Dean said has also made a difference.

The school has participated in a “Challenge Five” program aimed at getting students to miss fewer than five days of school in a year.

“If students are in school, then they have a better chance of learning,” Dean said.

The school has also focused on teaching students behavioral skills and responding to potential behavioral issues before they become a problem.

“If you don’t have as many behavior problems in the classroom, then more teaching can take place and so can more learning,” Dean said.

Drescher stated in an email that “several other schools have good preliminary scores as well.” Some schools, he stated, “are very close to meeting the benchmark” scores in the preliminary results.

They could meet the state testing standards in the official results.

“I chose to comment on [Ressie Jeffries] because it is going from being Denied Accreditation to Fully Accredited,” Drescher stated.