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Board talks school improvement

Prince Edward County Public Schools Division Superintendent Dr. Barbara Johnson gave a presentation at the Nov. 8 school board meeting regarding the process of school improvement after two schools in the division received the status of “Partially Accredited: Reconstituted School.”

Dr. Barbara Johnson

Prince Edward Elementary School (PECES) and Prince Edward Middle School (PECMS) received this status Nov. 2 after having appealed for it when the two schools were labeled, “To Be Determined,” in September.

“I am thankful to say that the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) has labeled all of our schools at least partially accredited,” Johnson said. “We are striving for full accredited, but our high school here is ‘Partially Accredited: Warned-School Pass Rate,’ and our elementary and middle schools are both reconstituted.”

“A reconstituted school reverts to accreditation-denied status if it fails to meet full accreditation requirements within the agreed-upon term, or if it fails to have its annual application for ‘Partially Accredited-Reconstituted School’ renewed,” VDOE officials cited on the department’s website.

Both federal and VDOE ratings are primarily based on Standards of Learning (SOL) tests administered in the 2016-17 school year. According to VDOE officials, requirements to earn full accreditation include that students must achieve adjusted pass rates of at least 75 percent in English and at least 70 percent on assessments in mathematics, science and history.

Johnson said next steps included monitoring and developing lesson plans.

“Making sure that our lesson plans are aligned with the Standards of Learning, that is critical, and the curriculum framework. We will make sure that we ensure that process of delivery, lesson delivery,” Johnson said. “So what you wrote and what you said you were going to do is actually what you’re doing in the classroom and it is actually the right content and at the right academic level.”

She said the division is also going to monitor students to make sure that they are receiving interventions.

“So our students that are more than just a little behind, or a year or two behind, they receive tier two or tier three interventions,” Johnson said. “We monitor their data very closely to make sure that they’re at the right intervention.”

She said this year there will also be an academic review of PECMS and Prince Edward County High School (PECHS).

“So what will happen is a team will come in from (VDOE) and they will go through different documents, and they will make recommendations with us,” Johnson said.

She said the division also has a support person from the Office of School Improvement who offers feedback and information and walks with the students to classes.

“We have accurately identified what our problems are, and we are on course,” Johnson said. “We still have a lot of work to do.”