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Virginia Board of Education approves recommendations regarding accreditation ratings; Hampton continues to work on improving student achievement
On Jan. 28, 2016, the Virginia Board of Education voted on recommendations regarding the accreditation ratings of schools that were initially classified as “To Be Determined.” The Board considered requests for “Partially Accredited: Reconstituted School” from 22 school divisions for 39 schools.
Public schools in Virginia receive an accreditation rating each year based on results of tests given during the previous school year. Schools must meet certain pass rates on the Standards of Learning tests to be fully accredited. A school is rated “Accreditation Denied” if it fails to meet requirements for full or provisional accreditation for four consecutive years.
When a school is denied state accreditation, the local school board must submit a corrective action plan to the Board of Education and enter into a binding memorandum of understanding with the state board detailing steps to be taken to raise student achievement to state standards. Schools denied accreditation, however, do not lose state funding, nor are they subject to state takeover.
According to VDOE, accreditation ratings reflect overall achievement within a school, not the performance or learning of individual students. In assessing the quality of the education provided by a school, parents should also consider individual achievement on SOL tests, classroom grades and other measures of learning and performance.
Hampton City Schools applied for a “Partially Accredited: Reconstituted School” rating for Andrews Pre-K-8 School, Bassette Elementary School, Bryan Elementary School, Cary Elementary School, and Machen Elementary School. The Board approved a recommendation to grant the status “Partially Accredited: Reconstituted School” for both Cary and Machen elementary schools. The Board will consider Bryan’s application next month, and the VDOE recommendation is to grant Bryan the rating of “Partially Accredited: Reconstituted School.”
Under the regulations, a “Partially Accredited: Reconstituted School” rating may be granted for up to three years if a school is making progress toward full accreditation. A reconstituted school reverts to Accreditation Denied status if it fails to earn full accreditation within three years, or if its annual application for partial accreditation is not renewed.
Superintendent of Public Instruction, Dr. Stephen Staples, recommended that the state board deny this accreditation rating for both Andrews Pre-K-8 School and Bassette Elementary School. Therefore, the rating for both schools will be “Accreditation Denied.”
“Although this is not good news, I am confident the plans put in place to address the needs at Andrews and Bassette will significantly improve student achievement,” said HCS Superintendent Dr. Jeffery Smith. “The staff members at Andrews and Bassette are closely monitoring student performance and working strategically to improve teaching and learning.”
This past summer, Hampton City Schools began to develop plans to improve student achievement at Andrews and Bassette. Last July, Dr. Smith met with the Division Leadership Team to begin to map out a plan of support for struggling schools. One component of the plan was to examine current staffing and to look for ways to ensure that struggling schools were staffed with strong instructional leaders.
HCS hired assistant principals at Andrews with experience of success in English, math, science and social studies, as well as experience in Title I schools and with the Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports(PBIS) model. In addition, HCS hired a full-time behavioral specialist to help ensure the administrative team at Andrews could spend more time focused on instructional leadership. Andrews will also provide teachers with expanded professional development.
Bassette Elementary School has hired one additional part-time Early Reading Intervention Assistant, one additional part-time Title I math interventionist, one additional Title I reading interventionist and a new assistant principal with a strong background in mathematics. Bassette has created a new literacy team, and teachers will receive expanded professional development in the areas of reading and differentiated instructional strategies. Extended learning time for students has been offered during and after school. Bassette has also employed an educational expert, called a Lead Turnaround Partner (LTP), which works in collaboration with the school’s administrative team.
Below are a few suggestions for parents to help their children and our schools succeed:
- Know how your child is doing in school. Check the Parent Portal for grades, behavior and attendance and attend parent-teacher conferences.
- Volunteer at school and join the PTA. Provide a helping hand and become a voice for our schools and families.
- Ask questions. If something concerns you or your child, speak with the teacher, counselor, assistant principal or principal and seek advice.
- Encourage your child to read. Helping children become strong readers is one of the most important things you can do to help your child academically.
- Tell the school what you need to help your child. Our schools and community have many resources to help families.
Parents with questions about Virginia’s system of accountability for public schools should contact the school principal and see the following links:
HCS does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability, age or other protected classes in its programs and activities and provides equal access to the Boy Scouts and other designated youth groups. The following person has been designated to handle inquiries regarding the non-discrimination policies: Robbin G. Ruth, Executive Director, Human Resources, One Franklin Street, Hampton, VA 23669 757-727-2000.
Hampton City Schools (HCS) is committed to making its website accessible for all, including individuals with disabilities, and strives to ensure accessibility currently and as new technologies emerge. The division welcomes questions and feedback on the site’s accessibility at each development phase. By clicking on “Contact” at the upper right of the main webpage, all users are able to “Help Resolve a Concern,” “Share a Story,” “Provide Feedback,” and “Ask a Question.” Additionally, the Contact Us page provides direct email access to HCS Webmaster Vickie Carper, firstname.lastname@example.org.
HCS’s computer systems and networks include all of the computer hardware, operating system software, application software, stored text, data files, electronic mail (email), local databases, externally accessed databases, CD-ROM, optical media, clip art, digital images, digitized information, communications technologies, and new available technologies.
3. HCS WEBMASTER AND ACCESSIBILITY
The HCS website is designed and monitored by HCS Webmaster Vickie Carper, who serves as the gatekeeper for website content and accessibility. The Webmaster is under the direction of the Executive Director of Public Relations and Marketing, supervised by the Director of Graphics.
Web visitors using assistive technology who may have trouble accessing information on the website may contact the HCS Webmaster, email@example.com., the Executive Director of Public Relations and Marketing, firstname.lastname@example.org, and/or the Director of Graphics, email@example.com.
When submitting a question or concern via email, “accessibility” should be included in the subject line. Every reasonable attempt will be made to address the user’s concern within twenty-four hours. To assist HCS in responding appropriately, all inquiries should include the following information:
· A description of the accessibility concern or question;
· The webpage address of the requested material;
· The format in which the user prefers to receive the material;
· The user’s contact information, including preferred method of contact.
Some documents on the website are in a portable document format (PDF). The Adobe website provides a free service to convert Acrobat PDF files to other formats, including text and HTML. Adobe’s web-based tool will quickly change an Acrobat file into an HTML file or textile. The online PDF conversion form is available on the online conversion tool for using Adobe Acrobat. With this tool, users can read PDF files with a screen reader. Adobe and the Trace Research Center also offer a free Acrobat conversion service that converts PDF files to text or HTML format by sending a user’s request via email. All individuals with internet service can access the online conversion tool for using Adobe Acrobat PDF website.
HCS monitors all technology resource activity and requires all employees, students and individuals with access to HCS computer systems and networks to annually read and sign an Acceptable Use Policy. See School Board Policy IIBEA for Students; School Board Policy GBBB for Employees.
Prior to posting new website content, the HCS Webmaster determines if the proposed content meets the criteria of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). Periodically the HCS Webmaster checks the website with a recognized website checker such as 508 Checker and WAVE. If the audit identifies issues of concern or content errors that impede accessibility to any user, the concerns/errors are evaluated and remedied within a six-week period.
HCS’s website and computer systems and networks are provided on an “as, as available” basis. HCS makes no warranties, expressed or implied, without limitation, regarding the fitness for a particular purpose regarding any service provided by the system and any information contained or software used therein. The division uses hardware and software provided by third-party technology vendors. Therefore, the division does not warrant that the functions or services performed by, or that the information or software on the system, will meet the user’s requirements.