Schools saluted for progress

Published 3:38 am Saturday, January 31, 2009

The state Board of Education has recognized nine schools in Southampton and Isle of Wight counties for outstanding progress on their standardized test scores.

The Virginia Index of Performance, or VIP, incentive program was created in 2007 to advance Gov. Tim Kaine’s “competence to excellence” agenda to encourage advanced learning and achievement in the commonwealth’s public schools.

Five area elementary schools — Carrsville, Windsor and Carrollton in Isle of Wight County and Capron and Meherrin in Southampton County — earned the Board of Education Excellence Award, the second-tier honor in the VIP program.

According to the state, the schools “have met all state and federal accountability benchmarks for at least two consecutive years, and have made significant progress toward goals for increased student achievement and expanded educational opportunities set by Governor Kaine and the board.”

Susan Goetz, principal of Windsor Elementary, said the award “means a great deal.”

“The faculty has worked very hard, and this shows that their hard work is paying off,” Goetz said. “We still have work to do, but it’s great to receive recognition for the hard work that we’ve already completed. It’s quite an honor.”

Statewide, 24 school divisions and 544 individual schools earned the 2009 Board of Education Excellence Award.

The state also awarded 10 school divisions and 276 schools the 2009 Board of Education Competence to Excellence Award, which recognizes those schools and divisions that have “met all state and federal benchmarks for at least two consecutive years, and are making progress toward the goals of the governor and the board.”

Four area schools — Smithfield and Windsor High in Isle of Wight County and Nottoway Elementary and Southampton High in Southampton County — received the Competence to Excellence Award.

“I’m extremely pleased our schools are achieving these levels of academic excellence,” said Dr. Michael McPherson, superintendent of Isle of Wight County Schools. “And their efforts are representative of the dedication of our employees in providing our students with an exemplary learning environment, and it demonstrates what can be accomplished with a team effort in educating our students.”

McPherson added, “I’d like to encourage all of our schools and students in Isle of Wight County to continue their efforts to reach these very challenging levels of performance. We’ve got six out of nine. I’d certainly hope that those six can continue, and that all of our schools can reach those levels of achievement.”

In Southampton County, Roberta Naranjo, vice chairman of the school board, credited “excellent principals” for the state recognition.

“They have involved the parents very much,” she said. “We’re trying very hard to focus on educational quality, and working hard. We’re very, very proud, and we want the children to know how important this is.”

No Franklin schools were honored by the state.