NORFOLK, Va. (WVEC) -- The report card is in for Virginia's schools.
The Virginia Department of Education on Tuesday released statewide, division-level, and school-level pass rates on the Standards of Learning (SOLs) assessments taken by students during the 2015-2016 school year.
Overall statewide, students achieving at the proficient or advanced level in reading, mathematics, and science increased by one point, the VDOE reports. Of the Commonwealth’s 1,822 public schools, 915 improved in mathematics, 904 in reading and 939 in science.
Achievement gaps remain between black and Hispanic students compared with white students, and Board of Education President Billy K. Cannaday Jr. said that narrowing and ultimately closing those gaps would remain the state board's top priority.
The VDOE is scheduled to release state accredation ratings on September 14.
Below are the division reports of Hampton Roads area school districts, and any additional comments the schools may have.
CITY OF CHESAPEAKE
A spokesperson for Chesapeake Public Schools tells 13News Now, "Chesapeake Public Schools stayed steady with our test scores with slight improvements. We still have work to do, but are proud of the efforts of our administrators, teachers, and students."
CITY OF HAMPTON
ISLE OF WIGHT COUNTY
CITY OF NEWPORT NEWS
CITY OF NORFOLK
Norfolk Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Melinda Boone issued the following statement:
"We are pleased with our students’ achievement and progress this past school year. We have seen increases in English and Science, and will continue to plan and work towards an upward trajectory in all areas.
"We know there is a correlation between the alignment of our curriculum, instructional delivery, assessment, and student achievement. Targeted professional development and focusing on quality lesson plans also contributed to student achievement.
"In addition to the ongoing work of aligning our curriculum, instructional delivery, and assessment, some key areas in which we plan to focus efforts include revising our K-12 literacy model, providing ongoing, targeted professional development, and building instructional leadership capacity."
CITY OF POQUOSON
CITY OF PORTSMOUTH
A spokesperson with Portsmouth Public Schools says, "Individual schools showed growth in various subject areas. Overall, division-wide scores showed marginal declines. Students met the benchmarks in science, history and mathematics. English continues to be an area of improvement."
CITY OF SUFFOLK
Suffolk Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Deran R. Whitney issued the following statement:
"We are pleased to see increased pass-rates for a large majority of areas tested. We are very pleased to see King's Fork High School appears as though they will meet full accreditation. While progress is clearly being made, we need to continue to aggressively strive for continuous improvement in all areas, at all schools, and for all students.
"We attribute our success in improving in four of the five subjects to true collaboration among School Administrative Office staff, building administrators, and teachers, and to focusing on the alignment of the written, taught and tested curriculum. Our teachers are very committed to providing students what they need. This commitment is seen through remediation, acceleration, tutoring and family involvement.
"Suffolk Public Schools has better prepared students through a focus on the written, taught and tested curriculum, through year-round early intervention and focused teaching on areas of weaknesses, and through teaching students how to think.
"For the 2016-17 school year, we will commit to continued professional development and additional strategies to address specific needs, to promote higher level thinking, to focus on student engagement, and to provide students support for their unique needs. Each school is developing a 2016-17 School Performance plan to address school-specific improvement strategies based on these SOL results and other data points."
CITY OF VIRGINIA BEACH
Virginia Beach Public Schools issued the following press release:
Virginia Beach City Public Schools (VBCPS) is projecting 94 percent - or 77 of its 82 testing schools - will earn full Standards of Learning (SOL) accreditation for the 2016-2017 school year. This is a five percent increase from last year. VBCPS is making this projection based on SOL passing rates which will be released next week by the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE).
“In analyzing our SOL data, we are proud to report that gains are happening across all geographic areas of our school division,” said Superintendent Aaron Spence. “That means that we are making sure that every student - no matter his/her economic status, race or school - is provided with the tools and resources necessary to thrive and grow academically.”
Included in these successes are:
- All 11 comprehensive high schools are projected to be fully accredited.
- College Park Elementary School, which is projected to earn full accreditation for the first time in four years, made gains in all areas including English, science, mathematics and social studies ranging from 17-41 percentage points.
- Williams Elementary School, which is projected to earn full accreditation for the first time in five years, saw double-digit increases in science.
- Windsor Oaks Elementary School, which has not met full accreditation in three years, is projected to earn full accreditation with increases in all four subject areas, including double-digit increases in science and history.
- Green Run High School, which did not earn full accreditation in 2015-2016 and has 54 percent of its school population qualify as economically disadvantaged, is projected to be fully accredited for the 2016-2017 school year.
Even the five schools that are not projected to earn full accreditation - Bayside Middle School, Bayside Sixth Grade Campus, Birdneck Elementary, Larkspur Middle and Seatack Elementary - are projected to miss the necessary benchmarks by narrow margins. In fact, staff estimates that of the nearly 158,000 tests administered across the school division, VBCPS was 47 passing tests short from meeting accreditation benchmarks at all schools in all subject areas.
“While we are pleased with our SOL data and the significant gains we are seeing at many of our schools, we must remember that standardized tests are only one indicator of a school’s success,” Spence said. “The engagement of students in meaningful work, the involvement of community partners in our classrooms and the dedication of our high-quality teaching staff are the true hallmarks of our schools and will be key in our work to become the premiere school division in the nation.”
The VDOE is scheduled to release its state accreditation ratings Sept. 14.
CITY OF WILLIAMSBURG / JAMES CITY COUNTY